IRIS takes tax software into the cloud
IRIS has become the first mainstream software house to introduce a suite of web-based tax applications for UK accountants.
Available now, IRIS OpenCloud Tax can tackle personal tax (SA100) and partnership (SA800) returns along with corporation tax (CT600) and includes tools to calculate dividend payments, capital allowances, capital gains and other regular requirements of tax work. Pricing starts from £140 for a licence for 25 personal tax returns, plus £140 for up to 10 corporation tax returns and another £135 for up to 10 partnership tax returns. The fee for handling 200 personal tax clients goes up to £785.
OpenCloud Tax features
• Anytime, anywhere access via any web-capable device
• Client data held in a single database, which is automatically updated as data is entered on client returns
• Client and practice dashboards show summary information, with drill down capability
• Real-time online filing validations – users are alerted if they enter data that will cause the return to fail e-filing validation.
• Live calculation – client’s tax position is shown immediately as data is entered
• Grouped data entry
• In-built calculator appears whenever an arithmetic character (such as plus or divide) is typed in
• Pricing starts from £135-£140.
Like the on-premise IRIS Accountancy Suite, OpenCloud tax is built around a central client database, and includes a few additional features to track and manage client relationships.
Introducing the new software, IRIS CEO Phill Robinson commented, “This is a massive leap forward for the accountancy sector as a whole. IRIS OpenCloud Tax provides all of the features that a smaller practice would need in order to manage clients’ tax returns quickly and efficiently.”
The product is positioned alongside IRIS’s PTP and Drummohr families and is intended to cater for smaller practices by offering them a choice of either online or desktop tax products.
While IRIS has worked for more than three years to bring the OpenCloud Tax product to market, Robinson confirmed that it would not replace the PTP and Drummohr ranges.
“Our position is to offer choice. If people choose cloud, we’re agnostic. And while there’s a viable base of customers, we’ll continue supporting them,” he said.
It has taken many, many years for specialist accounting software houses to shift their products to the cloud.
Now that IRIS has taken the first step, Robinson said, “We’ve got a significant time advantage over the others. We’ve got a good lead time and a great opportunity for IRIS to build up its share at the lower end of the market, where cloud applications might be a better proposition for smaller practices.
Potential damage to their existing product lines may have been one factor holding tax software houses from the cloud, but Robinson set out some of the other challenges IRIS had to overcome when developing its web suite.
“You have a platform under your control, so when you have periods of peak demand you can support for clients. At the end of January every year, there’s a huge increase in workload. We need to know that we can control the infrastructure so that we can guarantee service at those times - tax computations can be intensive and are nore complex than just building a forms application on a standard off-the-shelf application platform,” he said.
Much of the development work on OpenCloud Tax was devoted into constructing this robust, web-based engine, which will be able to underpin other compliance applications, he continued. But IRIS is relying on a “federation” of technologies to cater for customers in the cloud, including the OpenApps family and IRIS OpenBooks, an implementation of the FreeAgent Central bookkeeping application that is technogically independent, but integrates with IRIS’s Accountancy Suite.
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