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  • Year Founded: 1979
  • Products and Services: Accounting, finance, payroll, education, HR, tax preparation, and more
  • Number of Customers: 120,000 UK and international organisations
  • Customer Support: Phone, Email, Support Articles, FAQs

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IRIS Software Review

IRIS Software Group is a leading provider of business-critical software for businesses in the UK. Check out this IRIS Software review to gain a better understanding of the products and services offered by this comprehensive accounting suite.

IRIS Software Review

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  • Year Founded: 1979
  • Products and Services: Accounting, finance, payroll, education, HR, tax preparation, and more
  • Number of Customers: 120,000 UK and international organisations
  • Customer Support: Phone, Email, Support Articles, FAQs

Best For



  • Suitable for businesses of all types and sizes
  • Free payroll for businesses with up to 10 employees
  • Phone support available


  • Pricing not available online

IRIS Software Group is one of the largest accountancy software companies in the UK. It exists to simplify and automate many of the everyday mission-critical tasks for business owners, allowing them to focus on their core business needs. The company currently offers solutions and products for accounting, finance, payroll, HR, tax preparation, and more.

In this IRIS software review, we will take a closer look at this comprehensive business software provider and describe some of its core products and services.

About IRIS

IRIS was founded in 1979, and, with over 40 years of experience, it is one of the UK’s longest-running private software companies. The company is based in Slough, United Kingdom. Currently, its solutions and products are used by over 120,000 UK and international organisations, from FTSE-100 companies to micro-businesses.

Moreover, up to 23,000 accountancy firms in the UK use the IRIS accounting software to run their businesses, which is more than any other accountancy suite provider. Furthermore, IRIS is the number one choice of 90 of the UK’s top 100 accountancy firms, and around 20% of the UK’s workforce is covered by IRIS’ payroll solution.

With these numbers, it is clear that IRIS is a well-established player in the accounting software market. So, let’s take a look at some of its core products and services.

IRIS Software Products and Solutions

IRIS Accountancy Suite

The IRIS Accountancy Suite provides an integrated suite of products built around a centralised system. This extensive portfolio of products includes everything from billing and invoicing to time tracking and running payroll. Here are only some of the products you will find in the IRIS Accountancy Suite:

  • IRIS Options — a basic accounting solution for small organisations with 9 to 30 employees.
  • IRIS Business Tax — software for easily completing tax returns.
  • IRIS Personal Tax — HMRC-recognised tax filing software meant for tax agents.
  • IRIS Time and Fees — a powerful work monitoring tool that ensures all hours worked have been charged for and all fees have been collected.
  • IRIS AutoMail — software that automates client communication, coming with a powerful document generation tool for creating personalised and professional-looking letters for your clients.
  • IRIS VAT Filer — software that allows you to make VAT submissions to HMRC in line with MTD mandates.

This is only a small part of what the IRIS Accountancy Suite has to offer businesses. For a full list of products, visit the IRIS official website and contact its support team for a quote.

IRIS Elements

IRIS Elements is a fully integrated cloud-based accountancy solution designed to help professional accountants migrate their workflow to the cloud. Referred to as a next-generation cloud accountancy platform, IRIS Elements allows bookkeepers to engage and onboard clients, file tax returns, and manage workflow, all in a cloud-based environment.

The IRIS Elements suite integrates the following SaaS elements:

  • IRIS Elements Proposal Manager — a cloud solution that lets you deliver proposals to prospects, available for £8 per proposal.
  • IRIS Elements AML — for keeping your practice compliant with changing anti-money laundering legislation, with the UK and international ID checks and HR screening, available for £2.50 per ID check.
  • IRIS Elements Tax & Accounts — for filing accounts and tax returns to Companies House and HMRC, including Personal, Partnership, Corporation, and Trust and Estates tax returns, available for £10 per month.
  • IRIS Elements Practice Management — an easy-to-use and intuitive CRM system that allows for automated email and text messaging to staff and clients, available for £29 per user per month.

IRIS Payroll Basics

As one of the most comprehensive accountancy suites on the market, IRIS software offers a range of payroll solutions for businesses of all types and sizes. So whether you own a startup or a large enterprise, you will find a payroll solution that suits your needs. Currently, more than 600,000 companies across the UK use IRIS payroll software to pay over 2.5 million employees.

If you own a smaller company with up to 10 employees, you can manage your payroll completely free with IRIS Payroll Basics. The software is fully RTI, Automatic Enrollment-compliant, and HMRC recognised and is used by over 40,000 small businesses. Here are some of its core features:

  • Free for businesses with a maximum of 10 employees
  • RTI compliant and HMRC recognised
  • Automatic calculation of National Insurance, PAYE and other statutory payments
  • GDPR compliant and automatically backs up data after each use
  • Handles automatic enrollment and produces pension reports
  • Free payroll software updates
  • Generates employee forms and prints free payslips for the first 30 days

If your business outgrows the Payroll Basics solution, you can easily upgrade to IRIS Payroll Business.

IRIS Payroll Business

IRIS Payroll Business is another payroll management software offered by IRIS. It is designed for businesses with up to 100 employees with more complex payroll requirements than what Payroll Basics can handle. It comes with the following benefits:

  • Auto-enrollment and RTI-compliant
  • Online filing of forms with HMRC, such as P45s
  • Automatic month-end P32 report updates
  • Production of pension reports and automatic calculation of NI, PAYE, and all statutory payments
  • Option to roll back past days, including payslips
  • Comprehensive reporting functionality
  • Unlimited phone and online support

IRIS offers a range of other payroll solutions for businesses.

That includes IRIS Fully Managed Payroll — the company’s payroll outsourcing solution, and IRIS Payroll Professional — a comprehensive, HMRC-recognised payroll software designed for payroll bureaus and medium-sized companies with more complex requirements. Another popular option is IRIS GP payroll — a specialist payroll software for healthcare organisations.

IRIS Cascade HRi

Thousands of UK businesses use the IRIS HR software to manage and connect with over a million of their employees every day. Here are some of the HR solutions offered by IRIS.

IRIS Cascade HRi suite is a flexible, all-in-one HR suite aimed at mid-sized and large businesses with anything from 250 to 10,000 employees. The software lets you handle core HR tasks, such as onboarding and streamline mundane everyday tasks, such as authorising time off and approving timesheets.

IRIS Cascade HRi integrates several modules, including payroll, recruitment, staff training and development, expense management, absence management, and timesheets.

This HR suite also enables employees to manage their own HR administration, such as view and update their records and request or cancel holidays, with self-service via a dedicated employee dashboard.

The best part is that you can get a solution that is tailored to your specific needs without paying for any services you are not interested in. As with most IRIS products, IRIS doesn’t provide pricing for the Cascade HRi suite online, so you will have to contact its support team to request a quote.

Staffology HR and Payroll

In January 2021, IRIS also announced its acquisition of Staffology, a cloud-based platform that integrates your HR and payroll solutions into one centralised system. Combining these two solutions will help you spend less time doing data entry and other time-consuming tasks and more time building a better engagement with your team.

Here are the core features of both the HR and payroll solutions.

Staffology HR Staffology Payroll
Recruitment, onboarding and training of staff Automation of payroll
Timesheets and rotas Expenses and benefits management
Plans for personal development Auto-enrollment compliant and HMRC recognised
GDPR-compliant Pension management
Holidays, sickness, and overtime Comprehensive API
From £5 per month From 5p per payslip

IRIS AdviserPlus HR Advice

IRIS also offers an HR advice service designed to provide business managers with unlimited support from experienced HR professionals. IRIS Advisor Plus gives you access to hundreds of HR documents and templates, as well as a dedicated advice line and an online service, both of which are available 24/7. The best part is that IRIS will compensate you if are given inaccurate advice and end up suffering a loss.

IRIS Personal Tax

With the Personal Tax software, IRIS offers a comprehensive and MTD-compliant tax planning solution for users who need to file tax returns to HMRC.

Contrary to what its name suggests, the software is not meant for individuals but for tax agents, helping them complete self-assessment tax returns and P11D forms for clients and easily submit them online.

In addition, the IRIS Personal Tax software automatically performs tax calculations based on data you’ve previously entered, saving you the hassle of carrying out manual calculations and removing the need for installing third-party tools.

IRIS Elements SmartTax

Part of the IRIS Elements suite, the SmartTax software serves to deliver real-time tax calculations within IRIS Personal Tax. In this way, it removes the guesswork out of tax planning and helps you spot any potential errors in the data entry early in the process. Moreover, the software is cloud-based, so it automatically reflects the latest HMRC updates, allowing you to stay compliant at all times.

IRIS Business Tax

IRIS Business Tax is another excellent tax software offered by IRIS. What’s unique about IRIS Business Tax is that it lets you complete tax returns easily with almost no data entry, as the software draws out all data from the clients’ accounts. Overall, IRIS Business Tax simplifies the whole tax filing process, from collecting data and making tax calculations to making submissions to HMRC.

IRIS Ed:gen Education Software

IRIS ED:gen is part of the range of IRIS software solutions aimed at educational organisations. It is an all-in-one, cloud-based school MIS (Management Information System) designed for public schools and trusts. The software enables education professionals to have real-time data readily available, making it a powerful decision-making tool.

Ed:gen includes a dedicated module that exists to record, monitor, and manage student concerns and wellbeing. It also streamlines the schools’ management process by allowing education professionals to access all applications, admissions, and departure documents from an easy-to-use online portal.

With real-time sharing, voice-to-text dictation, and automated communication between teachers and departments, IRIS ED:gen is also an excellent collaboration tool for schools. The software is currently used by over 12,000 schools, and in 2021, it won the Teach Secondary award for supporting educational institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

IRIS Customer Support

IRIS Software Group offers multiple customer support options. Not only does the company have a dedicated support page on its official website, but you can reach out to its support team any time via email or phone.

IRIS Pricing

Unlike other popular small business accounting solutions, such as QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, Xero, Sage, and Zoho Books, IRIS doesn’t have a subscription-based pricing model. Instead, to purchase most of its products, you will need to contact the IRIS support team and work out a customised price explicitly tailored to your business needs.

IRIS vs Xero Software

Xero is one of the leading small business accounting software, with more than 3 million subscribers globally. Unlike IRIS, Xero has a subscription-based pricing model, with four plans to choose from, ranging from £12 to £49 a month.

All Xero plans include unlimited users, basic inventory tracking, invoicing, and VAT returns. However, some services, such as payroll, expense tracking, and project tracking, are only available as optional add-ons that you have to pay extra for.

For instance, the payroll add-on costs £5 per month, independently of the size of your business. By comparison, IRIS allows you to run payroll completely free if you own a company with up to 10 employees.

Moreover, the only way to contact Xero’s support team directly is via a support ticket, as, unlike IRIS, Xero doesn’t offer inbound phone support. Check out our detailed IRIS vs Xero software comparison next if you want to know more about how the two accounting platforms stack up.


Wrap Up

The software and services mentioned in this IRIS software review are just a small part of the company’s extensive portfolio of products. IRIS Software group offers services that suit businesses of all shapes and sizes and is constantly expanding its product range. So, be sure to try out its products if you’re in the market for an all-in-one solution for your business accounting needs.


What is IRIS payroll?

IRIS Payroll is a comprehensive payroll software solution that helps businesses of all sizes manage their payroll processes, including the calculation of NI, PAYE, and statutory payments.

What is IRIS software used for?

IRIS software is used for a variety of accountancy and business purposes, including tax return filing, accounts management, practice management, and payroll processing.