Redesigning Crunch software

We’re redesigning our software

Posted on 7th May 2019

Our 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.

As our accountancy client base has grown beyond 10,000 subscribers and our Crunch Chorus membership is rapidly growing beyond 11,000 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.

Over the last 10 years, our clients have constantly shared feature ideas, pain points and things that would help make their lives easier with us, 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 we best improve these and other areas.

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’ve decided to introduce a new software beta programme that we’ll be making available to a small number of clients over the coming weeks. This will be a chance for interested clients to try our new software as we build it and help us to get it right (by telling us what works and what doesn't) as we go. We’ll be starting with a new type of navigation and help section that will blend with our existing software but then we’ll quickly move onto a new expenses area. After that, we’ll be re-working each area of software in phases. Feedback from our clients will be critical during this beta programme so there will be an easy way to share problems 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 beta 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 started that already) and sharing updates as we go.