Friday, January 2, 2015

Interview: Tim Fouracre, CEO of London cloud accounting company Clear Books on crowdfunding and international aspirations

Ellen Forster for Bdaily writes: London-based cloud accounting software company Clear Books currently has customers in over 70 countries, and has recently opened its first international office in the Netherlands.
Bdaily talked to Tim Fouracre, CEO of Clear Books, about the company’s own crowdfunding platform as well as his plans for 2015.
Tim said: "Cloud accounting is growing in popularity because it offers small companies a convenient, flexible and time saving way to do their accounts.  
"Clear Books attracts a range of customers that includes IT companies, such as web developers, designers, online marketing agencies and contractors.
"We also have a lot of general practice accountants using the software and their clients are in a broad range of sectors from construction to photography."
Clear Books recently opened its first Netherlands office, Tim said: "Although we started out in the UK and are based primarily here in the South East of England, we have customers throughout the UK and in over 70 other countries.
""The Netherlands office opening is a first in terms of us setting up a subsidiary in another country and in many respects this is a pilot for us expanding through the whole of Europe.
The Netherlands is a market with a huge number of small businesses – the Dutch have a very entrepreneurial culture and that appealed to us, given our focus on smaller companies."
Clearbooks currently employs over 40 people with most new staff members coming from referrals from existing employees.  
"Accounting has a long history and in recent times the accounting software market has tended to be dominated by large desktop software providers whose business models have remained largely static.  
"The cloud has changed all that and Clear Books set out on a journey to disrupt the market in the UK by offering services that are not only modern and innovative, but also highly beneficial.   
"Although we’ve broken the mould, it’s important for us to keep on our toes and we do this by working in a highly collaborative way with our customers – what we call our community."
Tim told us about his plans for 2015, as well as the company’s very own crowdfunding platform: "By working in partnership with our customers, it means that we have our own product roadmap but this is heavily influenced by the evolving and adapting needs of our customers and the challenges and opportunities they face.  
"In February 2015 will be hosting a special one off Clear Books Community Exhibition in London which reinforces this approach.
We are always on the lookout for traditional and new problems so that we can have a go at cracking them."
"Our vision is to double the number of small businesses we help each year and in 2015 we hope to achieve this in the UK and by expanding internationally.  
"Crowdfunding, which we have undertaken ourselves rather than going down a crowdfunding platform route, means that we are in a position to invest further in aspects of the company which will fuel further growth.
"We continue to enhance our core services as well as introducing new ones, and in 2015 we will be launching Final Accounts for micro businesses that will enable them to submit accounts directly and effortlessly to Companies House."
In 2014, Clear Books won several industry awards as well as plaudits, Tim said: "We hope to see more of the same in 2015 as more people and businesses recognise what we believe is a great British success story emerging out of the South East of England."

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