IRIS Practice Engine 9.8 release – customer questions answered

Untitled design 98 | IRIS Practice Engine 9.8 release - customer questions answered
By Jenny Strudwick | 22nd January 2021 | 14 min read

In December we held a winter user group meeting with a product theme, focusing on what the IRIS Practice Engine team has been working on and developments in the pipeline for the year ahead. A session for our customers, we threw it open to the floor so questions could be put to our team.  

Since then, release 9.8 has launched, with upgrades that streamline your banking and make cash collection easier. Intended to help you to work faster and more efficiently, this is surely the best time of the year to give productivity a boost!

If you took part in the webinar but didn’t have chance to make notes, or if you missed it but are interested in what was discussed, we captured the questions and answers for you to catch up at your leisure. Split into sections on release 9.8, integrations, data insights and warehouse. We hope the information proves helpful.

What are the features in the new IRIS Practice Engine 9.8 Release?

Q: In bank receipts, what functionality does Practice Engine have to identify the client sending the receipt through the bank, to the client on Practice Engine. We have cases where a group may send in a payment covering invoices raised on two or more different clients in Practice Engine, and where the client names per the bank do not match those in Practice Engine.

 A: There is an option to store client bank details against each client. This along with outstanding amounts and information the system intelligently obtains from previous transactions will help to identify the possible match within the Bank Feed.

Q: You had the Classic credit control pages being updated, and Credit Control is being rewritten. What’s the difference and what is in between?

A: The reskinned Credit Control pages will be rolled into version 9.8 and will have the same functionality as they currently do. No functionality changes will happen until we rewrite Credit Control. This will go through a full scoping process where we will be talking to users to canvass requirements.

Q: Do we need to use jobs fully to be able to move forward and use version 9.8?

A: No, you can carry on using a default generic job against each service on each client.


Q: Will the planned integrations be links within the Practice Engine system or full integration?

A: It will depend on the integration. Some will have a button within the product to sync, some may require manual intervention.

Q: Are there any future plans for Practice Engine to include a complete bookkeeping system? i.e. evolve Practice Engine to a ERP system.

A: No

Q: Will there be integration for QuickBooks Online?

A: The QuickBooks Online API doesn’t support posting of GL Journals so we can’t create an integration with QuickBooks Online.

Q: Are there GL integrations that are more supported than others?

A: The most up to date and full featured GL integration is the one we have with Intacct.

Q: Are all existing integrations available to on premise Practice Engine customers or are some only available to Azure Hosted Practice Engine customers?

A: Some are only available to Azure hosted customers. The reason being that some integrations will be running from Azure and will need access to the Practice Engine database and while it is technically possible to open a link from the on-premise database to Azure, it’s not entirely reliable.

Q: Have your looked at Oracle or Oracle Fusion for a GL integration?

A: No

Data Insights

Q: Are there any future plans for users to be able to create their own customised reports? i.e. report writer

A: Yes, we are planning this for our Data Insights project. We plan on creating a way that users can query pre-defined query models using a built in query tool to generate simple list type reports with contact and client information.

Q: Can we use the query tool to extract data from the client attributes tab?

A: We will be planning on having a query model that holds attribute information. The EasyQuery tool will be able to associate Attribute data with the Client record which is in turn connected to transactions, it probably will solve most reporting requirements relating to Attributes.

Q: Can the new standard report pack be added to an existing site, not disrupting existing reports?  If so, is there a cost?

A: Much work has been done to make the latest standard reports implement without duplicating old standard reports, or overwriting customised standard reports. There are some expectations that historic customisation were done in a supportable way, so a backup is recommended, but we can implement them with a reasonably high level of confidence. There is no cost – but please note they have been checked against Practice Engine version 9.7 only, and customer reports won’t have been checked against 9.8, so further customisations may be required.

Q: What's the difference between Data Insights and the Practice Engine Data Warehouse?

A: Data Insights is a program of changes to improve access to data within the Practice Engine application. It’s a User Interface – a set of screens that users interact with to view data and work with the output. The Practice Engine Data Warehouse is a database with a simplified set of tables for easier reporting. It is NOT a reporting tool itself – it has no interface – it enables the client to access their data more easily with reporting tools like Excel, PowerBI, Tableau etc.

Data Warehouse

Q: Are there any planned developments for 9.8?

A: Yes, it is actively being developed, although the current 9.7 compatible version works with 9.8 since there are no significant table changes that would affect it. Current warehouse development is looking at Job data since 9.8 is already supportable on it.

Q: Can the Practice Engine Data Warehouse service be applied to Scheduling?

A: There are no current plans to put Scheduling data inside the Data Warehouse. The need for the warehouse was to make Engine data more accessible because it’s a highly complex structure. The Scheduling database is already relatively accessible so there is less need to change that, and most reporting tools are perfectly fine with taking in data from multiple sources – so you can already fold Scheduling data in to Warehouse reports (given a little guidance)

To ask a question not covered in our winter webinar, you can raise a support query, or keep an eye out for our next webinar, which you are welcome to join.

Sign up and see the schedule of webinars here and stay up to date as a member of our IRIS Practice Engine user community.

About the author

Jenny Strudwick

Senior Product Manager

Jenny is Senior Product Manager for Tax at IRIS. She has been with IRIS for over 18 years working across many different departments including Support, Engineering and now Product Management. During this time she has been instrumental in major tax changes from FBI to iXBRL and now MTD. Jenny works closely with HMRC on major changes in taxation especially now as they develop their MTD strategy. Prior to joining IRIS, Jenny spent a number of years in practice and has now accumulated over 21 years’ experience in UK taxation.