Ad Valorem is deploying various solutions from IRIS Software to digitally transform its organisation. It aims to increase its processes’ efficiency and improve customer communication. The solutions are part of the IRIS cloud portfolio, and the company will deploy them to its 70 staff based across two offices.
The second office was added after the acquisition of LIRIC Accountants, based in Royston, Herts, in November 2022. Therefore, the move to the cloud became urgent as the company would have wanted a single solution across both offices. LIRIC were already users of at least one IRIS solution.
With ambitions for growth, Ad Valorem needed to replace legacy solutions with cloud-based ones that would enable the rapid onboarding of acquisitions. The selection of the IRIS solutions was made after a competitive selection process.
Toby Perkins, Transformation & Analytics Director at Ad Valorem, comments, “It is now more important than ever to develop long-term partnerships to support firm growth. The team at IRIS deeply understands our technology requirements and shares our passion to provide innovative solutions to help clients in all aspects of business.
“Not only does IRIS allow us to produce all our work in a single production system but the ease of use will substantially boost our productivity and increase the effectiveness of our client communications. Working with the industry-leading software provider aligns with our vision of modernising and humanising SME accountancy.”
Enterprise Times asked IRIS about the project, which has already started. What solutions are Ad Valorem implementing?
Jonathan Priestley, Senior Director (Accountancy) at IRIS Software Group, replied saying, “They are using a wide range of components on the IRIS Elements platform including Tax, Accounts Production, Practice Management, Client Portal and Document Management.”
The two companies will work closely together both during and after the implementation project completes. IRIS will provide a dedicated account manager to help Ad Valorem develop new services leveraging the IRIS software solutions. This will ensure that they can take advantage of the efficiencies provided by automation rather than rely on manual processes or spreadsheets, enabling new services to scale and minimize administration.
According to the press release, Ad Valorem will also provide input into the development strategy of IRIS Elements. Enterprise Times asked Priestley how that would happen.
“Ad Valorem have a direct link with the IRIS Elements product team, giving them the chance to share feedback on existing functionality and features and insight into what they want developing. We regularly align on requirements; at the moment, this happens every week, but once we learn more about their longer-term plans, this will change to a monthly or quarterly process.”
At first glance, this process does not seem scalable. However, it means that during the implementation process, if there are services or processes that Ad Valorem needs, then IRIS can help configure or develop the extra functionality into the base product. This will help Ad Valorem but also the wider customer base. With interactions becoming less frequent as time passes, the Account manager will be the main conduit for such ideas. However, it is surprising that IRIS does not seem to have an advisory council where customers can share views on potential improvements.
Enterprise Times also asked Priestley how Ad Valorem is phasing the project. He replied, “Project is underway now with phase 1 due to be complete in May 2023 and then phase 2 and subsequent phases will depend on how Ad Valorem decides to bring its services into the new environment.”
Both companies seem keen to emphasize that the new relationship is a partnership that benefits both organisations. Elona Mortimer-Zhika, CEO of IRIS Software Group, says, “Our technology will enable Ad Valorem to unlock the power they offer beyond compliance, helping them stand out from the crowd and focus on aspects software can’t handle – essential business advice for clients. We are excited at the prospect of helping transform the way Ad Valorem operates, freeing time to focus on client development and firm growth.”
For IRIS, they gain an enthusiastic customer that seems willing to invest time into considering what changes they need to bring to their software to further enhance it.
Toby Perkins added, “Ad Valorem is delighted with the overall solution, responsiveness and IRIS’ visionary thinking. Numerous senior members of the team were involved throughout the process and really took time to understand our requirements and the importance we place on working with a partner who shares our vision for the future.
“In fact, we were really blown away by IRIS’ overall approach, its cloud vision and plans to deliver it. We are delighted with our choice to partner with them, and they with us. We believe this partnership will help us compete in the talent space, integrate acquisitions faster, and it demonstrates our strategic commitment to invest in our systems, data and analytics, all to enhance our client experience.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
Ad Valorem has ambitions for growth. In 2022 it acquired not only LIRIC accountants to increase its geographical spread, but it also bought rival Milton Keynes firm ECL Howard Watson Smith in March. With the deployment of IRIS cloud solutions, any further acquisitions will become much easier to bring onto the group’s systems.
For IRIS, the selection of its software by one of the leading firms in the region is a recognition of the value of its solutions. Ad Valorem won Xero’s Mid-Size Firm of The Year in 2020. It was nominated as a finalist for the Large category in 2022 showing that it has a clear grasp of technology and further endorsement of IRIS Software.
The key will be seeing whether IRIS can publish a case study about Ad Valorem, once the implementation is complete. If they benchmarked processes and KPIS before the implementation started, showing Ad Valorem’s improvements would be powerful.