Crunch seems like a solid way of combining a software service with the reassuring backup of support personnel who can talk you through the various processes involved with getting your accounting chores completed.
Quick and convenient
Real person support
Lots of help available
Phone consultation required
Costs can escalate
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Crunch is an interesting proposition, especially for the likes of freelancers, contractors, those who are self-employed and small business owners especially during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The company now has Crunch Free too, an entry-level online accounting software package that supplements its paid-for options.
It’s not a one-stop accounting solution however, even though using their online outlet is one part of the process. In fact, along with that you also get to work hand-in-hand with their accountancy advisors, so you get the benefit of a decent online solution as well as having the bonus of being able to check things over with real people.
For some this might be the ultimate solution as it combines the convenience of an online software service with the back up of capable advisors. However, you might also want to look at alternatives, such as Sage Business Cloud Accounting, QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Freeagent, GoSimpleTax, TaxCalc, Nomisma, ABC Self-Assessment or Zoho Books.
- Want to try Crunch? Check out the website here
Alongside its free edition, Crunch currently comes in three different pricing tiers. There’s a Sole Trader entry package that costs from £29.50 plus VAT per month. Drill down into the more specific options and you’ll find the Basic has the initial pricing, while a Plus version costs £39.50 plus VAT per month. There’s also a Premium edition for £59.50 per month plus VAT.
Next up, there’s Crunch Two, which is a limited company model that costs from £71.50 plus VAT per month that allows you to build a package based on your individual needs. A Plus variant costs £109.50 plus VAT per month.
Following on from that there is Crunch Three, which is aimed at the small business owner and costs from £196.50 plus VAT per month.
Crunch comes bristling with oodles of rock-solid features that aim to get you through your accounting and financial management chores without too much pain. The feature set is essentially a two-pronged arrangement in that there are real humans that you speak with over the phone, or by email, and then there is the Crunch web interface, that is accessed online.
By combining these two features you’ll find that Crunch is a great solution for anyone running their own business who might need some human intervention as they navigate their finances.
That web interface comes packed with features and functions, including core sections that sit under the headings of Sales, Expenses, Banking, Pay Yourself, Company Tax, Accountancy and Self Assessment. In other words, all bases are covered.
We found Crunch to be very impressive when working in and around the main dashboard space. The design seems to have been very carefully thought through, meaning that the workspace is clean and efficient.
Crunch is also currently enjoying some ongoing revisions too, so improvements are appearing all the time it seems. Being an online web-based arrangement you’ll obviously need to be connected to the internet in order to work within Crunch.
Plus, the other bonus is that should you encounter any performance issues along the way then you’ll be able to contact one of your support advisors to get reassurance or help if anything seems to have gone awry.
Ease of use
Crunch has a very decent website that is certainly intuitive, especially when you're first setting things up. Once you’ve got all of your login information sorted and an account set up you’ll be taken into the main online dashboard area.
This is the starting point for all of your Crunch activities, with all of the core options laid out in an easy to master interface. The main menu options are listed to the left of the screen, and these work in hierarchical fashion, so you can drill down through their individual features as and when you need to.
As for the main workspace across the page; this is also nicely laid out and showcases even numbers-heavy content such as bank transactions and expenses. Getting around these areas is, therefore, pretty enjoyable on the whole.
You’ll find that support is never far away when you’re in the Crunch zone. Indeed, within the interface itself you can navigate to a dedicated Can We Help? button on the lower left side of the service. A big part of the Crunch experience is having that support of real people, and you can do this with ease, via the phone.
There’s also an email address if you’d prefer to get things down in writing. Meanwhile, a searchable help centre area covers many of the more obvious questions about accounting and more besides. Remember too that you’ll also get a bit of an initial primer from a Crunch advisor, which acts as a great introduction to the service and website interface.
Equally, it also provides you with a perfect opportunity to ask any questions that you might have beforehand, prior to dipping into the Crunch workspace.
All in all Crunch makes for a very capable accounting package that delivers the best of both worlds on the bookkeeping front. You’ll get an introductory chat with an advisor, which helps you decide which package is right for you and that support continues throughout your subscription time.
Adding to the value is the web-based interface, which comes fully featured and proves to be simple and straightforward to navigate. Indeed, the usability factor within Crunch seems very good indeed, with even more complex areas enjoyable simple to pick through.
Top it all off with lots of support structure and Crunch is well worthy of investigation. It might not be the cheapest out there, but you do get quite a lot for your money.
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Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.