IRIS World 2016: Round-up

By Sam Thomas | 13th October 2016 | 15 min read

At World’s end

Over the past month, London’s Twickenham Stadium, Birmingham’s ICC and Glasgow’s Hampden Park all opened their doors to IRIS World 2016, our annual conference dedicated to accountants in practice.

Each event was packed out, with Twickenham achieving record-breaking audience numbers and attendance across all three venues setting an all-time company high.

The event showcased technology challenges currently facing the accounting industry and, by way of our special guests and experts, revealed how best to capitalise on the opportunities these challenges are presenting. From speaking to many of you during and after the events, it would appear that we succeeded.

How it happened

The proceedings began in London on 20 September with an opening address from IRIS Group CEO Kevin Dady, appearing at his first IRIS World since taking the helm nine months ago. Kevin reiterated the IRIS commitment to providing accountants with the business-critical technology needed to succeed during the ongoing digital revolution.

This included a continued focus on research and development, highlighting an £8m investment in backend IRIS technology systems to improve internal processes and raise customer service standards to an even higher level.

Kevin was followed by the supremely engaging Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft. Dave’s address on the past, present and future of technological innovation, and how accountants need to adapt to and embrace it in order to survive and thrive, was met with regular outbreaks of laughter and applause.

"We should be using the gift of technology to work smarter, not harder."

- Dave Coplin, Microsoft

IRIS revelations

IRIS Senior Director of Product, Steve Cox and Senior Director of Strategy, James Griffin then made two big announcements in the form of the company’s acquisition of Level10 Ltd and a new partnership with fintech business lender Iwoca.

GearShift software brings next generation forecasting to the fingertips of IRIS users, enabling accountants to profitably deliver key advisory services and increase the provision of value-added client offerings.

"It's increasingly important for accountants to produce financial information quickly, easily & in a format clients understand."

- Kevin Cowan, GearShift

With Iwoca, your KashFlow clients have access to finance from within their accounts, allowing them to cover unexpected costs, such as overdue invoices or large bills. 

Find out more about both of these exciting developments in our ‘News’ section.

We also unveiled a new partnership with Microsoft, whose online store now exclusively features the KashFlow app, available to users with Windows 10 or Windows 10 Mobile. Get it here

Death, taxes & minding the GAAP

Next up was HMRC with an insider view of their much-maligned ‘Making Tax Digital’ strategy, followed by FRS guru Steve Collings, who presented a detailed look at the key differences between old and new UK GAAP.

“‘Making Tax Digital’ will not be a quarterly penalty regime…

- Theresa Middleton, HMRC

Throughout the day, several polls were carried out using the Slido polling application, which delegates accessed via their smartphones to both answer questions (on topics such as the government’s digital strategies and Brexit) and put forward some of their own, to be asked later on in the day during the industry panel session.

You can see the results from each event here:

  • London - Sorry link no longer active
  • Birmingham - Sorry link no longer active
  • Glasgow - Sorry link no longer active

Setting up shop

After lunch and networking in the Expert Zone and Exhibition area, delegates split up into three groups for the workshop sessions. Read about the subjects here: Marginal Gains; Making Tax Digital; practice management; digital compliance; auto-enrolment; tax evasion; online brand expansion; digital documentation; client empowerment.

We'll be posting some of the key presentations online soon – watch this space.

Panel show

Our London event concluded with an industry panel, where experts from HMRC, the FRC, ICAEW, ACCA, Accounting Web, Receipt Bank and Companies House came together to debate the digital transformation of the accounting sector and its challenging future.

The primary talking point was ‘Making Tax Digital’, and you can expect to see much more on the topic from us over the coming weeks and months.

The technology wave is coming and it’s a tidal wave – it’s already there. No-one can stop it.

- Nelson da Silva, Receipt Bank

Kevin Dady, the IRIS World team and all the panellists and speakers would like to extend their gratitude to everybody who attended the events and engaged so proactively throughout.

IRIS World will return in 2017!