By @SimonCocking , interview with Larissa Feeney, ACA, CEO of Accountant Online

 Describe the company – the elevator pitch …

Accountant Online is a firm of chartered accountants serving Ireland and the UK. We specialise in new business startups, taking care of tax and compliance, company formation, software and banking advice for new business startups.

How are you different?

We are dedicated to startups; this means that we are with you from company formation stage right through to managing your tax and compliance. We use technology to enable our clients to contact us more easily, quickly and to be able to access their accounting information online whenever they need. Our clients tell us that this accessibility makes us more approachable and efficient than traditional accountants. Our fees are transparent and affordable for startups on a budget, but the service is professional and trusted by small businesses at every stage of growth. Cross border expertise comes naturally to us as our HQ is in Donegal and this is also an aspect that is growing in its appeal as many UK firms are setting up in Ireland.

Why will the company/product do well?

We think we will continue to do well because clients are increasingly comfortable developing professional relationships online.

Where are you based?

Our HQ is in Donegal, we have offices in Derry and in Dublin and we employ accountants throughout the island serving the UK and Ireland.

When was the company launched?

I had a practice in Donegal for many years and then launched the accountantonline.ie brand in 2015.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

The rate of growth has been the biggest win and an endorsement of the work we are doing. Selecting a good accountant for your new business is a big decision. Traditionally you would meet your accountant in their office, shake hands and begin a formal relationship. However, most of our clients meet us via Skype or phone call and we exchange documents and formalities online. It is still a trusted and professional relationship, but it is built and maintained virtually and clients really enjoy that efficiency.

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?

We can best serve startup businesses in the professional consultancy, IT sectors. These businesses are comfortable working with us on Skype, using accounting software if they need to and they appreciate being able to access their accountant easily.We enjoy helping startups take care of the type of work that most entrepreneurs don’t enjoy; tax and compliance and company secretarial duties!

What tips would you give to others looking to build their business?

In my experience, our success has come from focusing on the client; listening to them and building our business around their needs and our skills. There are many other tips I could share that I’ve learned from others, but obsessing about service is the one that comes to mind as the most important. Leading into that is the need to improve our professional knowledge; people come to us for our expertise, so we have to continually upskill and be aware of issues that will impact our clients’ business.

Tell us about your team?

We began as an online startup ourselves just over 2 years ago and we work with vendors, clients and colleagues in a very virtual way which is enjoyable and easier than acting as a traditional high street accountancy firm in Ireland. Our team is spread across the island and mostly consists of chartered and certified accountants. This year we added a dedicated client services team in Dublin and a company secretarial department which takes care of company formations and manages registered office services for clients.

What are your long term plans for your product/company?

For now, our goal is to learn more about how we can improve our service to clients. Long term we would like to grow our company formations department and make it easier for people to set up their company online in Ireland.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

I love my iphone

What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?

Everyone is talking about AI in accountancy; I’d like to explore how chatbots and other tech could help our clients, but for now I am enjoying human interaction with clients.

Anything else you’d like to add/we should have asked?

We hold free live webinars each month for startups confused about how to set up their companies or what tax they need to pay; check out the schedule for the next webinar https://accountantonline.ie/advice-guidance-event-startups/

How do people get in touch with you?

Call us on 01 905 9364 or email us on [email protected] or visit https://accountantonline.ie
https://twitter.com/accountantonli9


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking