Between a rock and a hard place

I have spent my career interfacing between the IT companies/departments and the accountant end users solving many varied problems. My current issue is made even worse as it is between two of the best in the business.

IRIS Logo        V                 Symantec

Since September 2011 we have had issues using IRIS Accounts Production software, initially with the new iXBRL module and now with their shiny new IRIS Portal menu system.

IRIS has won many awards this year for their iXBRL software but we have only been able to use it by numerous workarounds interrupting the usual workflow of the business.

IRISBSODAt the beginning of September last year all twelve of our identical Vista 32 Dell OptiPlex workstations crashed (Blue Screen of Death) when we tried to produce any iXBRL report. In their usual cavalier manner IRIS support blamed Dell and the video drivers/cards. So we added new cards to each machine but found the issue continued.


At the end of September the issue disappeared, machines started working we could file our first returns and go back to issuing invoices on completion we have no idea why.

Bonfire night came and the issue returned with no visible changes to the machines other than the usual Microsoft and AV updates.

Anti virus and firewalls were now blamed and with some reluctance I ran the software on our Small Business server, it worked but the workstations all continued to crash BSOD.

We then installed the then latest version 10.7 on machine 13, an HP machine with more memory than the Dell’s and a copy of the database. We removed Symantec Endpoint and the machine worked. This allowed us to file the returns during the practice’s busiest time but only as a single user system. Running a machine without Anti Virus was something we only did with reluctance.

Once the busy period was over we tried the machine as a network one but again the workstations crashed.

Finally in February we formally complained to the CEO of IRIS – Phill Robinson. This resulted in a more senior support person being assigned.

clip_image001After some investigation it was found that a part of the iXBRL process was using a screen dialog from the Accounts Production area and was removing a tick from a box and causing a BSOD.

The little tick in the Screen box was being removed, this was shown in an ini file.

The engineer seemed to think this was caused by Symantec Endpoint in some way so the tag editor was excluded from all scans Endpoint might make. Moving back to the full server version we also made sure before all iXBRL reports were produced that the Annual Report Output screen had at least one tick in its output section and all was well until …..

We upgraded to 10.9 for iXBRL 2nd generation


The new IRIS Portal caused our machine’s to blue screen again. This resulted in the IRIS engineers excluding a further four files from being scanned by Symantec Endpoint.

This worked fine on most machine’s but I had left a few not edited whilst Symantec did some investigations from the West Coast of America. In the normal course of events Symantec Endpoint issued an upgrade and when I tried to enter the exclusions in the new client software I found that it was ever so slightly different from previously. Enough that the new exclusions didn’t work.

Symantec had "corrected" several errors in their exclusion module!!

So IRIS say its Symantec, though I have crashed a machine with the client software stopped and Symantec say its poor programming or not using the white list facilities they offer.

I put this rant together to try and see if anyone out there is suffering like we are?

Vista 32 OS, Iris 10.9 and Symantec Endpoint 12

We still want to use the two market leaders, the software packages when they work together do the job exceptionally well. The amount of man hours invested by our end users cannot be underestimated something we need to bear in mind when considering changing.

The UK Voice

Readers might know I spent some time developing a blog for a UK firm of Chartered Accountants, Kevin Beare & Co, I have nothing to do with the excellent content, just the creation of the blog in WordPress based on their PracticeWeb main website.

kbmain kbblog

However, Paul Beare, the editor of the blog following his excellent content has been awarded for his efforts and now blogs for for the US AccountingWeb website under the name “The UK Voice”


Paul adores tea – however he is not your "typical Brit". He despises bad customer service, does not come from either Oxford, or Cambridge – has good teeth, and speaks eloquently.  He represents a UK accounting firm that concentrates on helping US companies enter the UK and succeed! Paul provides general UK tax, accounting and cultural insights in a light-hearted and practical way. He is, The UK Voice.

If you need help with this type of development including content then please use the contact page.

As a member of the Institute’s member communications working group I would welcome your views on the revamped website


I believe it looks crisper and fresher, but can you use it better than before?

The problem used to be that there was so much information on there that you couldn’t see the wood for the trees.

Another criticism was about needing to know your ICAEW membership number and password for some pages and not others, has this changed for what you need?

12 golden rules for personal reputation management on the web

I found this on the ICAEW ITCounts community, thought it would be useful to share it.

Viideo been relocated

The 12 Rules from ION ICAEW on Vimeo.

After you?ve watched it here are some links to a few blogs you may find interesting:

Lastly, if it?s your company?s online reputation you?re thinking about do please take a look at the author, Antony Mayfield’s company iCrossing‘s website. They have also published a free eBook called What is Social Media? which you may find useful.