Taking a softly-softly approach to moving accountants over to the cloud

Paul Onions - Accountants moving to the cloud
By Paul Onions | 4th February 2022 | 4 min read

Introducing IRIS product director, Paul Onions

Paul is product director here at IRIS, with 26 years’ experience in the accounting industry under his belt. From his early practice days in a small 4-partner firm back in the 1990s, he made the move to the accountancy software world in 1997, when electronic filing was first introduced, under a system called the electronic lodgement service. “We used to send out seven floppy discs (remember them?) of a product called the Tax Exchange Module, for filing returns. Since then, I’ve been through many, many technology changes in the accounting world – and am now part of a team delivering future-ready products, built to make accountants’ lives easier.” Now, Paul has a key role in defining how IRIS enables accountants to move to the cloud at their own speed.

Despite a long career in accounting software, Paul is definitely not a desk jockey. Not only is he a 2nd dan black belt in freestyle martial arts, he’s a regular participant in obstacle and endurance events, such as Tough Mudder!

The pandemic has forced the accountancy market, like many others, to accept digital and cloud technology into their lives. But the move for accountants from desktop to the cloud is often seen as a pain in the neck, as well as expensive. After doing some research into what our accountancy customers actually wanted from new technology, it became clear they were open to moving over to a modern cloud-based platform, and could definitely see the benefits – not least remote and collaborative working. They could also see how it would set them on the path of transitioning their compliance portfolio into a cloud environment.

Always putting customers first

Overwhelmingly however, we realised that customers wanted to transition at their own pace. They also desperately wanted technology that would give them a single view of the customer, which would allow them to automate workflows across a whole host of different applications.

“We know that change can be daunting and disruptive, our cloud strategy allows our customers to enjoy the benefits that our cloud suite can offer alongside a single customer view shared with their desktop products. They can transition at their own pace to maximise efficiencies knowing we are there to support them.” Paul Onions

Introducing IRIS Elements

IRIS Elements is our new cloud accountancy platform, that gives accountancy customers automated workflows and new technologies to help streamline and digitise their practice and get on board with new ways of working. Built on a layer of APIs, it goes beyond its software to pull in data from multiple sources, helping accountants work more efficiently and be better advisors. Its suite of applications is designed to support all areas of accountancy as firms grow, from data capture, compliance and bookkeeping through to customer portals and advisory services. And it has the much-needed single view of the customer.

Paul says: “What most software houses do when they build something shiny and new, is to grab every customer by the scruff of their neck and drag them onto it, whether they like it or not, and that’s a big disruption for those customers. If you’ve already embraced an existing software portfolio, or system, for any period of time, you’re invested in it – all the workflow and processes you use are almost second nature.

“So, one of the key things we’re doing with the transition to IRIS Elements platform, is to make it exactly that – a transition. We’re enabling our customers to move their clients across case by case, product by product, at a time and pace that suits them.”

The IRIS approach

That’s how the IRIS approach really differs, Paul explains, they are genuinely supporting the accountants in everything they do: the compliance transition, the technology transition, as accountants move from desktop to cloud, and the shift from a compliance focus towards expanding advisory services.

“And, with the transition to Elements, we’re immediately enabling the mobility and remote working that accountants have been longing for through the COVID-19 period. Many will have overcome those challenges already with hosted systems but, having a native cloud application, will make that even easier.”

Plans for the future

Looking to the future, the vision for IRIS Elements is to create a platform of services that works for all accountants as they move to the cloud. Over the next couple of years IRIS will continue to re-create and evolve its products onto the platform ready for customers to use when they are ready. “We want to give customers the entire suite of not just compliance, but productivity and advisory capabilities, to really bring the whole IRIS family together. What we’re doing now is just the beginning, and it’s a really exciting time for us and for our customers.”

Find out more about cloud accounting today or take a look at our cloud accounting packages.