IRIS Practice Engine July 2021 User Group Meeting: Q&A & Poll Results

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By Mari Sharpe | 07/23/2021 | 8 min read

At the IRIS Practice Engine July 2021 User Group Meeting, we updated you on the latest plans and gathered opinions on features that you would like to see. We covered:

  • Ongoing developments of V9.8 
  • Our Roadmap 
  • Data Insights 
  • Our new Help Center 
  • The exciting changes coming to Scheduling 

A wide range of questions were asked during the session. Below are all the questions and our answers to digest at your leisure:


What is the 3rd party product used for the Query Builder?

It is a product called Easy Query by Korhz.

Is the query tool throttled at all?

Not at the moment. This is something that we can look at if it causes a problem.

Can you use Data Insights for Job searches?

You can use the Query Builder to create a list of jobs, but you will not be able to carry out any actions from that list.

What is the timing of each of the Data Insights phases?

The first phase of Data Insights, the Query Builder, will be available for early adopters from August. The other phases will be rolled out in regular builds over the following 6 – 9 months.

Does Data Insights come as standard with V9.9?

Yes, it does.

Will the Data Insights link to Power BI reports be ones that we have created, or the ones IRIS Practice engine have created?

The Data Insights dashboard will have a couple of dashlets available that can be set up to point to a Power BI report. It doesn’t matter who has created the report.

Can you copy a Company Query to the My Queries list?

This is not a feature that has been planned, but we will bear this in mind for a future iteration of the Query Builder.

Can you add your own data models to Query Builder?

Not currently. This is functionality that we will be looking to include in a future iteration of Query Builder.


When will scheduling updates be?

If you would like to request your scheduling site to be upgraded, please contact IRIS Practice Engine and we will coordinate a time for the upgrade. With the reporting enhancements and nature of the items in the upgrade, we will need the site for an entire day.

Is there any plan to have PE workflows assigned to jobs (that have prep budgets) to push to the scheduling application?

No, there are no future plans for this at the moment.

Will there be any more integration between Scheduler and PE?

Yes, Product Management will review the current sync functionality and requests from clients on enhancements to the sync functionality to determine what more integration can be achieved.

Can the total scheduled and future scheduled time be displayed in the jobs grid such that you can easily get a budget- schedule- actual comparison?

We will add this to the list of feature requests on Zendesk. Please go and vote, then follow it to receive feedback when it has been added.

Does the Scheduling App work with On Prem PE?

No, the scheduling app only works with hosted PE sites.


How do we get more training and how-to guides?

Please contact Dee Hambly – to register your interest for additional training.

For How To’s, together with any comments on the Help Centre, please contact Tracy Mack –

Does the Help Center have suggested links based on other people’s usage?

This is something that we will be discussing with our customers to identify the best recommended routes and hyperlinks to add.


Will the robust APIs remain available while the Public API is developed?

Absolutely. The existing API is what we use so it will always remain.

Will the integrations that are being built now by clients break for a period of time while the public API is built?

No, they will continue to use the existing APIs.

Is there a target date for the Public API?

Not currently. It’s part of the future section of the roadmap and is still in the very early process of defining. There are a lot of different people within the whole IRIS group that need to be involved and get agreement from before anything can start.


On Cumulus/ Hosted are we automatically updated or is it still an upgrade?

We don’t automatically upgrade or apply new builds to any client. This is because each installation is slightly different.

We’re on a cloud based 9.6, when can we expect to be upgraded to 9.8?

Please contact Dee Hambly – to discuss getting an upgrade arranged.

Is there a cost associated with upgrading?

The actual upgrade is included in the license charges, however any consulting and training time is quoted and charged for. This applies to both On Prem and Hosted implementations.

Will our existing reports still work when we upgrade?

All standard reports will continue to work after an upgrade. Any custom reports will need to be checked during the testing part of the upgrade.


Why can we not add Job Roles during client take on?

Job Roles can be added to the Job Template. During take on, a Job Template can be selected, and the created job will inherit the job roles from the template.

Can a workflow status marked as complete be unmarked if it was a mistake?

Yes, it can, if you have the right security settings.

Is there any improvement to the security pages in 9.8?

No. Improvements to permissions are planned for a later version.

Is the ability to set labels only applicable to Partner, Manager, In Charge and Department? Can we change Job to read Engagement?

Yes, this ability is only applicable to the four stated labels. If you would like to request other labels, please add it to the Feature Request area of Zendesk for future consideration.

On the notes and sync, does that mean notes roll forward? If so, can you choose which note types do and don’t roll?

Each note can be set to roll or not roll. It is not set by Note Type.

Being able to do group recurring invoices is getting more and more necessary. What are the plans for this functionality?

At present we do not have any plans for this, but as it is already a feature request, we will keep it under consideration.

For 9.8 and 9.9 can you provide very high-level timelines?

9.8 is already available. The first release of 9.9 will be available to early adopters from August onwards, with functionality being included is regular builds once 9.9 is out.

Are you planning an in-person event next year?

We would like to hold an in-person event next year.

For Data Warehouse users, what is the best way to get help with data related questions and issues?

You should contact the support team in the first instance and they will escalate the call as necessary.

We need to have 2 years’ worth of jobs available. Can the job be rolled before it has been completed?

Yes, jobs can be rolled at any time.

Can we have the ability to customize what we want to audit – like a pick list?

As the auditing changes are part of the future development plans nothing is set in stone yet so that might well be possible.

What is happening on Compliance/ Assurance if anything?

We will be looking to integrate with the Elements AML when available.

What is the main difference between IRIS Practice Engine and Senta by IRIS?

Senta is aimed at the smaller accounting firms and acts as a straight out-of-the-box type of software. It does not include any Time or Billing functions.

Find out more information regarding our practice management solutions.

What products are likely to be part of standard integrations?

We are currently reviewing the integrations that we have already done and identifying the ones to make standard. The ones that have been identified include Intaact, Concur, Hubspot, and iChannel.


In addition to a Q&A section in our July 2021 User Group sessions, we also asked a variety of questions via polls to the participants (both US & UK). These poll questions enabled us to gather information regarding feature set requirements and also to help us prioritize future development. A summary of the key poll questions, based on the combined responses, is outlined below:


We asked a number of questions around our current scheduling application.

The consensus from the client base was that a Weekly View would be a higher priority than a Team View to allow for the scheduling of the smaller jobs. (40% Team, 60% Weekly)

It was also important to have both the budget information and status of the job displayed within Scheduling. (Budget information - 62% Very important, 36% would be useful, 2% not important. Job Status - 70% yes, 30 % No)

There was an even split between the client base as to whether there was a need to allow for scheduling at the Task or Milestone level. (50% job, 50% tasks)

There was also an even split regarding the need to have a collaboration tool included within the application. (50% yes, 50% no)

When asked whether there was a need for a mobile application, the consensus was that it was not required. (41% yes, 59% no)

Additionally, there was a lot of feedback around critical features. Drag and Drop functionality, versatility in the views available and Outlook integration featured prominently.

Client Off-boarding

We asked what the client base felt should be the valid triggers for a client off-boarding process. The consensus came back as having the client being marked as Lost as the key trigger, but there was also a large percentage of the responses that indicated that having a trigger when the client is marked as Suspended would also be useful.  (63% lost, 27% suspended, 10% other)


Our questions around whether we should audit all changes within IRIS Practice Engine or just specific changes indicated a majority of the responses would prefer specific changes to the master data on Clients, Contacts, Jobs and Staff. (39% everything, 61% specific items)

Other Feature Requests

We included a number of other feature requests in our polls resulting in the client base indicating that the ability to copy a disbursement batch, the expansion of email placeholders and a questionnaires portfolio would all be useful. (92% yes, 8% no)