Our very own head honcho Darren Fell has been telling the story of how Crunch was formed, the reasons for its success, and what the future holds for the popular online accountancy service.

The QandA with advice site Econsultancy revealed some interesting stats. One in particular stood out: Crunch can cut the cost of hiring an accountant by a third. So, how is this possible?

Darren and his business partners – one a senior accountant running his own practice, the other the owner of a digital design agency – spent two years putting together the foundations of an online system which would automate many of the time-consuming manual duties which accountants would usually pay through the nose to perform on your behalf. This exhaustive process enabled Darren to set-up an online accountancy firm which would combine online software with the expert assistance of fully qualified accountants just a phone call away.

The savings that could be passed on to customers would be considerable. In fact, consultant Clive Bonny reduced his fees by over £1,000.

And so Crunch was delivered into the world as a seamless hybrid of ease-of-use technology and human expertise. Before Crunch there were two choices: hiring an expensive accountant or buying an online spreadsheet and an accountant separately. Crunch offered a third way enabling small businesses to keep all their accounting needs in one place.

Find out more about how Crunch works here.

By combining online software with accounting expertise, Crunch has been hugely popular with the small business community. In fact, customer numbers have been even greater than expected:

“In October we operationally broke even. Way, way before we expected,” said Darren. “Out latest round of investment, £500k, is going into building the team (development, customer service) and doing a lot of marketing, advertising.”

That round of investment was provided by big name entrepreneurs Michael van Swaaij (former chairman of Skype) and Paul Birch (co-founder of Bebo). Support from these two heavyweight investors was a real acknowledgement of our successful approach in revolutionising accounting for the small business community. The main beneficiaries will be the customers as they see more and more features added to the Crunch online accounting system and continued unrivalled support from our account managers and expert team of accountants. Darren is keen we don’t rest on our laurels:

“In a year, we’re aiming to have 50 staff and more than 2,000 customers. In two years, we plan to expand the team to 80 – 100 staff, with a customer base of between 6,000 and 10,000. We want to be the largest small business accounting firm in the UK.”

Read the full QandA here.