From surviving to thriving in the digital economy

By Alan Gregory | 30th May 2018 | 14 min read

This year’s Accountex was my seventh and one of the busiest I have ever seen. I felt last year was a tad quiet, due to the Making Tax Digital (MTD) pause button being hit. But with MTD VAT and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at the forefront of conversation, the Accountex mojo was well and truly back. A melee of chaos and colour filled the hall as vendors presented their products and showcased solutions shaping tomorrow’s accountancy practices.

The news that MTD VAT will go ahead in April 2019, combined with the GDPR deadline stimulated much discussion and it was good to hear how practices have been preparing for both. Outsourcing, recruitment and skills development were also on the agenda, alongside another debate; how can accountants go from surviving to thriving in the digital economy?

This question has been on our minds for some time and following in depth research, conversations with customers, and gathering evidence across the industry, IRIS has been on a clear mission: to help practices evolve beyond compliance services to capitalise on new opportunities.

Thriving on excellence

The foundation of our strategy is to focus on the development of the IRIS Accountancy Suite, and this culminated in the Spring release being the most extensive update in our history. The IRIS portfolio provides a basis for accountancy practices reshape their business models to thrive in the digital economy. Our tools automate internal processes, giving practices more time to focus on valuable advisory services. Using technology also means they can unlock client and practice data to gain comprehensive insights into business performance which results in greater efficiency and the foresight to maximise practice direction.

Acquisitions have fuelled our strategy too. Taxfiler complements our portfolio as we recognise the requirements and challenges of small practices are different to those of larger ones. The acquisition of Star Computers enables us to provide payroll software to bureaus and businesses with large and complex payroll requirements. Whatever the size of business, we strive to simplify the lives of all accountants and in the process make them more efficient and productive – and ready to thrive in the coming years.

What next?

As we reach our 40th year, we continue the substantial investment in development with a specific focus: to liberate data from the desktop IRIS compliance suite and enable access via cloud and mobile platforms.

What is very clear is that we don’t have a choice to digitally transform. The choice is how we do it.