The past twelve months have been a fantastic and exciting time for us here at Crunch, for many reasons. It’s amazing how the time has whizzed by, and in the spirit of misty-eyed yuletide cheer we thought we’d recap some of the highlights of our year. It’s hard to believe we’ve now been in our “new” offices for over twelve months (we moved in on December 9th 2010), and come next April Crunch will be a full three years old.

Our team has almost doubled in the last year, and we now number almost fifty. Our newest team member, Ben the sysadmin (as we’re calling him) started just this Monday.

So what have we been up to in the last year? Here’s a tidy digest of Crunch’s 2011:

January

The year started with a bang as new legislation came into effect banning the use of offshore Employee Benefit Trusts. This meant lots of umbrella companies operating such schemes suddenly found themselves unable to process payments, leaving their contractors high and dry. We suddenly found ourselves swamped with new clients as those impacted signed up to Crunch.

We also celebrated our new digs by putting together a time-lapse video of them being refurbished, all the way from rubble-piles to our inaugural team drinks.

February

After the usual flurry of activity that surrounds the January 31st self-assessment deadline, we were proud to report that 100% of the Crunch clients who opted to have us complete their tax returns were able to submit them on-time.

Towards the end of February we also launched our fantastic new bank reconciliation system, which now forms a core part of the Crunch experience.

March

In March we launched our very own iPhone game, which was met with universal praise, and has since gone on to form the centrepiece of all our trade show hi-jinx. Our team thought they were doing well with scores in the 100,000 range, but these have since been dwarfed by some truly monumental efforts at the top of the score board.

March is also Budget month, so our accountants pored over the finer details of George Osborne’s announcement and made sure we’d pulled out each and every detail that could affect our clients.

We announced right at the end of March that we’d passed a significant milestone for any small business, 1,000 clients! At an age of just under two years this was a fantastic achievement. Stay tuned, as we’re fast approaching client number 2,000!

April

In early April we announced the first of what turned out to be a series of hiring sprees to build out our team of expert accountants – ensuring all our clients received the same level of service as we continued to grow.

The karmic reward for our continued investment in customer service was a listing on Very Good Service, a website recognising companies who offer customer service above and beyond that of their contemporaries.

May

In May we lifted the lid on our next big update, codenamed Project SOUFFLÉ. Our development team had been hard at work giving the entire Crunch system a top-to-bottom overhaul to improve browser compatibility, workflow and overall prettiness.

We also took on the established accountancy order by penning a response to a piece in an industry magazine criticising cloud software. Our response made such an impact we received a call from the magazine’s editor and our reply was published in the following issue.

June

In June we opened the doors to a limited beta test of Project SOUFFLÉ, which was warmly received by all our users. There was a small mountain of feedback submitted, which proved invaluable to our developers as they gave the new UI a final spit-shine.

July

In July we finally launched Project SOUFFLÉ, and much to our relief the praise was universal. Since this update usage of Crunch on tablets has sky-rocketed, and we think it’s safe to say our development team did a fantastic job of bringing Crunch bang up-to-date.

We also attended the Develop Conference in our native Brighton, and lured in lots of trendy independent game developers with our fresh approach to accounts. We attended lots of trade shows and conferences in 2011, and it’s safe to say Develop was one of our favourites. The crowd, atmosphere and venue were all top-notch – we’re already looking forward to 2012’s event.

August

In August our development team launched the first major post-SOUFFLÉ additions to our system. The first was a new dashboard which centralises company information and allows clients to see their Crunch “team” – the accountants and account managers who deal with their company on a day-to-day basis.

The second was a new user feedback area, including a feature submission forums, which has since spawned several handy new features which have been rolled into subsequent updates.

The third was a completely overhauled user support area, which contains a wealth of accounting information to help our users get the most out of Crunch. We’re still busy populating this area with tutorials and videos – with much more to come in 2012!

September

In early September we released four new videos about Crunch as a company, to help explain our ethos, how we develop our software, our community and how we integrate popular services (such as Skype) to offer our users a better experience. Skype liked our video so much they featured it on their Enterprise blog!

We were also pleased as punch to be included in the Smarta 100, an annual rundown of “the most resourceful, original, exciting and disruptive small businesses in the UK.”

October

October saw the introduction of a new piece of legislation called the Agency Workers Regulations. Many contractors were affected by the new rules, so we called in our resident HR expert to knock up a handy guide!

The first enforcement period for the AWR is fast approaching (it ends on Christmas Eve), so the story of AWR is by no means over. We’re keeping up to speed on all AWR news, to make sure our clients are always in the know.

November

In November we attended the Business Startup Show for the second time, and had a mightily fun time chatting to all the small businesses in attendance. The show proved to be the biggest yet, with over 25,000 budding entrepreneurs present. We’ll be back next year, and we look forward to meeting even more new businesses who need help with their accounts!

We also started to look for several new Java developers to help speed up our growth into 2012 – we’ve had a strong response but we’re not done looking, so if you know anyone send them our way!

December

December is only half done, but we’ve already had a busy month! We’re gearing up for the launch of the Crunch API, and just last night launched a brand new, lightning-fast expenses area.

2012

Things are starting to wind down for Christmas, but we’re keeping busy preparing some big announcements for early next year. We’ve got some truly awesome things on the horizon that our clients are going to love. These include a massive expansion of the document store we introduced with our new expenses area (more on that very soon), improved data portability both in and outside of Crunch, as well as a first-of-its-kind, secure, internally-developed automated bank reconciliation system.

We can’t say any more than that right now, but we’ll be posting details here as soon as our new features are ready for public consumption. We hope your 2011 was just as exciting as ours, and wish you and your business all the best for the new year.

Photo by Dustin GroundCC