What is Cloud Accounting

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What is Cloud Accounting- with Darren Fell from Crunch

Darren Fell: [00:00:00] Access anywhere is another, obvious you don't have to go back to your PC. We've got a lot of digital natives, roaming the world with a limited company. They're logging in from Bali (snort) how annoying I was to trying to do a growl then, Grrrr, it didn't come out properly. (laughs)

[00:00:15] Yeah. Working out of some co-working center in Bali, and then they, go for lunch down to the beach. But yeah, they can access their accounting system from wherever they have to be. And some of them are hopping around some beautiful places, but they're great at what they do.

[00:00:29] They're experts.

[00:00:36] Chris OHare: [00:00:36] I'm Chris. O'Hare your Quick Win CEO, I've run many businesses, founded startups, consulted for others and even won awards. But in this show, we will be talking to entrepreneurs and experts to help you understand key concepts for your business. Along with three Quick Wins that you can take away and apply to your business today.

[00:00:56] And every week, we'll be finding out about the entrepreneur themselves and diving into a different but important topic. And it's competition time at the moment. I'm giving away 10 of my favorite business books, including Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas to one lucky winner. And these are great for all levels of scale from a CEO to a founder.

[00:01:17] And to enter all you need to do is go to Apple podcast, subscribe, then scroll to the bottom. Leave a review. It doesn't have to be detailed. You could just say that you love this podcast. And when you do that, send an email to [email protected] or had dot this story to say that you've entered. I what better way to learn about Cloud accounting from the accountancy pioneer of the year Darren Fell.

[00:01:41] Darren is the CEO and founder of Crunch Accounting, 180 staff behemoth we're over 50,000 software members. He's a serial entrepreneur and his accessory built and sold a tech company previously before setting his sights on disrupting the accounting industry by creating a simplified cloud variant that gives the power back to the small business owners.

[00:02:07] Darren and Crunch have won a long list of awards and are set to continue to disrupt the accounting industry with a new product Crunch Zero. Darren gives us a nice rundown of the benefits of cloud accounting and it's quick wins. So here we go. Darren Fell. Thanks for coming on the show. Darren. Firstly, tell me the last thing that you read or watched or dead that left an impression on you.

[00:02:32] It could be a Netflix series, a funny video or a book you read.

Darren Fell: I'll tell you what left a real impression on me is a book by and was a shorter book. Paul Hannam wrote a book on Significance and it was actually perfect timing about no if there'd be any time that you're going to.

[00:02:52]Darren Fell: [00:02:52] Put your mind onto something that is really significant. And it, what he's talking about is hundreds of thousands, millions of people that work for corporates, don't the job don't like the business don't feel they're doing anything significant in life. And he was just calling to attention, like what you really want to do, what could help others? So I read that book, I've met him before he wrote a whole book around Ground Hogg day and the amazing benefits what happened in that movie and applying that to your life. Now I've not read that book, but I read significance right. In the middle of the lockdown and it really made me think, and it's exactly what I've applied to my life anyway.  Yeah, Paul Hannon significance, and I think he's going to come out with that with a fuller version of it.

[00:03:28] That sounds really interesting. And definitely I have to put that on my read list or my kids. I've got so many that moment. Yeah. It's, there's so many books on my Kindle at the moment that I just, I haven't just got time to get round to it. Do you read a lot then? Is this a thing that you try and get to.

[00:03:46] Yeah, no, I don't. I it's just, when I finally got the boys to bait I've done my meditation. I've done a bit more work. We've done put the bins out or something. Wherever my task Les is we finally get into bed and I read re read the Kindle then but often I don't see much energy to go beyond the company day.

[00:04:05] Five or five or six pages and I'm fast asleep. Unless you've less, I've actually got a window of time, but I'm I've said to Claire, I'm off for a meditation, I've done my meditation and I snuck an extra 30 minutes of me-time and not having to run around after the little ones. Not that I don't love doing that.

[00:04:23]So I think the, what, the thing that's been a transformation for me in terms of consuming a loads of amazing books is audible. So when I walked from home to Preston park where crunchy HQ is, I can get a book on and the I'm listening to another book, but the, I listened to the innovation stack.

[00:04:42] And then prior to that, I listened to Simon. Sinek's start with why, and, it's, it turned off kilometers each way.  Can get through a book relatively fast, within a couple of weeks of just those snippets of time. So I've just started going for a walk now after, cause I'm working at home mostly in the moment and going for a walk afterwards and putting in a podcast.

[00:05:07] Chris OHare: [00:05:07] So I wasn't a massive fan of podcasts until the first lockdown. And then I already discovered them because they were like having a chat with someone rather than being bombarded with information like an audible book can do. And because with an audible book, I tend to feel like, Oh, I've got to write this down.

[00:05:26] Constantly, got to write it down and you don't necessarily feel that way with a podcast. And yeah. And walking on your own can be a bit lonely too. So it's almost like you've got a friend in your ear, but that's a big thing for me. Not that I don't have any friends or anything,  it's one of those things that it really helps me.

[00:05:44]And that's a new thing. I never used to do that. No, I've certainly never listened to I'm not, you see some people go down the road with these massive headphones and clearly listening to absolutely beautiful high fidelity, whatever that music they're into.

[00:05:57] Darren Fell: [00:05:57] I've never really bothered about that. And it's only because of these little headsets that I got for it for a live interview on camera. Cause otherwise. Yeah. If you've got the spat, the speaker going from the BC, it feeds back. Of course. Just try that for for my audible thing. And I've absolutely loved ever since that it's been brilliant.

[00:06:17] Yeah, definitely. I'm in love with my AirPods pro, but I'm probably way more expensive than they need to be, but that's another story for another day. These are not expensive, but with the which guide gave them a high rating for 50 quid. They said they were amazing. Yeah. Great. Was all the masters.

[00:06:35] Chris OHare: [00:06:35] As long as I do the job anyway, let's dive into you as an entrepreneur and kind of give me an understanding of what it is that you do. What's your business do.  And what drives you as an entrepreneur as well? What gets you out of bed in the morning?  Let's start with that bit there.

[00:06:51]Darren Fell: [00:06:51] I absolutely loved business. I love creating things.  And I think more because I love it so much. I want other people to too. Do business or at least do what they love. So that pretty neatly segues into to crunch that is  the absolute mission here is to allow people to, to.

[00:07:15] Do what they love. I love what they do. And  we, the business crunch is obviously number crunching. It is an online accounting firm with a complete difference. But that is that it's trying to take away. One of the areas I think is the most. Painful part of running a business is all the administration, the invoicing expensing and dealing with a, an accountant is really painful.

[00:07:38] So yeah, the overall mission and me, I absolutely love that part. I want to help millions of people  to love what they do and not hate what they do. And I. I think it was going back to when was it 2001? When I walked into my sales directors offices that are quit yeah, I just, that was the final point of working for these big corporates.

[00:08:03] They didn't give a monkey's about you. And I wasn't expressing my creativity, so I had to go and do my own business and that's where it started. So that's. That's what gets me out of bed. And and as a consequence before crunch was launched, I created freelance advisor which was to try and to help everybody though with all the hints and tips, everything on, Being a freelancer, being a small business owner, how to set up how to thrive, how to do this, not just accountancy and tax stuff, and then crunch launched on April in 2009.

[00:08:38] But yeah, all the precursor always comes back to that. Absolute desire to help people love what they do. There's too many people out that absolutely test it. And I'm all, I'm the first one.  As Chris, other go to sleep, come on. What about this? What about doing this?

[00:08:54] What about doing this? And I've done it with too many of my mates. And sometimes succeeded some like many times failing, and you're not an entrepreneur like you Darren, and come on, you can do it. Some people are just locked into corporate life, but then I don't think corporate life is locked into them now, as we see all these redundancies coming through, but yeah, that's the crux of it.

[00:09:12] That's what gets me out of bed. So what does your business do then?  Just give me an idea of what, what crunched does. So crunch is an online accountant with a complete difference because you can go there to our site crunch.co.uk, and you go, Oh, it's just accounting software.

[00:09:30] So I need my, my traditional accountant. Do I know?  When I started putting this together I met Steve, the accountant, the tax specialist and then they had an idea for a bit of software. But didn't know how to put the whole thing together. And I suppose you have the software's getting sorted and is not the broken bit.

[00:09:48] Now the broken bit, always for me has been the accountant. Some are amazing. Some start off amazing and end up disastrous, never call you back. That was my experience. And so many people I know. So crunch is unique. Is that we are an online accounting software from you. Can we now have crunch free there?

[00:10:09] You can go on there, sign up in seconds. You can use it. It's unfettered many invoices as an expenses. As you want to send a bank reconciliation, connect to the open banking feeds all for free. That's driven by my passion to help as many people as I possibly can, but the in and where the board lets me do that is you can click on a button and easily upgrade and go, actually.

[00:10:35] Yeah, I'm not going to go and hunt around and take a gambler and get a traditional accountant and never know if the service is going to be that good on a click on it and take the whole service from crunch. And that is, is the unique in crunch. The second you do that. There's a low monthly fee.

[00:10:50] You're going to client manager, you get an accountant as much time as you want. The unlimited the basic price is 71 50 and on the sole trader is 29 50. And we're going to probably drop that down in a bit as well. So it is software and service. So from 2009, Chris I've been banging on about software and service.

[00:11:12]You can create lovely bits of software. But then the next thing is the gamble with the accountant. Are there any good yet? Dave recommended it, but I might get a completely different experience. And this is what I've seen in the marketplace. Yeah. We've had long discussions about this previously where we've said, services and piece of software is going to be the next big thing.

[00:11:36] Chris OHare: [00:11:36] And it really isn't and businesses are popping up everywhere doing that. And I, what I wanted people to do is to see exactly what crunch is because. I know that your love for freelances, and I didn't know that you had that website freelances. But yeah, I think it's, yeah, I think that's amazing.

[00:11:55] And I want people to understand that you're there for them and you're there because you love freelancers and you want to help freelancers. So that's what really drives you. That's what gets you out of bed in the morning  and I think. Unless people understand that about you, that they don't realize actually you're batting on their side.

[00:12:14] And therefore you're not just trying to sell them a piece of software.  You actually want them to get a massive benefit from using your software. I use Zero. And I'm going to be moving to crunch and due course, if I wasn't so busy, good answer. Otherwise this podcast terminates. No, I wouldn't.

[00:12:34] I wouldn't do that to you, but I've seen the benefit. And I understand the. You as a platform can have the software along with the service and the me that is nice. It's nice. Neat. It's in a nice, neat package. And you have all these benefits around,  having everything all integrated with each other, which kind of.

[00:12:58] It makes me think about, there's some people that don't really even know what cloud accounts it is. So do you want to give us an understanding of what cloud accounting is and compare it to the old way of accounting and where it's come from? To where it is today and what the benefits are.

[00:13:16]Darren Fell: [00:13:16] What my bookkeeper at pure three 60, my first business did I, I used to look over, in fact I had to I'd use it occasionally to do stuff and that was Sage line 50. And like I literally verbatim followed the click, and you need to be a trained bookkeeper and accountant to use that.

[00:13:34] I would say I could only use the stuff that I was shown. So that was old fashioned software. Today's cloud software is all online. It should be mobile first. So th the web version of it, you go on a mobile, it. Ultimately shrinks down. It goes through an iPad. Automatically goes up to that size, goes into desktop.

[00:13:54] It works across everything.  There are a lot of cloud accounting softwares out there that are actually people don't realize there's odd designed for the expert designed for the accountant or the expert bookkeeper. So despite zero saying beautiful accounting software, it is. Actually designed and their first chance to market was accountants.

[00:14:17] So the accountants love it, their accountants promote it. So it is a little bit more complicated. I have never actually used it for myself for my business.  Cause it, it would be a pretty, it would be a bit more complicated for me. The mantra right from the beginning cause I want people to do they love or love what they do and not get stuck in, into these systems and spend hours of the weekend, like wading through trying to try to do something on a piece of software.

[00:14:44]The key premise always was make crunch as clear as something you'd buy from the early learning center, not being derogatory to the to the client base, but let's pick bright colors. Let's pick really clean UX user experience on there and make it. Properly beautiful.

[00:15:03] Don't just give it a name of beautiful accounts. So get really nice. And the dig it as there are really not really make the user experience really clean. So the trouble with the cloud accounting software, as of today, that's designed for the accountant. It is the user use cases a bit.

[00:15:20]They're trying to cover so many things.  So the menu keeps filling up all the time and we are absolutely categorically just for freelancers or contractors or consultants or locums or all the different varieties of business person there. Sole traders, landscape, gardeners, plumbers, tradesmen loads, more gassy fitters and plumbers coming in.

[00:15:45] And it goes up to small business owners. And about that, the sweet spot, really for crunches, about to, 10 or 20 employees for a small business owner. And just to make the use case for that, don't go, Oh yeah, we're going to do this. I'm going to do this. I'm going to do this with our payroll in here.

[00:15:59] And we're gonna and before, it. The menus and the user experience gets as complicated as the old line 50 Sage piece of PC desktop software that I used back in 2003 they can get, they can make unnecessary, unwieldy. Yeah. I'm still know people today that are still using desktop based Sage right today, which is phenomenal.

[00:16:26]Chris OHare: [00:16:26] And a lot of these businesses are, the older SMEs or manufacturers who haven't seen the need to move to cloud accounting. Why should they make a move? Would you like to list the benefits of moving to something like a cloud accounting? I think there's so many benefits. Aren't there, data's secure.

[00:16:47]Darren Fell: [00:16:47] If your PC dies and you've got it stored locally and PCs do die and max do die and hard disk drives do fail. You've got all your day to day. You don't have to worry about backing up. So it's all out in the cloud. And it. And the business would have to make it Uber secure.

[00:17:03] We certainly do, and it's all encrypted, but we're automatically backing up it. It's running across servers out there in the internet and it's replicated across numerous a number of databases, numerous servers it's protected data in there. So that's the first thing.

[00:17:20] Access anywhere is another, obvious you don't have to go back to your PC, you could, we've got a lot of digital natives, roaming the world with a limited company. They're logging into Bali. How annoying to try and do a growl then, or didn't come out properly.

[00:17:36] Yeah. Working out with some coworking center in Bali and then they. Go for lunch down to the beach. But yeah, they can access the star their accounting system from wherever they happen to be. And some of them are all hopping around some beautiful places, but that they're, they're great at what they do.

[00:17:50] They're experts. There are so many other advantages there. In terms of crunch, the ability to access the accountant and to fire off questions whenever you want and get a response within an SLA, within a service level I think would be another major one.

[00:18:07]One for us and the ability to have a video meeting,  know  can't travel back in and go to the,  the accountant's office above the shoe shop, on George street have to talk to him. I want to look in his eyes and go tell me about this thing that's happened.

[00:18:21] And you can do that. And, a lot of ordinary counters wouldn't be able to do that. But yeah, data integrity Always being updated as well. There's the, I don't want to get a Witter on and on, but you'd expect you get all of your updates automatically seamlessly with a cloud based system.

[00:18:37] So I think I'll leave it there, but I think the listeners and the viewers of this, you get an idea. That there are major advantages. Yeah. Don't stand an old piece of software because it, the other thing we see happen is they just stopped supporting it. So they force you to move to their next version.

[00:18:52] And, maybe Sage you're forcing people to move to the cloud anyway, can I stop you there because your camera's frozen, so which I'll cut out afterwards, but yeah. See you. Yeah. That's interesting.

[00:19:11] Chris OHare: [00:19:11] Okay. Wonder why it's doing that. So let me have a look at the video. So stop the video.

[00:19:20] Yeah. Okay. That's gone now. Okay. And that's not video again. I think that's more, I'm hoping that's more zoom than it is made you, have you ever seen to do that for that? Okay. So what I've had to do is I was charging the battery up at the same time as running it and about hour in it, blacks out, and it goes over temperature.

[00:19:43] Darren Fell: [00:19:43] Cause you're charging the battery, which is warming up and running the thing. So I've now bought a dummy battery. The plugs in pretends to be the battery there and plugs in, but I would, yeah, it's not, it's definitely over temperature. So if it does it again, then then I will look at it again. Cool.

[00:20:04] All right. Should continue. Yeah.  I'm just trying to think of does anything on the back of that the weekend? How long did you freeze for probably about 20 seconds when you were about. Just about finishing out ready? So  I'm not that worried about we can leave them in how's your editing skills.

[00:20:22] Yeah. Fine. Don't worry. You haven't seen my videos clearly.  No. I didn't have a chance to know we were Monte's teething. So we had Yeah I didn't have a chance to, I got, so like at certain point I'm not coming to the computer and again, no, don't worry, honestly. People don't have time to watch things and it's about getting my face out there more than anything.

[00:20:41] Chris OHare: [00:20:41] Anyway. Cool. So thanks for that, Darren. And w what'd you say to those people that say that, cloud is less secure? Yeah, I've just gone through all of those reasons why Purdue? Yeah, it's a question is do they believe it? It's almost  the people BBC going around question, I like asking market traders.

[00:21:02] What you do you trust this Pfizer vaccine? I don't know whether I do trust it or, it. It's the way the world runs now. We have our CRM system, our customer relationship management system. All online Salesforce has been in existence for a long time. I think in a way it's 2005, 2006.

[00:21:23] Darren Fell: [00:21:23] It was certainly a minute. It was the early days of pure and it was much before that. Wasn't it. Yeah. Yeah. Th the middle two, two thousands, you had Salesforce. I have to check when it was when it was launched, but that holds masses and masses of incredibly sick,  important information for various massive firms and that's all cloud based.

[00:21:44] So it all comes down to. How strong is your infrastructure. Obviously you see the encryption words going on there. That doesn't mean as much, cause it's only between your computer and there is, it's how they look after those servers. And are they updating the servers regularly enough with all the patches which are.

[00:22:06] Yeah. People will find routes into the software. So as long as they it's always updated and you've got a security team on it and you're doing what's called penetration tests considering on your infrastructure to keep looking for weaknesses it's almost like hiring some hack hackers, friendly hackers that try and break in all the time.

[00:22:26] But often these things fall down on the simplest things and it's. It's passwords. If you use last pass or something like that and get it to auto, create a password, or even create a string of words like a sentence, those are very hard  for people to hack into.

[00:22:43] So yeah, these big cloud-based systems, the failure point is often down to the user and having a poor password.  No. And the other ultimate protection is two factor authentication. On the we already have a memorable word, which a lot of our competitors don't, we've always had that in there.

[00:23:00] We've got a code as well. And now we're looking to add to to have a two, two factor authentication. So it sends you a text with a code. Knows that she, you put that code in. And then you can secure a session for our, however long you want to set that session for. So yeah there's loads of stuff.

[00:23:17]You need to do, but it's, the onus is on the business and if there's a big data leak, then we can, , I. The, who would it be? Chris? It'd be the, is one of the government departments. Isn't it I've forgotten which one it is. If there is a big data, thank you. The ICO you could, and that, and the, the client's data is actually used and you I'm sure the fine could Mount up into ridiculous sums of money.

[00:23:41] So it's in the interest of the businesses to. Absolutely make sure that systems are Bulletproof, but yeah, that's what we keep going through. Like regular pen tests, keeping all of the server software at the latest levels. Or any weaknesses that have been proudly found corrected and keep looking at security for the end users because they can.

[00:24:03] People still will try and put in, loved my cat or cat or dog or password or something silly. I'm pretty exaggerating now and P they will get hacked.  So we've got to, we've got to help guide them. Yeah, I completely agree. And I don't think people realize is that financial institutions or software like yourself, you are governed by a different.

[00:24:27] Chris OHare: [00:24:27] Set roles than a lot of other apps out there. So actually you have to be even more secure and the same goes with the health profession because you are governed by those set of rules. And I completely agree with. The idea that the user is where people get hacked. And they're the ones that it tends to fall down with.

[00:24:48] And when you're looking at emails and you're looking at people's emails, if they put passwords in emails and a piece of malware, it goes through your emails. Quite often, it's looking for key words what's my password and stuff like that and pulls those out. And obviously the bigger hacks when you, the CD software that gets hacked and it's, on the news, they then take that database of passwords and then try everyone else's accounts.

[00:25:14]Everyone else's. So every website should have a different password. And that's what the likes of your password generators or one password. That's what they really help with is that you can manage different passwords across different devices and different websites. Every website should have a different password just in case it gets hacked.

[00:25:35]Darren Fell: [00:25:35] So do you do that yourself though? I've got it in my urgent list to, to employ. So Flo hares is his head of infrastructure and he's sent out to the whole business. Yeah. The next level of protection for our password. So we've all got last pass. And S some of my past was quite complicated anyway, about 15 digit alphanumeric so that, they've pretty good.

[00:26:01] Yeah. But I am using the same one on a number of ones. So he suggested running, I think there's an auto mechanism in there and also employing to Fe on it in getting into the ma master thing. Yeah I've just got to sit down and do it. But I've got to do it cause the worst thing would be, my accounts were hacked, but still my root password is quite a bit interesting.

[00:26:24] Yeah. I completely agree. Two factor authentication takes a lot of that headache away. If you've just done that on straight away you're way more protected than having the same passwords on every account. But saying that there is a tax on SIM cards which is a big thing, but we are dive into that one.

[00:26:41]No, they say they're fine once they get it and they'll get in eventually. That's basically,  whether they pretend to be you and those kinds of things. That's very common, but cloud accounting as such, it's been a big part of my skillset as a business owner and learning about the financials is such a key part.

[00:27:03]Chris OHare: [00:27:03] And. I couldn't, I can't think, I've never had the old way of having access to my accounts. In fact, it was always the domain of the accountant. I ever, if I ever wanted information, I had to go to the accountant, Allison to draw that out. And when I looked at something like zero and I could see that I was getting real time information.

[00:27:25] I was actually learning a lot about my business, how it behaved the cash flow and all the various jog and my profit and loss and stuff like that. And yeah. Do you feel that is such a big benefit for cloud accounting software? Yeah, I suppose so. I didn't even get to all of the the empowerment and that's what I if you imagine what it was like before when I first set up crunch, I did it in this there's accountants practice and people would routinely at the last minute of filing, So not with boxes of receipts or at least give him a, a bit of grace and, five days before with literally shoe box.

[00:28:05] Darren Fell: [00:28:05] And I take that away from me. Just deal with it. Tell me how much tax it is. And it, for me, It's about empowerment. You don't want to say th the crunch just does everything for you. It's still DIY, but it takes all of the pain away and gives you the information without the gobbledygook.

[00:28:25]The dashboards, like how much money is coming in, what's expensing, know  what expenses are going to, to what projects, if you're recharging staff just showing you the absolute basics, some of them dive straight into yeah. Chris, Leslie, as Zurich, we so complicated, you can look at all these different reporting and really, you just need to get down to the the core information.

[00:28:48]Now we're working with micros  the, from the one to the tent, 20 sort of employee businesses, and it's relatively simple. Really all they need to know. Yeah, I think on the higher end of that scale there, they might just run cash flows and see, now you can plug in some X and bits of kit for that to S to predict cash flows again, working on trends, but yeah, you need to display it in a really palatable way and don't give access to 56 reports, just give access.

[00:29:15]This is the one you definitely need to look at. And therefore that's why it's appearing on the home screen. And here's the other key ones that you really should do, but software on its own, as  and you're saying, you're asking the accountant is I'm not really sure.

[00:29:27]So the beauty of always having support accesses is like, whether you want to email or call up tell me what I need to do, you need to look at that. You need to look at that. And I suggest you look at that. And here's a great, one of our knowledge guides re read through that they are, if you want to got another question, come back to me and it's about empowering them.

[00:29:45]So they. They feel in control of it, but without the real heavy weight of it the normally goes with  running a business without clear like nice clean application. I like that. I like that you are empowering them with financial information and every business owner needs to have this skill set in their armor.

[00:30:06]Chris OHare: [00:30:06] Yeah, but. I don't think, for me, I always felt almost like I was putting them out, asking my accountant for this certain kind of information or that I was going to get charged a fortune to ask for that. And I'm glad to hear that, that's part of your service is to you can't call people.

[00:30:23]And say, I need help with this and you're going to get someone a friendly voice on the other end saying, yeah, no, definitely we can help you with that. So yeah that's open my eyes. We touched briefly on open banking earlier. A lot of people don't read it, understand why this is a game changer in terms of software and how it integrates with banks.

[00:30:45] Do you want to give us a, an overview of open banking? Yeah, sure. I've wanted to do this right from the beginning of crunch. So in 2007, we were talking to the banks about giving us the statement feed, and most of them told us to get lost. We did get a few banks interested in now that then was completely unheard of.

[00:31:08] Darren Fell: [00:31:08] A lot of banks would say, why on earth would we let them go and review. That data in another system and not have not in not being our system where we want to maybe sell them other things. So this has been going on a long time and it's only been forced in by the EU to make that data shareable through other applications.

[00:31:28] So the bank doesn't have. Arts or control over it. So open banking is exactly that a format of forcing, and they had to force the banks to deliver the data of the customer's data. In a way it can be easily output to another application. They might want to have a look on it on a cash flow system they might want to do look at, look on other applications to really interrogate it.

[00:31:52]Whatever they want to do. They certainly wanted to come into their accounting system, unfettered. It used to be. Other than the banks that we had directly connected, we had quite, we had four connected in the early days, which is what you're saying. Something you had to go to the statement part on the banking site, find the CSV, download, download this file, come back to crunch, upload it.

[00:32:15]He wasn't at a disaster zone of a process, but today you can we've got 97% coverage of. All of the banks. There are out there other than 3%, there is a reason for that. And you got you've put a few of your conduct credentials in, connects it and bang it said and you suddenly see all of this, the statement same as flowing into your crunchy account.

[00:32:38] It is beautifully simple. And that's what I always dreamed of when we were, when we launched crunch. And now it's here for everybody to use. That's fantastic. If you look at zero, it was a pain when I was trying to connect through my bank HSBC and I had to an authentic rate every single time.

[00:32:56] Chris OHare: [00:32:56] And I was like, must be a better way to do this. And when I'm a banker came. And was announced. So I was like this is a game changer. I don't think people realize how better integration with software is going to be. And I guess that's a big thing about cloud account counting, right?

[00:33:13] It's the integrations with all these plugins or all these other services. And. How have you seen integrations with all of the services? How have you seen it benefit the user empowering the user? There are other systems out there that have that developer API and their API access, if that's what you're asking.

[00:33:35] Darren Fell: [00:33:35] So I think that you are and then like hundreds of integrations, so you can add on all this functionality.  So it is amazing. So what you can do. It, and this is where zero one one fast is by making it open like many years ago when we started looking at it in 2007 the an API not completely massively open API of all their systems.

[00:34:01] They got 800 integrations there, so it became its own ecosystem to give the power to the user. Now. We had an API. Now we have just launched a completely full formed API with a lot more open functionality in there. So we know we've got to do a catch-up, but unlike zeros, zero I knows that example was was really the conduit for the systems, the big ecosystem.

[00:34:26] So it's really a double entry accounting system. Our system has got all the tax and yeah. End to end accounts production. So fluency company owners, you can do all of that within it. Yeah, the live tax. Yeah. And so much more so that's was, will was where our focus is. But luckily we built this whole new platform and.

[00:34:45] As you it's called in being developed in services. Now I don't need to tell you that, but it's for the audience, anybody that is unsure and it's so much easier to develop than our original system, like Lego bricks of services, but as you develop it, the modern standard  is too.

[00:35:00] To interact with our own service by the APA anyway. So why not present that to developers and other integrations out there. So we have a list of integrations starting with all the commerce stuff that we'd be busily working on from the Shopify guys to to the wound Commerce's or all the way through.

[00:35:21] So yeah, we're,  we're. It feels like we're a little bit late to the game there, but we work. We were at an all immersive ecosystem before with all of the components for our micros and it pretty much served all the needs. Whereas zero was, that was a, a plug and play ecosystem. So they needed it, but they was an amazing decision in the early days.

[00:35:41]Yeah, we now have the whole piece of all the tax, the accounts, production, the service layers. And now we have the API going out there. So yeah, we've got to work hard on, on lots and lots of integrations. That's what it's all about. It's about, again, I'm going to use this word empowering, but it's empowering the user with the automations and and taking away that, that administrative pain that they're having on a daily basis and turning that into something that.

[00:36:12] Chris OHare: [00:36:12] Is giving them all this information that they don't have to deal with. I think it's, for me, that's the biggest power of API APIs and integrations with especially like open banking and all of this data flows between all these bits of software and devices. And it gives the user that feeling of, Oh, I don't have to worry about that because it's just doing its own thing.

[00:36:38] So yeah,  I'm a massive About Angelist of integrations and ultimation because I don't think people realize is that that just enables them to do the day job. Yeah.  Just on that note, Chris, so should interrupt. Is that right?  Used to  the, I, I wanted to provide everything  for the end customer  and you can see that we've got so many more parts that just ordinary accounting software doesn't have.

[00:37:05] Darren Fell: [00:37:05] And I used to get me about the likes of zero and, the, some of the other accounting software firms that You could use that out of the box, but if you wanted to have some functionality, you'd have to buy this. Plugin. And this pocket, before you knew it, you were actually spending hundreds of pounds on software alone.

[00:37:24]All these bets, my, my visual is, when that really dangerous thing where you. You have one of those adapter plugs in your socket, you have 16 things around, around the front row running from this one, socket, this thing's like kind of smoking that's what he,  it makes me think so some of these ones you have to buy so many bits and pieces to plug in.

[00:37:45] You're spending a lot of money on that. So yeah, I'm in, in providing more, but now all of the access to really reaching your set up. Yeah, it's for me, it's about exactly the fine tuning or making it special for you giving you the options to have the basics or to make it for Shopify or Magento or whatever e-commerce platform and be able to stuck up. And I like your analogy though, with the plug. But it's essentially stuck up. They told us I need for my business and the automations that I need. Whereas before you used to have to buy an all in one solution and that's it, that's what you were given and you might do it. What the, yeah.

[00:38:32]Chris OHare: [00:38:32] Offering you, but now with data flow, being so free, you can potentially use any bits of software to make sure that you get the job done in a way that you wanted them. I know. I know, but I think they, the the one thing you have to ways like check there is that you, haven't got a little bit carried away.

[00:38:49] Darren Fell: [00:38:49] Oh, and I need this function, because we know you aren't as big as a small business, you're spending a lot of money. Whoever spent that amount of money, many hundreds of pounds every month you'd buy in the olden days, you'd buy. A piece of software, maybe you might buy into the support contract.

[00:39:03] So you had some updates flowing, and I know it didn't do what today's as software does, but yeah, that, that's the one to watch. Don't plug in too many things. You really need all of them. Yeah. If you've got an e-commerce, you need to plug into a couple of things to actually make it work.

[00:39:18]But yeah, that that's always my, my, my checker and, crunch we routine we go through. Yeah. All of the software that we have here. Do we really need that? What's that who pulled that? So anyway, no I completely agree. And it's one of those secret things that tends to build up and you don't realize how much she's spending on every month.

[00:39:39] Chris OHare: [00:39:39] And I'm definitely guilty of that. So they pulled me up on that, Darren what are the, you got these business owners who are using freelancers and micro-businesses and she was saying that are using the cloud accounting software. Now, what are the three quick hacks or quick wins? The, you would say to these business owners to get the most out of their cloud accounting software, what are the things they're going to give him, the big results with minimal effort.

[00:40:11]Darren Fell: [00:40:11] The most obvious one is get going with it straight away.  We see too many people in all the many thousands of calls coming into here and the many hundreds of new sales, because people like, can you do my counts?  When's the ju like next month now imagine that stress.

[00:40:29] Loading on that person. Yeah. I'll get around to I do I sell a few things I'll do at do a few projects. So the number one hack is, gets your whole set up your accounting set up the right bank, connected to it, set up as soon as you possibly can. Before you go out like banging on the doors and calling people and sending your wares.

[00:40:51] That's the number one thing. And you've got that beautiful foundation of strength in the business. I'm equally doing a YouTube channel to help people over really want one. I want to help them as  and I called up A good friend of mine who's who runs our debt collection service to help our customers who get screwed over by other firms.

[00:41:14]And it's the whole set up according to a debt collector and is really, you're an interesting, it's all the basics, don't give credit now get a really strong, bookkeeping set up the counting, the banking These things mantras completely don't give credit.

[00:41:29] Why would you give credit? But there's all these basic points. So that's it get the thing up and running fast? I think the next one would be, and it's interesting out of all of our, plus 10,000 accounting customers. Not this still as a relatively small proportion using open banking.

[00:41:45] And this is our account manager. Keep going, come on you. We've got them all connected. Now connect up. It will make your life so much simpler.  So use open banking get that on there. The other hack to, to cash flow misery is the second you can. Yeah. Get the invoice out there to the client and don't give big terms.

[00:42:07]If you can get some money with a brand new client, it's always worth getting some money in in advance site, 50% because they may be super sweet. Yeah. But you've done an amazing work. You've poured your heart and soul into it, and then they turn around and go on.

[00:42:22] Not, I'm not paying you. I'm not, I wasn't happy with this tiny element which is a complete fabrication.  This whole thing about not giving credit or at least when you start working with someone yeah. Get 50% up upfront for projects or what monies you can break the project into nice slithers.

[00:42:38] So you can get money flowing in, that good for it, rather than getting to the end of the projects. We see so many people do. He won't pay me. I can't believe you weren't paying me. I've done an amazing job. So all of that the real well hacks to a stress free existence is get this whole accounting set up.

[00:42:57] All nailed down, find a really good accountant or using online accounts and then have it all fitted together. Make sure you're all right with that. And then, yeah, just make the, make sure all the basics Bulletproof and then from that strong foundation, you can really just focus on everything like selling  your services  or your products, and just focus on building the business.

[00:43:20]Chris OHare: [00:43:20] Greg quick wins. Brilliant. I'll think people are going to get a lot of value from those. So thank you for that. So like how can people learn more about cloud accounting? What, where are they working? They go to get some of this really good information about a crunch or just in general financial advice.

[00:43:40]Darren Fell: [00:43:40] Like what was good in terms of cloud accounting software? Used to be ferociously expensive. And I, you look on the likes of zero and you can spend a lot of money. I didn't realize until I actually chatted with you that it was per user cost. So you can spend up to 30 pounds a month for their fully more fully featured account.

[00:43:59] And and then it's per users. Have you other people in the business using it? Plus all the other add-ons. So the beauty today is that there are a few other free providers out there and you can just start working with something straight away. You don't have to download it, you just access it and play around with it.

[00:44:17]Have a look in the help sections. And if that. Worth there that, that money eventually when you do buy some something that the costs some money you should have really super clear help site with amazing help videos to get you up and running. And it should be.

[00:44:33] Effortless to send invoices off and connect to the bank and everything. The second use, you start saying on invoice three, they go, ah, it's 10, 10 bucks a month now. And you get, that I don't like those sorts of things, but there's obviously gotta be a point. Cause, cause someone like us would just be multi-millions of on, on a system.

[00:44:52] There's got to be a place where you can get money, but I just find. A lot of these free softwares out there do annoying nudges go. You must pay now. You've added the second expense. Oh, so now it's answer to your question, go and find a really good free accounting software out there.

[00:45:10]We've only just launched ours, so we're not in all of the list, but we're talking to all the journalists. And interestingly enough, Some of the big companies out there are backing out of the UK and the rest of the world. So we've seen wave which was well-known as a free accounting software has been acquired by what's essentially tax assist in the U S called H and R block.

[00:45:34]And they are just going to focus on the U S so they're not allowing you to set up any accounts. They had already said they didn't want to eat. They weren't going to pay for open banking feeds on the software. And you got an inkling there that there's something that was going on.

[00:45:46] So a lot of them are falling by the wayside. And if you look into the accounts, as some of them they find it difficult to monetize, of course, because you're giving the software away for free. And that's, the art is the game. We. We didn't start with freemium. We started with a fully chargeable note, full accounting service with the software, all included.

[00:46:06] And now we're going almost backwards. So offering a freemium, but we know how to monetize it. Yeah. And if anyone hasn't been able to see or have heard of Crunch before, definitely go check you guys out. What's the website. Crunch.co.uk Crunch.co.uk. Its like crunching, an apple crunching up.

[00:46:28] Everybody's obviously standing for number crunching. That's where it comes from. So some people were good to go to me. What was it? Does it mean? No, it was number-crunching isn't it? Of course. And obviously crunch zero. That should be released. Definitely go check that out if you need that. Yeah.

[00:46:45] We did Chris, we call it crunch Zero  legitimately it was crunch zero crunch warm as the sole trader software and service option crunch. Two was the limited sort of like more basic version software and service and crunch three was the small business version. And. Yeah, there were a lot of people game.

[00:47:04] Oh, you're calling crunch zero. Cause you want to be like a zero with an X. So like definitely not. I really loved the name. And we thought, when you look at it, it's with the Zen. It's not with the next that star brand. And then we had these products on the website and people are coming to, and you could see the, have to think about it.

[00:47:23]What's crunch one, then what's constitute. And it, if you make the end customer, have to think about it. You're going to lose. We did the, we did a whole remapping of the product range and we went well, what is our software that we want to help people with is crunch, crunch free?

[00:47:39]There's not complicated. Let's look at what other people do. So the pro version on the sole trader. Comes with the accountant and the account manager and the software, the pro version of the limited comes with it. And then you've got a premium version of the limited with all the bells and whistles and self-assessments or all bolted in.

[00:47:57] And then you've got small business versions. They actually. Is wrong service speed is what it is, what it says on the 10. It is. So we got a bit too fancy where they're gonna go, Oh, isn't that cool crunch zero, then get people again. Oh, you sound like zero. Damn it's spelled differently and that's the way.

[00:48:18] Less than that. Less than that. I bet. Anyway, everybody, every understands it now and the signup, Sarah looking pretty good. Great. I'm glad it's such a success. Crunches of business is one I've been monitoring for why, especially since it's a Brighton based business, which is fantastic that, you're flying the flag for Brighton.

[00:48:35] Really appreciate that. How can people connect with you? How could they see more of you?  What me? Me. Oh,  so you saw Misa yeah. So what I'm wanting to do is what we have here is something I've wanted to do for forever. So it's a little  sort of video room, YouTube room.

[00:48:58]So I'm working on a YouTube channel sell the crunch channel cause I really want to help all of this amass knowledge that you'll, you've been asking me to today is in there and I want to help people. I think we've got. We're going to end, we've got millions the unemployed be made redundant, not knowing what to do.

[00:49:18] So I couldn't think of a better time. So I'm working hard in the failable minutes I have between, a young family. And all the busy-ness of running crunch, which quite a big business now and grow growing fast to do this YouTube channel.  Crunch accounting is probably the fastest way to find it on YouTube.

[00:49:38] And there's endless videos about what's this what's that mosque what's IFF.

[00:49:51]And and that, that part, until til I get the message that zero subscribers but by month six I, I might hand it over to other presenters, but we're going to ask the community also to get involved, to help. So we've got lots of. A fantastic story is coming.  Yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn.

[00:50:06]You can ask me questions. I'll try and get back to you. Yeah. A lot of people to connect connecting, which is great, but yeah, that's, I think that's one way I. I can help and I really want to help. And that, that all fits in neatly with the community. So what was freelance advisor all those years ago is now crunch chorus and there's 50,000 members that have come in and we're going to make that better and better.

[00:50:32] And yeah, I, in my view, it now is a perfect time to help. So YouTube is where I will appear. And it's, the comments are all disastrous that I may hand over to the presenter, but I'm there genuinely to help not, pushing my wares. And that's not the intention. I love helping people.

[00:50:51] Fantastic. I'm glad everyone's going to receive you as well as I do, because you've always given me a lot of advice and help. So really appreciate that. Thanks for your time today, Darren. And hopefully we'll see you again on this show in the future.

[00:51:08] Chris OHare: [00:51:08] What an inspiring entrepreneur clearly knows his product inside and out, but make sure you check out the new freak accounting software crunch zero. And what did you think of his quick wins? Quick win. Number one, get going with your accounts from day one of your business. Don't leave it to the last minute quick, win number two, connect your bank to your accounting software.

[00:51:33] Using open banking and quick win. Number three to refrain cashflow misery. The second you get the invoice off to the customer. Get it off to the customer. What was your favorite bit of this show? Tell me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik, TOK, or YouTube. When you go find me with at Haddish and don't forget, you can also watch your show on YouTube or listen to all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Spotify.

[00:52:04] And remember, I'm giving away 10 of my favorite business books. Including lean startup and business model, canvas to one. Lucky winner is a great for all levels of scale from a CEO to a founder. And to answer what you need to do is go to Apple podcast, subscribe, then scroll to the bottom and leave a review.

[00:52:23] And it doesn't have to be detailed. You could just say that you love this podcast. It just takes a few moments to do. And then all you need to do is email [email protected]. But thank you for listening. And until next time on your Quick Win CEO signing out.

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