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Redesigning Crunch software

We're redesigning our software

Our Crunch online accounting software started life ten years ago, providing the first-ever online accountancy, business support and software solution to contractors, freelancers, and small businesses. Even today, no one else has been able to provide such an integrated, real-time service at an affordable price point.

With our accountancy client base growing beyond 10,500 subscribers and our Crunch Chorus membership rapidly growing beyond 22,000 members, we’ve been busy behind the scenes refining our service and our software experience. In the last couple of years, we’ve made bold leaps into new technology, new software architecture, and new design systems. Now, from October 2019 all our clients will see the first visual changes as we roll out our newly designed navigation and Help panel.

Over the last 10 years, our clients have constantly shared feature ideas, pain points and improvements that would help make their lives easier, and we’ve listened intently to what matters to them. Simpler bank reconciliation and bank integrations, better mobile experience and an easier way to get help with more complicated accountancy matters are often mentioned, so we’ve been busy planning how to best improve these areas - among many others.

To give you a glimpse of what’s under the bonnet, our new software will be built as a lightweight single page application using ReactJS technology. We use the Seam framework for our current software so there will be a gradual transition over time. We’re completely rebuilding the frontend UI as React components and building up a library so that we can accelerate the rebuild by re-using these components as we go. We’re also moving to a new backend architecture and building out business micro-services. Coupled with a shift towards continuous deployments, this will mean quicker improvements, faster load times and more scope for new features. We’ve also completely redesigned our security and authentication system so that we can implement role-based login and dynamic UI, content, and support for our different types of clients.

We know we can’t improve everything at once, so we decided to start with a software beta programme that we made available to a small number of clients initially. This allowed a controlled group to try our new software as we were building it, and helped us to get it right (by telling us what was working well and what wasn’t so good) as we went. In October 2019, we’ll move all of our clients over to the first release version of the new software.

We’ve started with a new type of navigation and a help section that will blend with our existing software, and we’re already working on our next steps, including new expenses, sales (invoices), and banking areas. We’ll follow a similar beta rollout for each of the stages.

Feedback from our clients, as always, is critical as we redevelop Crunch, so we’ve made sure there’s an easy way to share ideas and issues (as well as telling us what works well!) as we progress. Many of our clients are software engineers and designers, so we expect that you’ll not only be interested in being part of the ongoing beta phases, but you’ll also want to know what we’ve been working on and how we’ve been working on it. For that reason, we’ll be blogging about our journey (in fact, we’ve already started!) and sharing updates as we go.

Software updates

At Crunch, we’re always looking for ways to make our clients’ lives even easier. Our online accounting software updates are designed to make managing and viewing your finances simple and clear. Check out some of our latest releases below, and discover all of our upcoming features on our public Trello board.

Bank Rec Improvements

Released February 2018

We’ve simplified the Bank Reconciliation experience by building a matching algorithm, designed to intuitively match bank statement entries to those in our client’s Crunch account.

Some of these helpful changes include the removal of restrictions in reconciliation order, and the ability to order Crunch records based on date or value.

CT600 Auto Generation and Submission

Released April 2018

We’ve written a series of clever algorithms to automate the generation of CT600 tax returns, providing our clients with a slick and reliable service. Upon client approval, the submission is directly sent to HMRC and Companies House for filing.

Automation like this reduces the number of accounting errors sometimes seen in traditional practise, and provides our clients with an efficient, stress-free service.

Performance charting/insight

Released September 2018

We’re always looking for new ways to present our clients’ accounts clearly and efficiently. That’s why we introduced a new feature devised to run calculations over a client’s data, analyse their accounts and present real-time results in an attractive, user-friendly format.

We used a beta programme to make sure the tool provided clients with the instant, clear and up-to-date insight they require when they’re doing business on the go.

Open Banking integration (in beta)

Released January 2019

New legislation requires banks to securely share transaction data with third parties (with customer approval).

This feature is currently in private beta with three of our clients’ most popular banks.

With your permission, this means your business bank statements can appear in your Crunch account in near-real-time, ready to be reconciled. No more fiddling with .CSV files or reconciling using the outdated paper method.

Making Tax Digital compatibility

Released April 2019

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is the government’s programme to transform the tax system and move it fully online. MTD will affect VAT registered businesses from April 2019 with further changes expected in 2020 and beyond.

We’ve been working with HMRC for some time to make sure that our software was MTD ready by the 1st April 2019, and we’re delighted to announce that we’ve been officially confirmed as MTD-compatible by HMRC.

Invoicing and expensing improved for mobile

Released May 2019

We’ve been working on making our expenses and invoicing sections more mobile-friendly. Each section has been improved to make text boxes, drop-downs, displays, and buttons easier to access on a smaller screen.

We focused on making these sections responsive and easy-to-use on smart phones. We’re pleased to have been able to deliver this for our clients as invoices and expenses are two of the most frequently-used areas of the Crunch system.

Moving to Single Sign-On

Released July 2019

At Crunch we’re always looking for ways to make our software more stable and secure. Much like the British Cycling Team, we look for every incremental gain we can, so ahead of the rebuilding of our Crunch online accounting software, we’ve made a number of under-the-hood changes.

Amongst these is the introduction of a single sign-on security environment that will allow us to deliver updates more frequently, with less downtime, and featuring enhanced security across all the services on our platform.

The Crunch software rebuild has begun

Released October 2019

We’re delighted to let you know that we’ve now released a new version of our Crunch software to all of our limited company clients.

Over the last few years, we’ve been working really hard on a huge number of improvements that will make our software easier to use, faster, and more stable.

The software is being redesigned with mobile-first principles, which will make it even easier to use across more devices with a cleaner, fresher design. So far, the major changes we’ve been making have been under-the-hood, preparing our software for future improvements to important sections such as Expenses, Sales, and Banking, but this first release also delivers a fresh clean interface and a new navigation menu for a more streamlined user experience.

Open Banking for all Barclays clients released

Released October 2019 (for beta clients)

We’ve been working hard over the past year to get our Open Banking solution live. We’ve partnered with TrueLayer to get secure access for our clients to a number of High Street and online banks. Our Private Beta went live in January and highlighted a number of issues with the way the data from the banks was sent to providers, leading to duplicate transactions appearing in Crunch - not ideal!

This meant we had to rebuild our solution as the data format limitations were unlikely to be resolved by the banks. We’re pleased to say that we’ve now released Open Banking, initially for all Crunch clients with a Barclays Bank account (replacing our previous Barclays Data Feed), and we’ll be making it available to many more clients and adding new banks over the next few months. Stay tuned for updates!

Open Banking integration extended to four new banks

Released December 2019

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve extended our Open Banking compatibility to four more banks: Lloyds, Santander, Starling, and Halifax.

Our expansion plans don’t end here, though - we expect to have Open Banking integration with another major two banks before the end of 2019, so watch this space!

Open Banking integration extended to two new banks

Released December 2019

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve extended our Open Banking compatibility to two more banks: Natwest and HSBC. This now takes us up to seven major UK banks that are now compatible with our Open Banking software.

Open Banking has been one of our most-requested features, allowing you to connect your bank records straight to your Crunch account, and import up to 80 days worth of bank records. This helps speed up the bank reconciliation process and saves you from manually uploading .csv files.

Exciting new upgrades to Crunch are on their way!

Coming soon

We’ve been listening to our clients’ feedback and have focused our efforts on improving the areas of the software that you use the most. Over the next year, we’ll be rolling out further changes, starting with rebuilding our expenses, sales (invoicing), and banking sections. These three areas are the most used sections in our software and we know all our clients will benefit from the improved design and usability, speeding up and streamlining their experience of using Crunch. We’ll be improving the speed and stability of our platform, adding quicker processes for clients, more bank integrations, and simpler reconciliation. We’re working to integrate video chat to supplement our existing in-app chat and much, much more. In short, a completely new Crunch experience!

The software is being redesigned with mobile-first principles, which will make it even easier to use across more devices with a cleaner, fresher design, as we discussed in our Redesigning Crunch article. The biggest changes so far have been to the underlying technology, making our software even more secure and stable and allowing us to release future updates and improvements faster than ever before. All of the rebuilt services will launch in the same way our recent software updates, firstly being released as a beta and then rolled out to our entire client base. If you want to be part of the beta to receive early access to the latest features and be part of rebuilding Crunch, you can fill in our Crunch Beta application.

Revamped refer-a-friend scheme

Released February 2020

We believe that one good deed deserves another here at Crunch, which is why we set about revamping our refer-a-friend scheme to thank and reward those who tell their friends about our award-winning accounting services.

We’ve introduced a new tiered reward system, where the more you refer, the greater your reward! We’ve also made it easier than ever to refer a friend to Crunch - head to the refer a friend section and grab your referral code or referral link, and we’ll do the rest!

Expenses section upgraded

Released February 2020

We’ve been working hard on a complete rebuild and redesign of our Crunch software to continue to offer the most intuitive, user-friendly online accountancy software on the market, and our expenses upgrades are just the latest step in our redevelopment.

The new improvements to our Crunch Expenses section include a complete mobile-first redesign, faster page loading, the ability to upload bigger attachments using our new drag and drop functionality, and various other improvements that will allow you to manage every aspect of your business expenses on any device, whenever and wherever you want. Most of our clients are already using the new section, and we’re hoping to complete the switch over for all clients very soon.

Banking beta

In development

Work continues on the rebuild of our Crunch software, and the next big objective on our to-do list is a redesign of our banking module. We’ll start with the basic banking functionality, including managing linked accounts, before moving onto a complete rebuild of our bank reconciliation functionality.

We’ve already begun rolling out access to our banking beta so our clients can help shape the redevelopment of one of our most important functionalities. Our beta clients can switch between the Beta and Classic versions of our banking module using the toggle at the top of the banking screen.

Interested in how we work?

Our Tech Blog features an array of articles from our Crunch development team, covering all the new releases we’ve been working on. From design to development processes, we’re passionate about sharing our work with the outside world.

View our Tech Blog →