Iris ‘marriage’ benefits are long way off

Accountants will have to wait until the ‘medium-term’ before reaping any benefits from Iris Software’s recent acquisition of Exchequer, according to figureheads for both companies.

Iris, well known for its practice software, purchased business software provider Exchequer for an undisclosed sum this month.

While both parties have promised to pool their talents to produce stronger products, customers have been told they should not expect fundamental changes in the short-term.

Martin Leuw, group chief executive of Iris, said that changes would not happen ‘overnight’, but integration between the software packages would make accountants and their clients’ accounting tasks easier.

‘We’re looking to automate accountants’ and clients’ key tasks, which will produce time savings, and therefore cost savings.

‘Exchequer has business software modules for verticals ð such as for the construction industry. We’re keen on working with this to add more value to accountants in practice that work in particular market sectors.’

Exchequer MD Eduardo Loigorri said that both companies would achieve ‘economies of scale’ in the mid-term, but customers ‘won’t see changes at the start’.

‘We’re not looking to stop any products or make fundamental changes,’ said Loigorri.

He said the next generation of business software products would bring together corporate and statutory accounting systems. ‘We’ll have transaction files that can be drilled down through,’ he said.

Exchequer’s acquisition follows a period of growth for Iris. Leuw led a £102m MBO of Iris with funding from private equity firm HgCapital in July 2004. Rebranding of the newly-expanded group will take place during the summer, across three divisions: Iris Practice, Iris SME and Iris Enterprise.

The Exchequer product name will exist within the enterprise software division. Loigorri insisted that working within a division was not a problem. ‘It’s a marriage, not a takeover with a submissive partner.

‘When we considered the takeover approach, we wanted to continue with Exchequer.’

Loigorri added that he and co-founder Rob Steele were still ‘young enough to be bored stiff’ if they had sold up and retired.

Leuw said there were no personality issues to deal with between the two management teams. ‘I’m chief executive, but we’re here to grow and build these companies ð- we work tremendously well together.’

The combined business will generate revenues of about £30m, servicing 9,000 accountancy practices as well as 40,000 businesses with accounting, payroll and HR software.

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