IRIS World 2016 round-up
Headlines from IRIS’s flagship IRIS World event in Twickenham included an increase in customer services investment, the acquisition of forecasting tool Gearshift, a partnership with fintech lender iwoca, and the disclosure that the software company has been and will continue to play a part in HMRC’s Making Tax Digital project.
Harnessing digital change
After nine months in the post IRIS CEO Kevin Dady took to the stage for his first appearance at the conference as the software company’s chief, and one of the first things he did was to admit that the company ‘could do better’ in terms of its customer service offerings. While the company remained the go-to package for compliance, Dady said, there were still areas for improvement, and he used his platform to announce an £8m investment in customer service.
Dady went on to state that he believes the digital change driven by technology and legislation represents a real opportunity for IRIS accountants to provide value to their clients through a range business advisory tools, including the newly acquired Gearshift (see below for more details).
In an interview later Dady and senior product director Steve Cox told AccountingWEB that IRIS is one of 18 software companies working with HMRC on the government’s digital record keeping project, and speaking at the event Theresa Middleton, product director of Making Tax Digital for business announced that private beta testing of the software will begin in the next few months.
A full write-up of the interview with Kevin Dady and Steve Cox, along with a chat with Theresa Middleton, will be available on the site shortly.
Gearshift for IRIS
IRIS has agreed to acquire forecasting and reporting software tool Gearshift through the purchase of its parent company Level10.
Designed to accurately predict long and short term funding needs and extract more value from company data, Gearshift will integrate into fellow IRIS acquiree Kashflow to provide IRIS accountants with reporting and forecasting capabilities, enabling them to deliver high-value advisory services to their clients.
The acquisition is the latest move from the software house to expand on their compliance-based offering and provide their clients with the ‘trusted adviser’ tools many experts believe will be the future of the profession.
Commenting on the purchase Kevin Dady, CEO of IRIS, said: “As we move closer to Making Tax Digital, it is crucial accountants demonstrate additional value to their customers. While this is significant, we see this as an opportunity for practices of all sizes to utilise innovative technology tools to deliver financial and business consultancy; ultimately bring accountants closer to their clients while guiding them through the transition.”
Kevin Cowan, managing director of Level10, added, “It is becoming increasingly important for accountants to be able to produce financial information quickly, easily and in a format clients can understand. It’s exciting for Gearshift to be part of the next chapter in financial management.”
Gearshift will be re-branded into different editions for accountants and businesses; introducing a bundled edition of KashFlow that will include the new functionality.
Another KashFlow-based announcement from IRIS World came in the form of a partnership with fintech business lender iwoca.
Launched four years ago, the London fintech outfit offers credit facilities to small businesses trading in the UK, Poland, Spain, and Germany via an automated lending platform.
The partnership will offer KashFlow customers access to finance from within their account via the KashFlow apps page to cover unexpected cash flow issues such as overdue invoices or large bills.
Steven Cox, senior product director at IRIS commented: “Cash flow can cause problems for businesses of all shapes and sizes, although it can be particularly troublesome for the UK’s 5.3 million SMEs. The primary focus is often servicing clients and business growth, so unforeseen cash flow issues can have a disastrous impact. Our partnership with iwoca will empower small businesses to focus on growth by offering more choice of funding options.
“The partnership will also empower accountants who can now combine the real-time information in KashFlow with the insights provided by Gearshift to predict funding needs for their clients, not only where cash is tight, but also for growth. Using this information, accountants can then provide their clients with options and decisions, dealing with either cash collection issues or larger funding requirements.”