Crunch online accountants: online versus face-to-face services?
Crunch Online Accountants has shaken up the accounting industry in the UK. At Cheltenham Tax Accountants we feel that they were a breath of fresh air when starting out in the industry. Crunch accounting share the same ethos with us in having a tech-driven, service-focused accounting offering. We also dig their branding. So why are we talking up the competition?
From humble start-up to financial juggernaut: how Crunch got it right
Crunch started from humble beginnings as a new boy in the accounting world. Although they are now an online juggernaut they are based in Brighton and have certainly come a long way. 10 years ago their online focus was new, their branding was on point and the back office team were building something to scale. Having a lot of resources from day one the business has been in the position to develop its own accounting, bookkeeping and business software. This creates consistency for training so that the staff are all on the same page to help small business clients get up to speed.
Does virtual always mean lower fees?
You would expect an online accountant to offer lower fees as they are working in a more efficient way. Crunch certainly offered this at the start and in some cases still do. However, as the business has grown the fees are not necessarily cheaper than a local accounting business. Their all-in package may include many services and benefits that you are paying for but ultimately do not need. Are they really ‘better value’? What’s the value in building a relationship with your accountant face to face? To get an idea of our fees feel free to visit our pricing page. We use GoProposal as a clear and transparent pricing champion and have been awarded this for being a member.
What’s changed Now?
What’s changed in the UK accounting industry is that most firms whether they are local or not can now offer a similar service to Crunch. The difference is that a ‘traditional accounting firm’ such as Cheltenham Tax Accountants uses bookkeeping software such as Xero or Quickbooks online to provide this service. The benefit in this is that Xero and the like only do what they do so can focus on making it as good as possible. Due to this, you will find a more dedicated platform for your bookkeeping needs and more integrations available through apps like Zapier and IFTT.
‘Traditional accountants’ vs online accountants like Crunch: still worth it?
Now that technology is readily available for most accountants to offer an ‘online service’ similar to Crunch, what else do you get for your money? We are big believers in using tech to streamline your business and your life for that matter. However, there is something special about the relationship between a small business owner and their accountant.
By using an accountant like ourselves we honestly feel you get the best of both worlds. Crunch is a fairly large concern nowadays and can, therefore, be seen as a ‘corporate’ firm of accountants due to their sheer size. As much as I love what they do (and they are doing some amazing things online), they can not offer that 1-1 relationship you get with a human accountant. I know they still have humans, but they are not built to operate as a face to face service.
The good old fashioned ‘meeting’
At Cheltenham Tax Accountants we truly believe that building better relationships with the new world order of tech and AI is going to be key to business. That is why we believe in meeting with our clients face to face as much as we can. We want to know what is going on in your life, what’s your personal goals and what’s your business goals? When did you last go on holiday? How many hours a week are you working at the moment? How many hours would you like to work? Our approach is ‘Personal first, client second’.
In our eyes technology can be taken too far…