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IRIS takes tax software into the cloud

16th Apr 2013
Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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AIA

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.

Source: IRIS

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.

Replies (10)

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Small Dog's RAT Return
By Oldmanwetmix
17th Apr 2013 09:28

Nice Idea

But, out here in the sticks the internet drops out several times a day. That's what puts me off.

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By brisar
17th Apr 2013 10:10

Support

Well lets hope the support is better than at present. We have been waiting a week for a reply to a query having sat on the phone for an hour listening to piped music - with no human help and sending 5 emails - one to the MD who didnt even have the courtesy to reply. Pathetic.

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By carnmores
18th Apr 2013 16:42

still waiting for the Aweb team

to review gbooks , come on team get with it

 

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By exceljockey
19th Apr 2013 11:39

Support

for me thats the killer - and one reason I like Xero. There is no point in having the latest software if they aren't going to help you.

I like the idea of iris - all integrated etc but they need to get on with it and offer it all on the cloud and offer the support to go with it.

the first fully online system - accounts, tax, payroll and practice management that is well and trully integrated and sync'd will have my pounds.

Obviously you need to work and have clients that have access to proper internet otherwise the whole business model collapses.

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By carnmores
19th Apr 2013 11:48

do excel jockeys have circular references

and if so are they clockwise or anticlockwise

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Apr 2013 11:59

You'll have to wait a bit exceljockey

The development needed by Iris & the other deskbound providers to move this stuff into the Cloud is huge, and my hat off to Iris to have done this, in the way that they have, and to beat the others.  Let's face it there is no need today to have it online, it's that they stay ahead of the game by making sure it's there when we need it.

Xero started in the Cloud and so have a head start but their accounts production side won't be ready till later this year and you'll have to wait another 2 years till they get UK tax stuff up & running.

Unless you're talking about things like OpenSpace the clients will have no part in this, ie it will, as far as I can see, still be a closed system for accountants to use.

As far as support is concerned, I don't have problems, they are always attentive, polite and handle things well?

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By Michaelr205
19th Apr 2013 16:14

IRIS Support

I'm concerned that IRIS are having major problems. I have tried for 3 solid days to get support last week and finally got some whilst this week the problem is the same. Whilst I am hanging on the 'phone I can't contact other people and they can't contact me and I can't process payroll!

I'm trying to contact them because the payroll is producing error reports where there don't appear to be any!

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Apr 2013 16:33

What support do you mean?

Always worth checking the Iris Portal.  Clearly at the moment, with, presumably, RTI issues, IRIS Payroll support has an average wait time of 33 mins, whereas for say Persnal tax it's 2 minutes.

I'm not saying they always get this right and they have put their hands up in the past when support has been a mess but, as I found out myself today, some times the fault is with the lazy or careless user. 

This was certainly the case with iXBRL where the support line was used in preference to reading the notes & guides and so some users were taking up 10 times more time of a support guy than someone calling with a routine query and I am sure that this will be the case with RTI.

For example, I'd entered my PAYE ref as xx/ rather than xxx/ and it took 3 emails and two calls to dscover it.  Mind you I use OpenBooks RTI payroll and that support line has an average 56 seconds responce time!

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Replying to Vaughan Blake1:
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By Michaelr205
22nd Apr 2013 13:08

Rest assured its not laziness or carelessness which has led me to hold on the support line, all this time, in fact another hour approx so far with this call. And yes, I have looked at their website for help with problems.

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
22nd Apr 2013 17:34

@Michael

It's like when you are driving, you can be the most careful driver in the world but others aren't. 

You only need one user, who can't be bothered to read the guidance or the KB, and so takes up one operative for 20 minutes hacking off the other 9 users who could have been helped.

Unfortunately IRIS treats everyone as deserving and their support people are not allowed just to put the phone down on.

These days I have to say I email any queries to them, asking for an email response, saves the random nature of phone traffic.

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