2018 Review: IRIS turns 40 but shows no signs of letting up

By Paul Onions | 18th December 2018 | 15 min read

It’s only natural, as we near the turn of the year, to look back and think about what’s happened in the last 12 months – and it’s quite a list!

Admittedly, it hasn’t gained quite as much attention as the Royal Wedding and subsequent pregnancy, but this year was also IRIS’s 40th anniversary. This perhaps makes it an even more pertinent time to reflect on recent events. It’s clear from everything we’ve been doing that there’s no let up and no mid-life crisis at IRIS.

And it was clear to see the impact we’re making through our solutions thanks to the Accounting Excellence Awards, where IRIS customers comprised 78% of the winners and 51% of all nominees.

One of the biggest news stories of the year was the data scandal surrounding Facebook and Cambridge Analytica that led to the social media giant being hit with a £500k fine from the ICO (the UK's data protection watchdog) for a "serious breach" of the law. This was because Facebook allowed app developers access to people's data "without clear consent". It received the maximum fine available under old data protection laws before the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) kicked in on 25 May.

And that ties in to one of the huge things we’ve achieved at IRIS early on this year - ensuring that accountants were ready for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that kicked in on 25 May. Ensuring sensitive personal details are protected is critical for accountants and we’ve helped many to comply with the new rules, through our roadshows, new products and enhancements to existing software.

We launched GDPR Advisor with our partners at The Data Support Agency. Our solutions, such as IRIS OpenSpace and IRIS Docs, mean our accountants are now securely sharing sensitive personal data with clients and having their documents safely signed and approved. In total, over 500,000 people are benefitting from using OpenSpace now.

Speaking of legislative change, which continues at relentless pace, that brings me on to FRS and MTD. For FRS, we have built in the changes from the Triennial review 2017 into IRIS Accounts Production to enable early adoption.

But of course MTD has been a big focus this year, with so much work going on to help ensure accountants are fully primed and ready come April 2019 when the digital tax reporting revolution arrives. We’ve been creating and refining solutions that put accountants in pole position to take advantage of the reforms. In the early part of the year, IRIS became the first software product to submit quarterly accounting data via new income tax APIs, with our customer Rowleys Chartered Accountants. In the latter part of the year we launched IRIS VAT Filer – our new bridging software that can be used for those clients for whom bookkeeping software isn’t appropriate.

Another way we’ve been helping customers with their MTD journey is via our new mobile app Accountant Go, which has a host of features that will support your transition. One of our most exciting new products, this app is one example of how we’ve built our presence in the mobile world this year.

There’s also our amazing time-saving app IRIS Snap, which will put an end to clients bringing you bags of paper receipts and the KashFlow app has been enhanced further, with a new expenses/mileage module.

As well as all of this, we’ve launched two other brand new products. IRIS Analytics helps customers who told us they need something to help understand their KPI’s and analyse their business performance. Through IRIS AI, we are enabling accountants to make the most of emerging artificial intelligence and machine learning. Furthermore, we’ve made changes to modernise the user experience across our suite of products, and we’ve improved all self-help and learning content. We also launched our first ever Customer Awards.

Don’t forget you can always provide ideas for new features, products, and enhancements. Visit www.iris.co.uk/ideas.

All that's left to say is the very best festive wishes to all our customers! Here’s to a great 2019, when IRIS will be striving to make accountants lives’ even easier and more efficient.