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J.H. Greenwood helps clients envisage the future with IRIS Insight forecasting

J.H. Greenwood helps clients envisage the future with IRIS Insight forecasting


From its offices in historic Berwick- upon-Tweed just three miles from the Scottish border, J.H. Greenwood & Company serves clients in both England and Scotland. The firm’s own history stretches back nearly forty years, and it

builds on this heritage with an expanding range of business advisory services to meet clients’ changing needs. Principals are also keen to apply technology strategically to improve internal efficiency and build close relationships with clients across the region.



To find new forecasting software to support the firm’s delivery of business advisory services.



IRIS Accountancy Suite KashFlow

IRIS Docs IRIS Insight

Seeking the benefits of a fully integrated

accountancy system, J.H. Greenwood migrated from Sage software to the IRIS Accountancy Suite in 2012.

Since then, the firm has implemented IRIS solutions for compliance, practice management, bookkeeping and document management, but continued using the Sage Winforecast standalone forecasting tool until support for the software was withdrawn.

Principal Gillian O’Dea notes, “Spreadsheets only get you so far: you can’t ask ‘what if’ questions or stress-test your hypothesis. Get one

link wrong and the whole thing crashes. So, when a couple of years ago our previous forecasting product was no longer supported, we just had to find

a viable alternative. We also took the opportunity to explore the market and find a more advanced product, one that could offer the ease and convenience of being cloud-based, with complete flexibility on when and where forecasts can be accessed via the internet.”


Data entered into clients’ KashFlow online bookkeeping software forms the basis

of forecasts produced on IRIS Insight


Together, accountant and client can model different possible futures for the business


IRIS Insight produces forecasts with speed and accuracy, enabling a rapid response to clients’ urgent requests for advice

Available anywhere

IRIS Insight offers the convenience of a cloud-based solution, which can be accessed from any location

Excellent support

J.H. Greenwood made a fast, effective start on its new software with help from IRIS


Asking searching questions

J.H. Greenwood makes a point of attending the annual IRIS World conference to keep up to date with product developments and see how other practices are using IRIS. Gillian says, “While at IRIS World, we mentioned our requirement for a forecasting solution that would link to our IRIS accounting software. As luck would have it, IRIS came back to us shortly afterwards to introduce a brand new member of the IRIS family: IRIS Insight!”

Getting started with IRIS Insight went smoothly: “It’s quite straightforward to use, but our first client presented a

particularly complex scenario, with eight branches to their business. We received every help to set them up on our new forecasting software.”

J.H. Greenwood has a diverse client base, ranging from sole traders to large companies. Many are owner-managed. Gillian comments, “I don’t think we’re unusual in finding that clients tend

to overestimate their income and underestimate their outgoings! With the help of IRIS Insight, we can challenge them, asking questions such as, “Why are you spending £30K on computers?”; “Why is your spending on repairs twice as much as you estimated?”; and “You said you were going to do this, but you’ve done that - why?”.


Planning for success

Gillian goes on to observe, “The whole purpose is, of course, to keep the client out of trouble. In the worst case, where a negative situation becomes

entrenched, we can show the client that their business model isn’t working. If the numbers don’t add up and the top line doesn’t cover their expenses, there’s no point avoiding the issue.”

IRIS Insight  helps  to turn the data into a meaningful message: “When we present the figures from IRIS Insight to them, it can sometimes be a chastening experience. They see how the business is performing in black and white - or rather in colour, as IRIS Insight uses traffic light colour-coding to make the risks and opportunities visible at a glance.”

Happily, it’s not all about aiding clients who are heading into choppy waters.

J.H. Greenwood helps clients to fulfil their growth ambitions: “We can check whether the client’s plans for expansion are grounded in reality, and if IRIS Insight confirms that they are, we can encourage them to plan for success, with sufficient resources. For example, we might suggest that they will need to take on more staff to handle rising order volumes.”

Sourcing funding from the banks One of the IRIS solutions that J.H. Greenwood already had in place was KashFlow online bookkeeping software.

As clients enter their business data into KashFlow, this flows into the firm’s systems, and provides the basis for forecasting, making IRIS Insight a natural extension to KashFlow.

Gillian says,

“KashFlow shows where the business stands today, while IRIS Insight models what will happen in the future. Real-time data is key and drawing on the data coming in via KashFlow, we can produce a forecast with impressive speed. Say we’re doing six-month accounts for a client, we can show budgets to actuals for the rest of the year on IRIS Insight at the same time.”

Fast forecasting means that J.H. Greenwood can quickly come to the client’s rescue: “Should a client call me in a panic this afternoon about their overdraft and ask for help, I can turn around a detailed forecast for them by close of play. The categories are all set up: you basically enter the figures and you’re ready to go.”

Accurate, well founded forecasting is also essential to obtaining funding from banks and other sources. Gillian says, “Banks love forecasts! Nowadays, it’s not enough to provide a retrospective set of annual accounts. The bank wants to know how a business is performing today and how it’s likely to perform in the future. With IRIS Insight, it’s easy to provide a variety of forecasts.”

Adding value as a business partner Gillian says,

“Through IRIS tools such as KashFlow and IRIS Insight, we’re able to add value to the client’s business, rather than just being number-crunchers. This positions us as their true partner, helping them to gain and maintain control of their business.”

Since the initial implementation, the firm has expanded its use of IRIS Insight by purchasing more user licences. Gillian concludes, “At J.H. Greenwood, we love helping to companies to grow, and that involves making clients aware of any pitfalls that could trap the unwary, while helping them to identify opportunities, too. Using KashFlow for bookkeeping and IRIS Insight for forecasting supports us in achieving this. It’s good to see IRIS continuing to come up with the goods in meeting our evolving requirements.”

IRIS Insight software helps Prime Entry clients to see the future of their business

IRIS Insight software helps Prime Entry clients to see the future of their business


Kevin Whitehouse established Prime Entry in the late 1980s. From his office in Gillingham, North Dorset, and a satellite office in Bournemouth, he works with business owners whose annual sales range from £50,000 to

£4 million. Reflecting his commitment to innovation, Kevin was a finalist in the 2016 Practice Excellence Awards - Technology Champion of the Year category.



To help clients unlock the insight hidden in their financial data and to model scenarios for the future of their business.



IRIS Accountancy Suite KashFlow

KashFlow Payroll IRIS Insight


An IRIS user for twenty years, Kevin has always been keen to adopt technology wherever it will improve client service and increase efficiency by

eliminating time-consuming manual processes.

Latterly, he has started offering KashFlow to his clients. This powerful cloud-based accounting software feeds data from the client’s business into the practice’s IRIS Accounts Production software. Kevin comments, “KashFlow gives busy owner-managers a better grip on the finance side of their business, with complete visibility of their performance and where things might be coming adrift.”

Now Kevin has gone a step further by offering IRIS Insight cloud-based forecasting software. He explains,

“Whereas KashFlow shows you the past and what you’ve done, IRIS Insight shows you the future and where you’re going. It lets us compare budget with actuals and model a range of possible futures regarding sales, costs and profit.”



Explore the impact of business opportunities and threats with your clients

Available anywhere As a cloud solution, IRIS Insight can be accessed remotely by accountants and clients

Connect with your clients Build a closer partnership as your client’s trusted business adviser


Business data flows seamlessly from KashFlow online accounting software into IRIS Insight


Create an automatic forecast in minutes using actuals from KashFlow

Business Advisory Easily provide the plans, reports and advice your clients value

Kevin first encountered IRIS Insight at the IRIS World annual conference and was struck by its potential to save time, effort and cost: “Traditionally, accounts are done on one piece of software and budgeting on another, which is an expensive, time-consuming process. In contrast, IRIS Insight automatically brings in the figures from KashFlow.

If the client has been keeping their numbers up to date on KashFlow, the data flowing into IRIS Insight will also be current and accurate. It’s all

co-ordinated and seamless.”

He continues, “Clients get  excited about using IRIS Insight to ask ‘what-if’ questions, such as ‘What would happen if we put our prices up by 10%?’ or ‘How much would cutting our costs by 5% help our cash flow?’ While I prompt them with the questions to explore, it encourages them to think about the future and take ownership of their destiny.”

Clients can see the future direction of their business unfold before their eyes: “There are lots of useful reports and instant KPIs. Information is displayed graphically, with green highlighting the positives and red highlighting areas of concern.”


IRIS Insight in action

Kevin goes on to give a real-world example of a client who was reviewing the products they sell and, after prompting by Kevin, looked at increasing their pricing.

He says, “Using IRIS Insight, the director soon found that by raising the price on just one product by 5%, they can generate an extra £24,000 of profit. They tell me, ‘This IRIS Insight is amazing!’ and they are now experimenting with it to cost out Christmas bundles.”

On a more mundane but equally important level, IRIS Insight helps to ensure there are no nasty surprises down the line, by modelling commitments such as VAT and Corporation Tax.

IRIS Insight can also be used to create a professional ‘bank-ready’ business plan. Kevin observes, “This is a useful exercise whether or not the client is actively seeking funding, as it clarifies their ambitions for the business. A neat feature of IRIS Insight is that it lets you work together on a shared document.”

An integral role in clients’ success Over time, Kevin has streamlined his client base and now supports a select number of enterprising business owners. He works closely with clients to become their expert adviser, someone who understands their business and whom they trust implicitly at a personal level. By enabling exceptional insight and analysis and supporting effective collaboration, solutions such as KashFlow and IRIS Insight are helping Kevin to make a success of his chosen business model.

Reassuringly, despite the high levels of automation in KashFlow and IRIS Insight, there is still ample scope for the accountant to add value, as Kevin emphasises: “No accountant need worry about putting themselves out of a job by offering IRIS Insight or KashFlow. These tools give you an opportunity to offer greater value to your client, by helping them succeed. I still go into the software to read,

interpret and interrogate the data and have the ability to override the figures. I’ll usually do this by sharing my screen with the client over Skype, being ready to query anything that doesn’t make sense. What tools like IRIS Insight do is put the power into the accountant’s hands to transform the client’s business.”

Kevin sums up, “It’s all about giving clients the systems to do the donkey- work, so that we can spend the limited time available to spot any anomalies that deserve further investigation and to model different scenarios. It moves Prime Entry even further away from number-crunching and ever higher up the value chain.”