<b>Any Answers:</b> IRIS responds to PAYE-Master gripes. By John Stokdyk

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With the 19 May PAYE year end filing deadline less than a month away, now is not a good time to be having problems with your payroll software.

As he struggled for more than an hour this week trying to update and complete a year end of a client in his upgraded version of IRIS PAYE-Master version 5.5, Nicholas Myles of Carnmores blew a fuse and vented his frustration in Any Answers: "Am I the only one who is getting hacked off by the IRIS payroll system? Like many others who have posted on this site, I have wasted hours and hours of time without the required support."

The posting was the first shot in Myles's campaign to hold IRIS to account for delivering payroll software that was not backwards compatible and in his view was not up to its previous standard, nor being properly supported. Nick...

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12th Oct 2006 09:40

The directors of IRIS must be living in cloud cuckoo land or have their heads up the proverbial if they seriouly imagine that any accountants who useed PAYEMaster and was treated so abysmally by IRIS earlier this year would have the slightest hint of enthusiasm for using PTP now.

No - IRIS have clearly set out their attitude to customers of businesses they have acquired and I cannot see PTP customers being treated any differently.

Peter Lashmar

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23rd Apr 2006 23:08

We have welcomed a good number if Iris users to Keytime payroll (and other products in the Keytime Accountants Suite).

We provide HMRC approved payroll software (now in its 3rd year of approval), responsive support/service and a straightforward pricing model.

Take a look at our Partner page on AccWeb or go to http://www.keytime.co.uk

See what some of our customers have to say about Keytime Payroll/Accountants Suite here and here.

Good luck.

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21st Apr 2006 12:11

IRIS Payroll Support
I have been using the PAYE-Master payroll software as a bureau service for many years. I always found their support excellent. Then IRIS took over and ever since on the few occasions I have needed support it is virtually impossible to get to speak to anyone without a considerable delay. Today, after suffering the initial automated telephone system, I was invited to ring later.It is not good enough to claim it is a busy period as IRIS should be geared up for the peaks and troughs. After all they purport to be in the payroll business and very happily take the annual support/licence fee without providing the service. My contract renews in May or rather it won't. I am switching to another supplier probably Sage.

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By Anonymous
21st Apr 2006 12:16

"The companies are now talking about redress, he added." Please could I have contact details for Mr Turner as I would also like to talk about redress with him.

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21st Apr 2006 12:20

some of the comments attributed to me arent quite correct.eg the year end data file instruction is in the maunal but not clear elsewhere, also i did say that i thought 'scribles' was a ringer but i am pretty sure that if he or she is then they are doing it off their own bat rather than under instruction. i am also happy to accept that there are a few useful improvements in PM. i am still not happy tho and await the all important call from the MD.

thinking about JC's comments - they are on the money



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By Anonymous
21st Apr 2006 12:31

IRIS PAYE software
We have also experienced serious problems, not only with the year end software but also during monthly processing. We will discontinue use of this product and turn to an alternative product for 2006/07. We cannot afford to absorb the costs related to unreliable software or the chargeable time lost waiting for support lines to answer. This has been a disappointing product from Iris Software who have, until now, provided software and support of 1st class quality. A refund of the annual licence fee for this product would go some way to easing the pain of this, but would, by no means, meet the wasted costs we have incurred.

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21st Apr 2006 11:53

Iris Payroll
Mr Myles is absolutely bang on the money. We have had 2006 P60s printing with a 2007 year end date, corrupted files and an inability to access any of our current payroll client list following a batch conversion. We have given up on the help line as we couldn't get through. We were either told to phone back later, or having tediously gone through all the press 1, press 2, skip in a circle and bow in the direction of brussells options found that the line was cut off. In desperation we downloaded the 5.5 software onto a clean machine (happily the sales product registration was functioning normally) and tried again. All to no avail and we still remain stuffed. I've just downloaded 5.5.2 and we'll try again - but what a waste of time and money. Who needs this?
If I want something for nothing I can always get through to the Samaritans but when paying good money for a product and associated service I do expect to get through and with this amount of aggravation, no wonder the sense of outrage.

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By Anonymous
21st Apr 2006 11:59

Revealing .....
Whoooh ... 16 bit
Are they really saying that the app was being migrated from 16 bit VB rather than a 32 bit app? 32 bit has been around now for many years 6-7 (even Sage Payroll has woken up to this) so why has it not been migrated until now. 16 bit has many documented disadvantages not least being that it tends to grab all the processing and does not easily relinquish control to other apps (do events etc)

The upshot of this statement is that they are being FORCED to update by the OS; this is not a process to benefit the customer otherwise the move to 32 bit would have been done before now. Now doesn't that send out a great message !

The transition from 16 to 32 is great but when coupled with a move to .NET (which one - v1.1 or v2) it becomes almost inevitable that a longer 'bedding in' process will be needed. We are not told which version of .NET or VS (2003 or 05) is being used but even 2005 is substantially different to 2003. If one had actually designed a recipe for problems there could not have been a better scenario for getting it wrong

Myles is perfectly correct - technology problems are the domain of the software house and should not be foisted upon users; any upgrade should be seamless.

This payroll debacle must surely bring about questions in other IRIS products. Has it arisen purely because of the Freeway purchase or are the problems inherent throughout the rest of their range?

Nevertheless, it does however raise the question of purchasing 'market share' rather than a quality product. This is the same approach taken by a number of other software houses to gain markets (i.e. Sage, MS etc) and it seems to result in disparate products from the same supplier that potentially do not integrate with each other.

This whole arena is where SaaS systems score; they have generally been constructed to integrate from the ground up rather than being a 'patchwork' of random suppliers legacy products

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By kamoore
24th Apr 2006 11:59

Iris Payroll and book-keeping
Similar experiences with iris payroll; corrupt data; system hangs; software very very slow etc. etc. My favourite though was when I downloaded and installed the latest version (5.5.2 I think) the installation crashed... needless to say decision to change has been made and purchased and we are now re-doing 2005/06 payrolls to ensure that they are filed. Crazy but seems the best way forward after a frustrating week.

In respect to the book-keeping; years ago I recommended a good client the freeway payroll package which was simple, good, fast and cheap. They follow through the change to iris and then, unfortunately without discussing the matter, take on the book-keeping package. It was a disaster... and unfortunately mud sticks; because I recommended freeway payroll they also believe I recommended the iris book-keeping. I seem to have become their unpaid iris software support contact.

Recently, because I'm also a user of the iris accounts production, business & personal tax etc. I contacted iris to hopefully receive assurance that the movement of the practice software to microsoft sql will not be subject to similar problems as the payroll and book-keeping software. Guess what... I have not received a reply.

My opinion is that they trying to expand too quickly through acquisition rather then organic growth without the necessary infrastructure.

I'm also getting really fed up telling their sales people that I am not interested in iris plus

grumpy monday morning moan over!

Ken Moore

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24th Apr 2006 12:11

I am a IRIS user and thought I would make good use of the time I am wasting waiting to speak to their support, and what do think I am doing YES reading this. Only another 17 callers in front of me, a national call charge of 45 mintues plus..

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24th Apr 2006 08:28

Ode to Freeway
Freeway was very easy to use and the helpline was a helpline.

ALthough when you speak to anyone at Iris they are very helpful it is a waste of time ringing up.

I have a number of clients using Iris payroll on my recommendations when it was freeway.

The restoring route is now a nightmare. I thought it was only on my computer but all my cleints have trouble restoirng regarless of the storage media.

The sytem is not correct and this is way the help time is so long, everyone is having hte same problems.

Last week I had to put in a client with 20 employees which took nearly 2 hours giving it a new reference.

This was quicker than waiting on the helpline to get help! but all at my cost.

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24th Apr 2006 09:22

Iris PAYE-Master
Call me an idiot if you like, but Iris seem to have made me that for buying this in the first place. I was an enthusiastic Freeway Customer and I, too, found them helpful and straight if things went wrong. If we are going "en masse" to get retribution, then I am in as well!!

But I was determined to get through to the helpline, and eventually we did.

The assistant was very very good, and he himself referred to the product as "a load of crap". Sorry for the language, but that is a verbatim comment.

Why should we let them get away with it?? Their website mentions no problems, their confounded recorded message (listened to for about 10 hours all told) tells how simple they make things, but THE PRODUCT IS NOT FIT FOR THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH IT WAS INTENDED.

Is this a breach of the Sale of Goods Act???

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By Anonymous
21st Apr 2006 12:38

My problem occurred when restoring data and the company disappeared!. Since 12 April I have been trying to get this problem resolved having spent 1½hrs on one occasion in a queue and was eventually sent a tool, which didn't work. As lines were open til 8.00 for some days I spent over an hour as 1st person in queue and did not speak to anyone. Numerous emails have been sent and no real help forthcoming. Earlier this week (Tuesday)rang HO and wanted to speak with GCEO but put through to programmer. Sent file by email and still waiting!! although did receive a telephone call yesterday afternoon but not in to take it. No reply to number today.
Apart from end of year I am also trying to run a week 53 payroll, that seems difficult when week 52 ended 4 April.
Need to run payroll next week for April but still unable to.
I have not experienced too much trouble since the new version was introduced.
Michael Barron

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25th Apr 2006 21:23

number 51 in the queue
at risk of being insulting, libellous, derogatory and the rest I simply have to say vote with your feet. The crackpot who devised their payday 'wizard' wants lining up with the guy who permits week 56, the numpty who needs you to use your mouse and the keyboard when data entering fast, the incomprehensible backup designer, and thoroughly shooting. But 'we don't want you to stop there!!' shoot the the guy who won't support my accounts production package on W98se and the pratt who demands old users like me to abandon a code structure that is engraved in my very being.

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26th Apr 2006 06:30

They continue to march
I'm sure IRIS will be following this thread so here's more - largely prompted by Nicholas' remarks.

The problems IRIS users have faced could have been headed off at the pass a long time ago. If you look through the history of what's happening NOW, it is easy to see there were fundamental problems in communication stretching back over a long time.

Most recently, when Nicholas set off on his justified rant, IRIS never took the opportunity to understand the real nature of the problem.

Given the rate and quantity of comments to this post, it is clear the message still hasn't sunk in.

I am sure that a response from IRIS MD Martin Luew as a comment to the many questions raised here - and especially over the way the apology has been handled - would go some distance towards solving the problems.

Rob Steele whom I know well and I were having an email conversation up until a couple of days ago when he went silent on me. I won'tr force the issue but this event seems to have paralysed IRIS.

Regardless of individual ire, that's not good for anyone - especially existing customers and, in the long term, IRIS itself.

If they choose to call, I'd help them in a heartbeat because I know how to solve this one and mitigate the damage being caused.

In this day and age, software vendors simply cannot continue in the belief they are in control of the customer relationship. Hint - this story has attracted more than 10,000 page views. That's an aweful lot of potentially ticked off people. To say nothing of the vendors who also read this stuff and are, no doubt, executing against their 'We're the greatest, you can't trust IRIS' sales strategies. And they have the perfect examples - users.

If clients were up in arms in this way, I'm sure professionals would be all over them in an attempt to resolve the difficulty.

That's one of the main reasons I believe the whole blog thingy is so important to developing successful software.

In exactly the same way as I believe professionals can apply the lessons this episode has demonstrated to their own client relationships by creating channels of communication that really are 2-way and are representative of a mutual learning environment where everyone wins.

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23rd Apr 2006 20:29

The Answer
The answer is simple folks

1) Leave iris payroll asap
2) For Turner and Leuw to be sacked

Job done

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24th Apr 2006 08:20

Am I just a coward? Having had considerable difficulty attempting to load V5 of PAYE-master I gave up. and up until now have persevered with v4.5. Having talked around I have a feeling that I am not alone. If Iris want me to renew this year I will require a trouble-free program in the next few weeks and not the rubbish which they have attempted to foist on me (and others?)on at least three occasions since November.
Robin Gordon

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By Anonymous
24th Apr 2006 12:26

Let Down
After having recommended IRIS to several clients and then be faced with this awful situation I feel I have been let down by Iris.

I encountered 2 problems with Iris and I still have not received a response to my emails. Even speaking to Sales (eventually after 25 minutes hanging on) and being assured that they would raise my licence count problem to support I am still in the dark about what to do.

If they do not buck up their ideas I will be recommending that my clients obtain a refund and I will be looking into alternative payroll solutions.

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25th Apr 2006 17:32

Sympathetic schadenfreude
now there's an oxymoron for you! Denis i have been waiting to hear your comments interesting as always. i had previously provisionally calculated the loss of support revenue to be in excess of £40k it may be more or it may be less; also the ongoing pick up of the payroll (at least) software will be damaged for some time so there is a substantial opportunity loss as well. so some might settle for a short term figure of £100k what the med to long term loss is is more difficult to quantify. Iris is a big company now and should be able to ride down the storm

as one of the starters of these outbursts i think its time to calm down a little. i like everybody else was furious but i do believ that Iris are now doing everything they can to make things easier and i am sure that reparations will be on the way.

Iris are saying that the problems emanaate from 4.6 upgraders, do users of others versions corroborate that?

i believe that the freeway software was the only 16 bit (sic) software in the stable that needed upgrading, but as everybody now knows there is a substantial amount of work to be done to upgrage the whole stable to .net, despite all the previous bluster about SSQL.

it just goes to show that every cog in a machine is vital however small it is, and i do hope Iris get the practice software upgrades right as my fellow practicioners who use it and have been happy with it are surely nervous. i am sure that they will revise their roll out program accordingly and i also think that the best guys to fix it ae Turner & Leuw.

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25th Apr 2006 19:02

Sentiments shared
Firstly, is it me or has there been a multitude of program upgrade releases in the last 12 months ?? Each upgrade has brought along a new set of problems with it, which has completely affected the continuity of our payroll team.

Secondly, why is it that having double clicked on the desktop icon, I can almost go away, make a cup of tea, and return between the disappearance of the splash screen and the login screen. We was assured that the product had been developed with improved loading times !!

Thirdly, why it is necessary to enter the password SO MANY times. It feels that you are doing this at each stage of the payroll process. The competition only require a logon password.

Fourthly, as an administrator, my biggest frustration is regarding data backups. Inititially the backups were DAT files then they were BAK files, and then blow me, once having deleted all duplicate client backup files, they revert back to DAT files. Why on earth can't the developers make their mind up !!!

What about the backup names. We complete some quarterly payroll calculations and only want to retain ONE backup. So when backing up why the hell does the program now automatically generate a time stamp and file number which CANNOT be overwriten, generating unnecessary surplus backup files which our external backup media doesn't have the space to save. In v4 we could overwrite existing backups with ease.

Dare I even mention online filing. EVERY client that we successfully filed the P35 online for last year has failed this year. After suffering unreasonable queuing delays to resolve the problem, the solution we was provided with was to delete the e-mail address in the 'Internet Filing' tab and then re-enter it !! What !! So now we have to recreate ANOTHER file for submission resulting in data entry a SECOND time. This has worked and so why hasn't a fix been released. IRIS say this has only affected a minority ....... so what ...... if there is a problem, fix it, that's what we pay for. This problem doesn't arise for new clients that have not been brought forward from last year.

Think I have virtually reached maximum words allowed and so the last complaint to mention has to be telephone support, or lack of, even with a priority support line we have still waited in excess of 30 mins for our calls to be answered.

All in all, I would strongly urge people to stay well away from IRIS PAYE-Master.

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22nd Apr 2006 17:36

This is the bit that annoyed me
"We also tried to bring a degree of order to the way users manage their company database files. In version 4 you were allowed to copy them wherever you wanted, but come the end of the year, some users forgot which files they were using for a particular environment.

Sorry?, you'd rather FORCE us to keep files in
c:\documents and settings\user name\my documents\iris folder

Than use something simple like d:\data\payroll which MOST of us will use so as to keep all of our data in one place for backups purposes

Now we have to search through horrid windows folders, re-arrange our backups to pull data from a vague location.

I think most of us are more compentent computers users than you give us credit for

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23rd Apr 2006 14:03

IRIS PAYE year end files disappear !
I am totally unimpressed with this .net version of what was a good, reliable and stable product. I am currently processing year end P60's and P35's for clients and now find that the year end data files are available and then are not accessible. This is causing problems because I have run all P60's then gone back to run the P35 reports and find that I either cannot access them or I get current year data !. Does anyone have the solution for when a year end data file suddenly changes to add a "W or M" to the data file name with the extension ".PRV". I have to ask because trying to get through to IRIS support is impossible.

IRIS pull your finger out !. We use your other products (Business Tax/Personal Tax/Accounts Production) which are great. I just hope when these go to .net you don't ruin another fine software program.

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By Anonymous
21st Apr 2006 12:47

In support of Iris
I too had problems with V5, but bearing in mind comments by AccountingWeb members, I e-mailed Iris payroll support, rather than phone the helpline. I got a very prompt and helpful reply with a small program to fix the 2007 date problem. This worked for all barring one client, where I had to restore from month 11 and run month 12 again. Following this, all submissions were made to HMRC over one weekend without problems. Whilst the new program is undoubtebly more complicated than its predecessor, it does to my mind lessen the chances of submissions being rejected by HMRC.

I have been critical of Iris in the past, but I am less inclined to be so now

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21st Apr 2006 12:50

Another name on the list
Sadly, I'm afraid I have to add another name to the list of Iris Payroll users struggling to perform what should be a routine end of year task. Their timing at releasing what is effectively a new product and their lack of adequate testing has meant a lot of unnecessary hours being spent trying to find a reliable way forward. I won't be renewing my licence this year for sure.

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21st Apr 2006 12:56

Ride the storm
I would advise payemaster customers to ride the storm, despite the fact we have added facilities to read payemaster files to our software. Now might be a bad time for IRIS to have problems, but it is an even worse time to change supplier. If you have been using a system for a number of years, to move to a different one is traumatic. It should be done at a quiet time, preferably running the old and new systems in parallel for a couple of months. It might be useful to fill the winter hibernation that will come as a result of Lord Carter's proposed filing date changes.

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By s1dap
25th Apr 2006 15:57

Trouble ahead for Iris
It's good to know that Iris has adopted .NET for it latest Payroll software since old versions will run either very slowly or not at all on MS Vista expected end of 2006. What is not clear is what will happen with Exchequer, which as far as I am aware is not a .NET2 implementation, and which would require a rewrite to take advantage of .NET2 attributes. Rewriting an accounting suite is of a different order of magnitude to a Payroll update. COM & DLL are definitely not the future, nor are WebClient implementations.
If Iris Exchequer is to continue winning accolades it will have to do something about its technology base for sure. Just as with payroll doing nothing is not an option, but doing it badly is even worse. Let's hope the lessons learned recently have actually been learned.

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25th Apr 2006 16:42

This is a disaster
I was wondering the same thing as Alastair - but to another point - this is an unmitigated disaster from IRIS perspective. How many firms have bolted to other suppliers? Worse, how many have taken their clients with them - if it's only 20 firms with 50 payroll clients on IRIS - that's a heck of a lot of renewal licences that have cut and run.

For the future, it's bound to reflect on what the Exchequer people do next. More important, it undermines the trust relationship that has to exist between vendor and customer. When that happens, it's but a short step to the company being put on the block at a discounted price.

Unless of course, IRIS gets its act together and demonstrates an understanding of customer relationships in an online world.

Hint: don't throw the PR machine at it.

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24th Apr 2006 13:34





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26th Apr 2006 10:41

Another unhappy customer just checking in.

Whilst I accept that complex software can go wrong from time to time, what is unacceptable is the lack of proper customer support from IRIS. At no time in the past month have I been able to even get in a queue, never mind speak to their support team. Instead I had two slow email responses which didn't solve my problem and I never did get an answer to my third request - I had to get a software expert in to repair the problem which we suspect IRIs could have solved in a few minutes - instead it took five days in total.

What makes this even worse for me is that my problem was to do with the mystery corruption of my back up and restore files and not year end related at all but because it happened now I'm caught up in the year end shambles.

If IRIS are reading this - you have some serious making up to do to your customers, if they still are customers.

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21st Apr 2006 13:15

I note that one person obtained support assistance via email very promptly.

I personally have sent 3 emails and my staff another two, and apart from one auto-mail response, 3 weeks later I have still not had my emails replied to by a human being.

I also have had the experience of being "1st in the queue" on the support line for over an hour - I do not believe the Support line messages at all any more. You go from 10th in the queue to 1st in 30 minutes. Why does it then take over an hour to speak to someone?

I understand that new software can be bugged - just look at Microsoft releases. What I cannot forgive IRIS for is the horrendously bad timing of the release and the totally inadequate support.

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By norstar
25th Apr 2006 11:40

IRIS so bad we've switched to CCH
I can't even begin to describe the problems we've had. PAYEmaster used to be brilliant in its simplicity, IRIS took it over and ruined it. We've had many problems: 1) Repeated hanging and corruption of files that have to then be sent to IRIS to fix, 2) ghost pay frequencies that don't exist e.g. monthly when it's a weekly payroll, 3) online filing sends a volley of three or four submissions leading to messages of rejection by HMRC, 4) the pay date system is nonsensical and includes extra weeks and months when it shouldn't, 5) the SMP schedule doesn't agree to SMP paid and several times has missed random weeks, 6) the software doesn't recognise single digit tax codes so any leavers in 2005-06 are automatically REINSTATED for 2007!!!... Need I go on?

What troubles me is that HMRC have said they won't pay an online filing incentive if the submission contains errors. I will be putting IRIS on notice that should our clients lose any money due to their incompetence and terrible program, we will be looking for compensation as this isn't acceptable. I have had to rush in new software (which looks very good incidentally) and waste a period of IRIS support purely to make sure that I can file returns. Oh yes, I did complain by the way and IRIS gave me a few months free support. Thanks for that.

I'm so sorry it came to this, and I have had to apologise to several clients for whom we recommended PAYEmaster before IRIS ruined it.

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25th Apr 2006 11:51

i can't help wandering
if this thread holds the record for the number of replies from different individuals?

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24th Apr 2006 13:21

Now is not the time
Iris did eventually get back to me but only after talking to their Sales department , you are better off emailing. The irony as a priority user of PAYE Master was to be told that you were so far down a queue.

Takeovers , especially of software are never straightforward, the worst thing is when they try to sell the rest of their products when you are having problems with just one , but one very important product.

2003/04 year end was not good, 2004/05 was a disaster with blame on the Revenue and vice-versa. All of the important refunds were obtained through using the Revenue's own EOY Returns but that was not good enough.

The comfort of being able to test submit this year was palpable, this quickly turned in to slight fear when that did not work. Changes in software before the year end is not good practice.

On a positive note when a software guy did get back to me he did know what he was doing , remotely controlled my machine and dealt with the problem within 2 minutes.

This is not the time of the year to have the headache in the first place. Glad I got that off my chest and that is probably another good reason for having Accounting Web.

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24th Apr 2006 13:30

The best solution
Surely the best solution (at this time), would be for IRIS to provide the necessary upgrades of version 4.6 to keep it current in line with regulations, allowing users to make the transition to version 5.xxx after all the year end filing is complete.

When will someone at IRIS start to make logical decisions?

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24th Apr 2006 14:41

IRIS Payroll
We also have suffered and suffered since he new Version 5 was released- bring back the old program!
There just seems to be no fair recompense for the hours and hours of lost staff and partner time- though I managed by verbal bullying to obtain and extension of my current agreemnt by 6 months - this did not cover my time losses to date.

Every time we load the payroll program problems apprear- we have upgraded our copmuters and this has not solved the problems.

Running a payroll should not be difficult and I am now actively looking for new software to take over from this disaster area.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

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24th Apr 2006 14:51

I emailed Iris at about 11pm on Friday evening and I got the standard answer about upgrading for 2006/07, not the answer to my question regarding not being able to file. I immediately fired a serious broadside back and I got an immediate reply from a real human being! Seems they are so much in trouble that they are working 24/7.

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By stratty
21st Apr 2006 13:55

The original version 5 release was a joke and we had to backtrack to 4.61.

Now the v5.5 will only install on 2 machines out of 3 with no explanation from IRIS as to what is happening. All 3 machines are identical.

Then there is the random week 53 that appears when opening clients. Not to mention data corruption when clients are opened and having to restore an earlier version.

All of this for a licence fee that has increased three fold since the days of dealing with Freeway.

A case of 2 little 2 late and we are looking at sourcing alternative software.

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24th Apr 2006 12:28

Iris payroll problems
I too have had problems with Iris PAYE-master. One of my companies completely disappeared from my system once I had run the upgrade. Everytime I called support it said that the system was busy, please try later and cut me off. In the end I managed to semi-sort it myself by creating another company called the same and restoring the file. Meanwhile the system still counts the "lost" business as one of my companies on my license. I eventually got through to support who asked me to email me the IRIS file, I am still waiting to hear back from them to fix it.

I am extremely disappointed with Iris, I have been an accounts/tax user for years and thought that I would get a good product when I bought PAYE-master, I was wrong. I should have bought Sage payroll.

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24th Apr 2006 12:57

Iris - what a joke
I never thought much of Iris from the outset so thankfully talked my Company into buying Sage. Maybe a lot more money but saved in the end with a comprehensive backup support whenever you need it. However have to do the year end on Iris and am dreading it judging by the comments. SDo much for their slogan ... "we make life easy"

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21st Apr 2006 13:50

Same problems different solution
We had similar problems and finally managed to obtain technical support by phoning in as a potential customer for their practise management software and then saying we would not consider it further until they resolved our payroll issues!

They phoned us back and, after a 90 minute call, we had resolved most issues.

We still have some files not working properly and the pay date calculator generating week 53s all over the place didn’t help but at least we have been able to efile.

There is still a nagging doubt that there are data discrepancies in the filed returns; we did spot a couple of cases where SSP and tax credit information on the P35 was different from the P14s.

We will watch with interest on the compensation front.

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By tuckpt
24th Apr 2006 15:24

IRIS payroll software
I would like to add my comments to the others regarding IRIS payroll. I, too, experienced real problems with the program and tried to contact IRIS by phone, e-mail and fax. It took me a day and half to finally get a response to that problem, which I tried but it did not work. I managed to resolve the problem but it required deletion of the client's records and re-keying all the information in. I then had other problems for which I sent an e-mail, having tried by phone and got nowhere. It does not inspire confidence when you are told on the phone that you are no. 32 in the queue. It took IRIS 4 days to reply by e-mail to the problem. I have yet to submit on-line the rest of my client's end of year returns. I hate to think what confromts me. After this I am changing to another software supplier.

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21st Apr 2006 13:59

Master of what?
I too have had great problems with the new version issued last November.

Mainly this was the inability to print P45s accurately enough for the data to be correctly aligned with the boxes.

I wasted - used up - my whole stock of P45 stationery and had to wait a week for the orderline to supply more. I now keep at least 50 sets in stock!

Printing multiple copies, emptying the paper tray when you only wanted 2 copies was another pain.

Incorrect margin settings was the real problem and the inability of the program to remember the settings consistantly.

This has largely been resolved although yesterday I wasted an hour trying print parts 2 and 3 of the P45 when the settings were some reason printing differently from part 1 & 1A.

On-line filing. I have filed 6 P35s so far this year and this has taken about a half hour each. The problem is that the submission is not always terminated by the program (only one of six has correctly registered that a submission has been made). It is still 'submitting' even after you've had the confirmatory e-mail form HMR&C. But who is correct have you submitted and HMR&C are correct or is PAYE-Master?

PAYE-Master is still the weakest link of the IRIS suite of software. Last year on-line filing was a doddle - chaos this year.

I doubt that they are worth staying with. Their 'help' facility and manual were always a joke but I can't take much more of this.

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21st Apr 2006 14:20

IRIS Payroll
I have never had anything but problems with the IRIS Payroll support service. You can wait anything up to an hour to actually get through to someone. Its a complete joke. I for one will not be renewing my subscription.

Can anybody recommend any other packages?

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21st Apr 2006 14:21

Another former user!
We also had been running PAYE master as a bureau for many years with no problems.
I noted the reports of problems with the upgrade to V5 and therefore did not run the upgrade on our system (v4.6 was running fine).
When v5.5 dropped on my desk I checked with Iris by e-mail (on 23 March) and was informed that we had to upgrade before processing the year-end, and that a 'a patch is being worked upon at the moment for 'known' bugs. I would expect this to be available for download, perhaps as early as next week'(ie. by end of March?)
I held off upgrading to v5.5 as long as possible, however the promised patch did not appear on the Iris website before it became essential to run the Y/Es in order to process the payrolls for the 1st period of 06/07.
The upgrade failed - we could only open one client's data - this was fixed after a few days of phone calls and e-mails by sending all the data to Iris and them fixing the corruption.
We then could not print any of the Y/E reports! - more calls and e-mails to Iris, installation of a patch they e-mailed me finally fixed this problem.
I can understand the support lines normally being busy at this time of year and cannot really fault the support staff (and feel quite sorry for them having to deal with so many irate customers)who are helpful when you can eventually get through, and do fix the problems eventually. I do think they should change the dreadful music we have been forced to endure while on hold for hours on end!
I cannot understand how Iris can justify releasing v5 and then v5.5 with so many 'bugs' outstanding, and promising patches which do not materialise in good time.
Iris also seem to be unapologetic about the problems - blaming them on necessary systems changes - this is not our problem, that is whay we pay them for.
We have moved away from Iris payroll to one called 'Earnie' for the 06/07 year - this has involved substantial set-up time but we can now move on and not think about Iris any more.

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21st Apr 2006 13:25

We too had lots of problems during Jan thru to March, and looked at alternative software, and we too would love to have the details of of where we can write to for the redress of costs

I am surprised that other payroll suppliers have not attempted to cash in on this situation.

On our local radio comsumer program, IRIS has been mentioned numerous times by local businesses and Payroll Bureau companies of the problems they have faced.

Fortunately, our year end processing has gone smoothly, but we are waiting to file the year end returns online, so we may still encounter problems!

Can anyone recommend another RELIABLE payroll software with a bureau licence?

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By Anonymous
22nd Apr 2006 09:04

Response speaks volumes
I've carefully read the response from Iris, and can't find one word of apology or contrition in it, just weasel words about the importance of customer care.

Given the level of postings and problems about this product over several months, it's inconceivable that the program has been properly written and tested. It's Iris's job to get properly working software to its customers, so that it works on real machines and real data, operated by accountants and businessmen, not computer engineers. It is abundantly clear that they have failed miserably, but don't feel any need to apologise.

There was a problem last year with the program putting wrong year ends in FBI submissions, but Iris didn't accept any responsibility for that either on the flimsy grounds that the fix was hidden on its website. They didn't feel the need to actually tell their customers about that mistake. Unlike this year's fiasco, we didn't know it had happened until we started getting notices from the Revenue this year. Why would we look on the website for a fix for something we didn't (and couldn't) know had happened.

Still, the end is in sight. Once we've finished filing this year's submissions, Iris is in the bin. We're already using something else for this year.

Iris seem set to lose significant numbers of customers. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

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22nd Apr 2006 10:14

The Arrogance of IRIS
Simon Turner's response shows IRIS's arrogance towards its customers. Quote:

"We also tried to bring a degree of order to the way users manage their company database files. In version 4 you were allowed to copy them wherever you wanted, but come the end of the year, some users forgot which files they were using for a particular environment.

"Version 5 introduced a management framework to look after data files as well as back-up and restore functions,"

Some users may have forgotten, but most of us never had a problem under V4 with the current and year-end versions of the data files around the year-end and if something went wrong, we could swap in a backed-up file. All that was necessary to keep a proper structure was to advise users to save the back-up data file to a separate folder for each month/week and an extra folder for the year-end version. Instead, IRIS have fixed a non-existent problem with a rigid structure which is unreliable and which neither they nor the users know how to operate to achieve the desired result.

It is the same with the new Pay Period wizard which is poorly explained in the help. We have found out how to make it work, but why was it necessary in the first place? I suspect that it is the cause of the Week 53 problems.

The same arrogance appears in the software's new determination to keep its data files under My Documents on the workstation's local hard drive. Many accountants running a bureau will have a network and want to keep the data files on the server where they can be backed up as part of a standard daily routine. Yes - you can override the default directory each time, but the program does not remember it the next time.

Presumably, the enforced "management framework" is also the cause of the difficulty in trying to access the software from 2 workstations, which will be a common requirement for many accountants running a payroll bureau. Although you may have the data files on a separate server, they have to be "imported" into each workstation separately. Why? Because the program has glitches, you can end up with one workstation showing Month 12 and the other showing Month 7. How do they do that when there is only the one Month 12 data file on the server?

Incidentally, we have found that the e-mail address problem during online filing can be fixed by simply re-saving the Company/Internet Filing screen without doing anything to the e-mail address.

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By BdHathi
22nd Apr 2006 15:15

Alternative Payroll Package
I use TAS Payroll and found their software and support excellent.

I needed advice on one clients returns which kept failing when i filed by internet. I emailed them and got a very quick respone. They rang me and talked me through the problem and stayed on the phone whilst i filed the return to make sure the problem was properly resolved.

Their accounting software is excellent as well.

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24th Apr 2006 15:00

Call from Martin Leuw CEO Iris
i am delighted to report that i have spoken to Martin L , the head guy at Iris. he tried to call me friday when i was unavailable and again today.

we had a frank telephone conversation when we discussed the problems and how they had arisen and although i dont totally buy into his comments at least i know where he is coming from.

a letter is going out to all customers with the latest release in the next few days; whether correspondents will be happy with it is upto them ... Iris recognise the problems they have and are begining to respond in a more efficient manner, unfortunately for us users turning round things like this is not like turning on a tap.

unsurprisingly i may have more to say later!

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22nd Apr 2006 08:51

Andica Payroll Software
Several people in this posting have asked for alternative payroll software.

Have a look at Andica Payroll Software on www.andica.com

Call or email me for a CD or complete this form https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/members/andica/

Bharat Vithlani
Andica Limited
0870 766 1515
[email protected]

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