Countingup, a new fintech startup from Tim Fouracre, who previously founded cloud accounting software Clear Books, wants to simplify the life of sole traders by reinventing the business bank account. Specifically, Fouracre’s vision is that for one-person enterprises, business banking and accounting software should be merged so that book keeping and filing accounts can be automated.
To make this a reality, the young company has picked up €750,000 in founding led by Frontline Ventures. Others participating in the round include Will Neale (Founder of Fonix & Grabyo), Ben Grol (Partner at Atomico), Ben Heald (Chair of Sift, Edo, eFiling & Bristol Pound), and Andy Chung (AngelList).
The capital will be used to launch the Countingup banking account in the U.K. later this year, with the combined accounting functionality to follow early next year.
“I first had the idea for combining accounting and banking about three years ago,” Fouracre tells me. “Earlier this year I began to realise the idea was a real possibility and in September I officially got to work on the project full time”.
After downloading the Countingup for iOS or Andriod, you’ll be able to open a current account on your smartphone in around 5 minutes. The account will come with a U.K. sort code/account number and a contactless Mastercard.
However, once rolled out, the Countingup app will also automate your accounting, including reconciliation of expenses. It will submit VAT returns, generate a profit and loss report and create invoices.
“If you are running a business then bookkeeping is a chore, wastes your time and is boring,” adds Fouracre. “Your bank surprises you with hidden fees and you’ve probably lost faith in their customer service. Countingup is making starting and running a business really simple for sole traders. We’re doing that by combining accounting and banking into one simple smarthphone app”.
The Countingup founder says there are as many as 4.2 million sole traders in the UK i.e. businesses with no more than one employee in the business, and that this is the market the fintech startup is working hard on serving. “This includes everyone from your construction sub contractor to your IT freelancer, whether they are self employed or operating as a limited company,” he says.
In addition to the banks, Countingup counts pure accounting software plays as competitors, such as Sage and Xero, who are increasingly integrating with bank account products. As an example, Curve, the London fintech startup that lets you consolidate all your bank cards into a single card and track your spending, recently partnered with accounting software Xero to automate the filing of business expenses. (Update: Another direct competitor is Coconut, which is set to launch later this year and is also targeting freelancers and self-employed people.)