IRIS Group snaps up Bristol software company


Following on from its acquisition of online school management system iSAMS, last October, Slough-headquartered IRIS Software Group, one of the UK’s largest privately held software companies, has acquired Bristol-based Senta, the cloud-based practice management software for accountants and bookkeepers.

Specialist corporate finance advisory firm Shaw & Co advised on the sale.

Senta was founded in 2014, and following the sale, its software will be integrated into IRIS Elements, the dynamic SaaS platform designed by customers that allows them to move to the cloud at their own pace.

The move comes as accountancy professionals prepare their small business clients for the forthcoming Making Tax Digital (MTD) reporting in April 2023. As a leading provider of accountancy solutions, IRIS’ expertise in powerful product integration ensures firms are gaining efficiencies in managing their practices.

Businesses across the globe are using cloud applications to simplify mission critical business tasks, as they are now vital to driving growth, innovation, and cost savings. IRIS firmly believes the ability to deeply integrate and manage cloud applications, such as practice management, can make a substantial difference as organisations – a move which is now even more critical as the UK grapples with its third lockdown.

Kevin Dady, Executive Chairman of IRIS Software Group says, “IRIS Elements was conceived as customers told us they needed to simply and instantly access the relevant business tools to transform their firms. Senta joining the IRIS family allows us to revolutionise the cloud practice management market, delivering the functionality they require today, regardless of location.”

“IRIS’ heritage, combined with our 120,000 customers, investment in cloud technology, sector expertise and direct customer engagement enables us to deliver truly best in class software for the accountancy industry.”

James Kilford, CEO and founder of Senta, said: “We know practices are building advisory relationships with their clients and of course there’s even more compliance…this year has shown the need for great tools at the heart of the practice.

“We’ve spent six years listening to practices, building features and working hard to look after our clients.  With the incredible IRIS resources and working with an amazing IRIS team we’ll be able to take our solution to the next level.  We couldn’t be more excited about IRIS investing in Senta and joining the IRIS family.”

Leading the deal, Jim Shaw, Founder and Partner at Shaw & Co, said: “It’s a delight to help James and Phil with the transition of Senta into the IRIS family. It is clear that Senta will thrive within IRIS Elements. Through a focused process, IRIS proved themselves in many ways to be the best acquiror for all stakeholders. We are extremely pleased to see Senta join with IRIS to support its next stage of evolution.”

Bruce Roxburgh and Charles van der Lande from Bristol-based Roxburgh Milkins Limited provided legal advice to Senta on the sale.

Charles said: “We were involved at the beginning of the Webstart Bristol incubator, and began working with Senta after they joined the second Webstart cohort in 2014. Over that time, we’ve supported them with several funding rounds from Seedrs so it’s great to see the evolution of the product and the company over that time, with the technology moving to a business who can take it to the next stage.”

An outcome of deal will see record returns for those who invested in Senta through Seedr, the leading private company investment platform. Since its launch, Senta raised three rounds of finance via Seedrs raising a total of £678k from 402 investors.