Q. How secure is the cloud software?

We take security and privacy extremely seriously. All information is encrypted using the same technology that banks use to protect data and is hosted on servers at Rackspace, the UK’s largest hosting company.

All data is backed up every 15 minutes, and it is then encrypted and transferred off-site. Clients can export all of their IRIS OpenBooks data at any time in Microsoft Excel format.

Q. What web browser do I need?

IRIS OpenBooks can run on any internet browser but its performance is maximised on the following browsers:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer version 7 and above.
  • Mozilla Firefox version 3.5 and above.
  • Apple Safari version 4 and above.
  • Google Chrome version 7 and above.

Q. Can I do VAT returns on the flat rate scheme? Can I submit my VAT returns through the software?

OpenBooks automatically creates new VAT Returns according to your quarterly schedule, and keeps track of all VAT Returns and payments made. Invoice- and Cash-based accounting are both supported, and invoices sent and payments received when changing between these two methods are automatically handled.

You can even submit your VAT returns online to HMRC directly through OpenBooks.

All Flat Rate Schemes are handled.

Q. Can I import my contact details from my existing accounts package?

There are two ways to enter a new contact into OpenBooks. You can either import several contacts at once from your e-mail programme such as Outlook, Google Mail or Mac Mail, import them from Basecamp, or you can enter individual contacts manually one by one. Here’s how to upload a group of contacts from your e-mail programme.

Import Contacts

Start by clicking the Import Contacts button at the top right of the Contacts screen.

This brings up the first step of the Import process.

Click the From a File tab.

Q. Can I do cash accounting for VAT?

The VAT element of the invoice is taken to a separate Deferred VAT code. This will then not appear on the VAT return until the invoice has been paid. Once the invoice has been paid, OpenBooks will automatically post a journal to move the VAT out of the deferred code…and into the VAT Charged code. It will also put this amount on the VAT return in the quarter in which it was paid.

Q. How can I import bank data into the system?

Export a statement from online banking

Firstly, you’ll need to go into your online banking account and export a statement – OpenBooks supports a range of bank statement formats. If you get stuck with exporting the data then you need to speak directly to your bank.

When you’re exporting, make sure that you’ve included the correct dates for your statement. If you’ve already input any transactions into OpenBooks make sure that you start from the day after the last transaction’s date, if you haven’t then you might want to go back as far as your OpenBooks start date. Don’t worry if you inadvertently upload the same transactions twice – OpenBooks will spot any duplicates and ignore them.

Information required in OpenBooks: You need to have your bank account and sort code entered into OpenBooks for the account for which you’re going to upload transactions.

Import a statement into OpenBooks

Select Banking, and then the bank account for which you’re going to upload a statement – select ‘Upload Statement’.

Alternatively, choose ‘Upload a Statement’ from the Quick Links menu on the Overview screen. If you use this option, OpenBooks will ask you to choose which bank account to upload to.

Once you’ve exported your statement from your online banking system and saved it to your computer in the correct format, use the Browse here option to select the file you’ve just saved and ‘Upload Statement’.

Q. Can I do invoicing on an app?

IRIS OpenBooks is complemented by the Mobile Agent App for iPhone, which allows you to work on the move. On the app you can view your outstanding, overdue and draft invoices, and send email reminders from inside the app. If you aren’t connected to a network you can enter items while you’re offline, and then Sync back to OpenBooks next time you’re connected. You can create a new invoice by clicking on the + sign on the invoices page of the app.

Q. Can I do my expenses on an app?

Adding expenses on Mobile Agent is quick and painless. Just paid for lunch? No need to remember to do it when you get back to the office – log the expense into OpenBooks at the table. You can even attach a photo of the expense when you enter it. No more keeping receipts and scanning them “later”.

Q. Can I send my invoices and reminders by e-mail?

Once invoices have been created and posted onto open books, the option will be available to send by email, (on the mobile app this will appear as ‘Email invoice’) selecting this option will automatically email a copy of the selected invoice (as a PDF file) to the email address held in the contact file for that customer.

You can chase up late-paying clients with automated invoice reminders or send automated thank you emails once an invoice has been paid. Within the invoice section you can keep track of the reminders you have sent by selecting: “Show:”and then the option “with active reminder emails”.

Q. Can I produce recurring invoices?

You can create recurring invoices that send automatically. In the work section there is a tab entitled ‘Recurring Invoices’, by opening this up you can create a Recurring Invoice Profile which allows you to define sets of instructions for recurring invoices, which are automatically generated and optionally emailed on predefined dates.

Q. Am I able to back-date invoices?

Unless you’re a new business, some of your customers might still owe you money from before your OpenBooks start date. You might also owe money to your suppliers, for bills you haven’t yet paid.

When you are creating the invoices you will be asked to manually enter the date of the invoice. OpenBooks allows you to enter dates which precede your OpenBooks start date, but it will also highlight this for you, to avoid any clerical error.

Q. Can I have multiple users within my business?

Set up as many other users as you like with no extra cost, and control what they can access within your account.

Q. Does the payroll function report directly to HMRC?

OpenBooks works in real-time, so when you have allocated money using the payroll function this will be automatically relayed to HMRC.

Q. Do I have to be registered for online banking?

You don’t have to be registered for online banking to set up your bank account on OpenBooks. The bank transactions can be entered manually on to the system.

Q. Can I have multiple bank accounts?

Along with the Primary Business Current Account, users are free to add other accounts they use. To create a new bank account, simply select the ‘Add new’ button to start setting up the new account. The type of account to be created can be chosen from the options; Bank account, Credit card or PayPal.

Q. What format does my bank statement need to be in to utilise the banking upload feature?

IRIS OpenBooks uses electronic statement data to help you track money in and out of your business. It accepts electronic statements in one of three formats: OFX (sometimes called MS Money/Quickbooks), QIF and many CSV formats.

Q. I have forgotten my log in details, what should I do?

  1. Go to the web address (URL) you use to log in.
  2. Click the “I’ve forgotten my password” link.
  3. This brings up the Reset Password page.
  4. Type your e-mail in the box and click the “Reset my password” button.
  5. OpenBooks will then e-mail you instructions for how to reset your password.

Q. I submit monthly CIS returns; can I do this using the software?

The IRIS software does not yet have the capability to produce and submit CIS returns. However, your account manager can complete and submit these on your behalf. This should be agreed with your account package.

Q. Is there a ‘Reconcile bank’ function?

By enabling bank feeds or regularly uploading bank transactions, what’s in OpenBooks will match what’s in your bank account – so there is no need for a traditional bank reconciliation.

Q. How do I explain the bank transactions that I have uploaded?

Payment: Use a Payment category to explain any money you’ve spent that isn’t paying off a bill you’ve entered into OpenBooks, or money paid to a user in OpenBooks. You’ll find admin expenses and cost of sales here, as well as payments of taxes such as VAT and PAYE. If a Payment category is not there you can add a new category to the list.

Bill Payment: Use Bill Payment to explain any bills already entered into OpenBooks – choose from a list of your open, unpaid bills. You won’t see the Bill Payment type if you don’t have any open, unpaid bills.

Money Paid to User: Use this option to explain Money paid to an employee, director, sole trader, partner, or anyone else who’s been set up as a user in OpenBooks.

Other Money Out: Use this option to explain Money paid to a supplier who you owed money to as at your OpenBooks start date. This kind of money owed is also called Trade Creditors, so for this you would use category Payment to Initial Creditor.

Invoice Receipt: Use Invoice Receipt to explain money coming in against an invoice that you’ve created in OpenBooks and sent to one of your customers – choose from a list of your open, unpaid invoices.

Money Received from User: Use this option to explain money that an employee, director, sole trader, partner or anyone else who’s been set up as a user in OpenBooks has paid in.

Other Money In: This is where to find the category for bank interest received and is also where to find money received from a customer who owed you money as at your OpenBooks start date. This kind of money owed to you is also called Trade Debtors, so for this you would use category Receipt from Initial Debtor.

Q. How can I pay off multiple invoices with one payment?

The transaction will initially show the full amount that the customer paid you in the ‘Credit Value’ field.

You need to change the amount in the ‘Credit Value’ field to match the amount of the first invoice that this receipt is paying for.

OpenBooks will have guessed an invoice to match this receipt to. If this is not the same as the invoice you had in mind when you changed the amount, click the cross next to the ‘Invoice’ field, and type into this field the same amount as you put into the ‘Credit Value’ field. OpenBooks will guess one or more different invoices. Choose the correct one.

When you have allocated this part of the receipt to the correct invoice, choose ‘Create New Explanation’.

OpenBooks will then create a new transaction for the remainder of the receipt, which you can explain against the rest of the invoice(s) that the customer paid you for.

Q. Where can I find the Tax Timeline? And what will it show me?

The Tax Timeline is shown in the bottom right of the overview page, next to the Profit and Loss summary. The tax timeline shows live updates of your tax position and displays company deadlines, this can aid forward planning.

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