Financial IT: Kevin, can you give us some brief information about your background and role at IRIS?
Kevin Dady: My career started with a 14-year tenure in local government before moving to Capita, where I spent 19 years. For the majority of my time with Capita I was responsible for the Professional Services Division, which included supplying software to public sector organisations, such as councils or schools, and supplying BPO services to wider public sector departments. I left Capita three years ago and following a number of interim roles, I joined IRIS Software as Group CEO in December 2015. I joined the business as I am passionate about providing high-level transformation solutions and want to see IRIS positioned as the technology solution provider for UK businesses.
Financial IT: Can you tell us briefly about IRIS and the products you offer? And what makes IRIS products so special compared to other competitors’ products?
Kevin: IRIS Software has 37 years’ experience in the UK market, with a strong track record of supplying the accountancy and payroll sectors. In 2013, our business proposition expanded to supply online payroll solutions to SMEs through the acquisition of KashFlow. We currently supply more than 17,000 accountancy practices in the UK with software which sees three million tax returns filed to HMRC every year. IRIS plays a vital role in the everyday running of British accountancy firms and SMEs. The importance of this will grow as we move towards HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative.
As the digital world has evolved, we’ve diversified our offerings to align with the needs and expectations of our customer base. This is why 5,000 accountancy practices and a further 200,000 users subscribe to our cloud software solutions. In the modern age, mobility is key for many businesses and our cloud products ensure professionals are able to manage their cash flow on the move, rather than being chained to their desk for hours at a time. Our cloud bookkeeping products are used by more than 50,000 SMEs, enabling them to stay on top of their finances while on the move.
People choose IRIS because we have a reputation for maintaining our products to be compliant with the latest regulatory requirements. So whenever financial legislation is passed, whether it’s auto-enrolment, RTI or the upcoming Making Tax Digital initiative, IRIS customers know they can depend on our software to ensure they are compliant from day one.
Financial IT: What was the main purpose of acquiring PS Financials?
Kevin: The PS Financials acquisition is a reflection of the experience and cooperation of the IRIS management team as well as the confidence of our investors at the core of the acquisition. PS Financials supplies financial management to a wide variety of industries, with a particular focus on the UK education sector. Although this isn’t a sector IRIS has vast arrays of experience in compared to other key markets, by combining resources, skills and knowledge, I am confident we can grow the PS Financials business.
We do not intend to change any of the PS Financials products, although we plan on integrating a number of our Accountancy, HR and Payroll products. By doing so, I believe our knowledge of the accountancy sector, combined with PS Financials’ knowledge of academies, can connect several revenue streams and this was the rational behind the acquisition.
Financial IT: IRIS mainly provides accounting, payroll, HR software, and PS Financials also offers accounting, reporting and budgeting software. So will you integrate or merge the solutions in the future?
Kevin: Integrating into one big super solution is not our rationale for acquisition. The education sector has unique requirements, so we plan to integrate some of the appropriate products, such as Payroll and HR. Our experience, combined with PS Financials expertise enables us to provide software and support for education customers in key business areas. PS Financials also serves commercial and charity sectors which are also a natural fit for our Payroll and HR software.
Financial IT: What are the latest changes/improvements that were introduced in accounting and auditing spheres in IFRS Regulations? And are you implementing those changes in IRIS as well?
Kevin: International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) have been progressively replacing the various national accounting standards with a single international framework, one which accountants in the UK are now required to work with when dealing with SMEs
While a few early adopters have been working within the new framework before the deadline, it is now we are seeing the majority of the profession addressing the impact of FRS 101 to 105 on the way organisations work with accountants.
The new reporting standard sees a number of changes including in the way some transactions are accounted for and disclosed; changes to balance sheets, derivatives and changes to fair value gains and losses in respect to investment property.
We work on a weekly basis to understand what this means for accountants; we know IRIS is an essential part of the armoury and it’s our job to ensure they have compliant, critical business software.
Working closely with HMRC and our customers, we provide accountancy software and services that seamlessly bridge the digital gap for accountants and their clients. IRIS offers the tools and services that provide flexibility to choose the starting point for switching from paper to digital record keeping, whilst guaranteeing compliant digital records to HMRC.
Financial IT: What are the future goals for IRIS?
Kevin: Firstly, Making Tax Digital. We have the right strategy to be the leading provider of digital tax solutions for UK accountancy practices and SMEs.
Our second area of focus is to extend our solutions we are providing to SMEs. In addition to HR and Payroll, we are looking to support businesses as they grow. Our goal is to support customers as they grow, solving critical technology growing pains by providing solutions which are affordable and draw business benefit.
Finally, we want to extend our experience into other sectors. As you’ve seen with PS Financials, the combination of PS Financials and IRIS creates a strategic partner with an unrivalled breadth and depth in its portfolio bringing opportunities to a range of market sectors. We will continue exploring opportunities over the coming years, which in turn will result in improved productivity, efficiency and compliance for organisations in these sectors.
It is going to be an exciting time as we learn and achieve great things together as a leading UK software solutions provider.
Kevin joined IRIS in December 2015 as CEO of IRIS Software Group. Prior to this Kevin was Operating Partner at Better Capital LLP following an 18 year tenure at Capita as divisional executive board member.