My Experience With Crunch Accounting So Far

The single weakest area of my business prior to joining Crunch Accounting was unquestionably my ability to handle taxes.

If I could show you my hairline before and after tax crept in to my life, you’d appreciate just how integral it’s role has become as the chief tormentor of my business.

There are Republicans in the world who dread tax less than I, and that is saying something. That is really really saying something.

Anyway, political bumberclarting aside, what are the factors that convinced me to invest in an online accounting service?

Lost sleep, notepads full of calculations and four muddled bank accounts – these were just some of the symptoms that finally drove me in to the loving arms of Crunch Accounting. I considered us somewhat of a forced marriage, but one worth consummating for the good of my sanity.

I’ve had the best part of a year to weigh up the benefits of using their service, so here are my two cents for anybody else who is interested.

Note: This is only going to be relevant if you run a business in the UK. Crunch has yet to expand in to Europe or across the pond. Understandable, right? Who would want to vacate the lovely sunny landscapes of East Sussex during a fantastic English summer? Besides fucking everybody, of course…

Crunch is an online accounting service that handles all your paperwork and tax filing. It has a very sleek interface, allowing you to add expenses and invoices on the move. You can get a running total of what you’re due to be raped for in corporate tax, what you can afford to pay yourself in dividends, and all the cretins that currently owe you money.

For a monthly subscription of £70, you can avoid hiring an accountant (who would probably run the risk of contracting Herpes if forced to do the books in your cheesy wotsit contaminated basement/office).

Instead of having that personal accountant, Crunch supplies you with a qualified account manager who you can call, email or badger over Skype.

You may have to book in an appointment first, but hey, it’s probably more reliable than calling a part-time accountant. You know you’re not going to end up redirected to voicemail while the bastard enjoys his impromptu two week vacation in the Bahamas. Oh that vacation, the one he didn’t tell you about.

It took me several days to transition my accounts to Crunch’s system. If you’re firing your accountant during the middle of the year (always better to be an arsehole before Christmas), expect to spend a good few days loading invoices and expenses in to the system.

Crunch glosses over the process and makes the system as user-friendly as can be, but let’s face it, this shit is never going to be Friday night entertainment. Adding expenses is a pleasantly brainless experience, and that’s exactly how I like my accounting to be.

You can reconcile accounts automatically by feeding a spreadsheet of your bank statement and letting Crunch go fishing for correct matches. This thought would usually fill me with dread. The last thing I want is for some crazed machine to start reconciling thousands of payments with 85% accuracy, but it seems to be effective.

I personally have to reconcile statements manually because my bank (If you can honestly call yourself a bank, Santander) is a cock.

All in all, Crunch has gone to painstaking measures to ensure the online software is user-friendly, intuitive and easy for a tax-hater like me to get to grips with.

So what would I like to see improved?

The single biggest beef I have with Crunch is their non-support for foreign currency invoicing. It’s possible (and convenient) to invoice companies in Sterling from within the control panel, but the system will have a bitch fit if you dare to bill companies in anything other than GBP.

That’s bloody inconvenient for me, given how a large number of my invoices are actually in USD or Euros. However, you can work around the kinks by entering a quick invoice in GBP after the hard copy has been processed by your bank. It’s not a perfect solution but it will do for now. I hope you’re listening, Crunch!

A year in to our relationship together, and I would have to say, the marriage is still going strong.

Crunch has saved me a lot of time, not to mention the sleepless nights, by simply providing a qualified barrier between myself and the dreaded tax man.

They deal with my paperwork. I deal with the playfully coloured forms and buttons. This is how business should be.

You… smart. Me… colourful buttons.

I think we’re gonna do just fine together.

Click here if you want to try Crunch Accounting for yourself.

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About the author

Finch
Finch

A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.

6 Comments

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  • One thing you don’t mention is the dreaded VAT, do they handle that as well. You know within 3 yrs of registering you are likely to get an inspection…

  • Phil – yes they handle VAT returns.

    Finch – thanks for recommending them. I joined them in April this year and havent looked back.

    And like you – only gripe is that they dont do foreign currency!

  • Hi Finch

    Not sure I agree with you regarding accountants. Having someone on board who knows what they’re talking about and can offer you a personalised service is really important I feel.

    I have had bad luck in the past when dealing with accounting companies as they don’t really care about small clients, but dealing with one man bands has worked a lot better I find. They give you a personalised service, just be sure to discuss/agree with them regarding invoices to get some visibility regarding how much invoices will be, and ask for estimates so you don’t get nasty surprises.

    I use the Sage online service (£10 a month) for accounts and then my accountant does the quarterly VAT returns from that, annual returns…etc. Pretty easy now we’ve got a system in place, rather than what I used to do of sending over all my bank statements. He lives locally, but most communication is done by email and he works at his office.

    All in I probably pay £1,500 a year on accounting costs, and know that someone who knows what they’re doing is helping look after my business and helping to minimise taxes. And if HMRC have queries, they generally go to him first, as he can answer questions a lot better than I. If it’s a small query, he probably won’t even charge me for that.

    I personally feel getting your accounting/taxes right is something where you need a really personalised service since things are constantly changing. And along with making things as easy as possible for the accountant (which ends up in smaller invoices) by using something like Sage. Probably takes me one hour a month to take care of my accounts now.

    Forgot to mention – the Sage system only supports £, but I use an online currency converter like xe.com to convert the foreign currency into £ and use that figure in my accounts. Seems to work fine. It doesn’t match up exactly, but that can easily be tidied up as Cost Of Currency Exchange or something like that.

    And a potential danger of messy accounting is getting an HMRC investigation which can cost a small fortune in accounting fees, so setting up everything in a neat way with a professional looking after you can greatly help avoid that I feel. Plus you can buy insurance against that if you’re worried about that happening.

    Just my two pence. 🙂

    I enjoy your blogs, been a reader for a while now.

    LA

  • Do yourself a favour and get a proper accountant. Things start unravelling when crunch have to do something that even slightly deviates from their fixed processes.

    I paid a bit extra to my previous account (who I’m now going back to), and they could problem solve and find solutions. Whereas Crunch seem to screw things up. For instance, my crunch system won’t let me put any director salary through saying “you were not a director for the first half of the year, please select another date.” The accountant dealing with the problem just says “sorry, you can’t have any salary.” OK, so I’ll just not put through the basic salary and instead pay tax on the initial ~£7400? Idiots. And from my experience it seems to be a catalog of problems like this. Plus their system is very inflexible, and it often errors.

    Crunch has at least taught me how to maintain my own books, which should reduce the money I pay to my accountant, and make their lives a bit easier.

  • Finch,

    Many thanks again for your great article!

    We didn’t realise there is a few replies here! Very sorry for the delay in replying!

    1. Tijn

    As you probably well know we introduced multi-currency 2-months ago and customers are loving it!

    2. LA

    I created Crunch to change the way accountancy was delivered and this required starting again from scratch.

    Fundamentally accountancy and tax is rule based and so if you spend long enough and invest considerably you can create a system that can remove the considerable manual labour from undertaking the accounts.

    Using intelligent software, along with a strong account manager, allows the accountants (dedicated to customers) to spend far more time helping them.

    The old approach which you may be referring to is to carry on as normal, using the same high manual levels of work, deliver it really cheap and be unable to afford a big enough team to deliver a good service.

    Crunch has spent 5 years and £millions to deliver a fantastic service with stacks of personalised service for what is normally 3 times the price.

    3. LB

    Mmmm, it’s interesting that there’s an LA and a LB one after each other in these replies 🙂

    LB, we are a proper accountant and with a team of 70 and growing fast we have a skill set way beyond any normal practice.

    First and foremost we are an expert accountancy practice and can adapt to special situations I.e we can make adjustments to fix any odd scenarios.

    Did you ask the team to help you? At Crunch everyone has their own accountant and account manager and we can solve almost any issue.

    LB why don’t you get in touch with me and be interested to find out how you never managed to get something so simple sorted? Call 0844-500 8000 and ask for Darren Fell.

    Many thanks and a great blog Finch!

    Darren Fell
    Founder and MD of Crunch

  • I am a small business owner and have used Crunch for less than a year. On the face of it I found the software to be very handy straight forward and made my life easier. I found my liaison person attentive and helpful.

    Then I moved over seas for a job and stopped earning in the Uk. At that point crunch began to fail. They started sending me notification to put forward Vat returns with out any income coming into my accounts. I even paid a few of these assuming I must have made a mistake and only found out after chasing them up that they had made mistake and I had paid unnecessary returns. When I tried to cancel my account they failed miserably to end my accounts and put forward my end of year company tax return. It is now 7 months down the road since I closed my accounts with them and I have still not received my end of year company return. I still am getting Vat return requests and my account has not been deactivated.

    What’s been most amazing is that I must have sent well over a dozen or more emails over the last 6 months trying to solve these problems and not one of the issues I have raised since back in November of 2012 has been dealt with. The software may work on the face of things. But it does not seem to have the support of the people running it to ensure viable successful service.

    I’ve been shocked at the total lack of support and follow up from their accounts team and would not be recommending their services to my colleagues or friends.

    My regret now is that when I first started using crunch I recommended them to everyone. I just hope they don’t received the shoddy service I have.

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