How Raedan are educating creative business owners on accounting practices
Accounting is often seen as a numbers industry, steeped in paperwork and dense tax compliance. While that is part of the job, it’s not the true mission of an accountant. Instead, they’re dedicated to helping people achieve their professional, personal and financial goals.
That’s what drives Jonathan Bareham and his team at Raedan: they want to make meaningful differences in their clients’ lives. And with a background in computer science, Jonathan was excited to embrace technology to help them support, communicate with, and educate their clients.
Jonathan started Raedan in 2010 when he was 27 years old. His father is an accountant (who is also a director with him at Raedan), but Jonathan didn’t have any leadership or business experience to speak of. He had to figure everything out as he went along, and while it was a challenge, his fresh perspective helped him to find creative solutions to common industry problems. As he puts it, “the good thing was that I didn't have the weight of tradition.”
Based in Covent Garden, Raedan loves working with creatives. “We’ve always specialized in working with creatives. For us, that’s anything from creative agencies to media—so TV, film and music.” Jonathan finds their similar values help them to do their best work. One client even said to him, “I don’t really think of you as an accounting firm, I think of you as another agency.”
Jonathan’s interest in technology endeared him to clients from that industry as well. “We appealed because tech clients saw that we were using a lot of tech within our own business, so it naturally worked.”
Jonathan’s computer science background meant he was selective with which software to bring into his firm. According to Jonathan, adopting new software works better when “we’ve identified a problem and gone out and found [a solution],” instead of blindly following industry standards.
Educating by showing not telling
Educating business owners has always been a priority for Jonathan and his team. He wants to give his clients the confidence and knowledge they need to be financially astute.
“A big part of what I want Raedan to be is a team of educators, not just advisors.”
“It’s not just telling people ‘this is what it is and this is what you should do’, but giving them the why they should do it, and helping them understand it.”
Jonathan acknowledges that while the compliance work is essential, an accountant also plays the role of translator: “It’s about understanding business owners. It’s about translating really complex matters into a language that those business owners can understand [so they can] use that information to do better in whatever way they want to.”
That’s why Raedan is always looking to improve efficiency, so they can spend more time with their clients, teaching and working through strategy.
Getting started with Karbon
Look and feel
It was Karbon’s interface that first appealed to Jonathan: “The thing that stood out for us was that Karbon was attractive as a piece of software. For usability, you wanted to go into Karbon. Whereas some of the competitors we were looking into at the time felt like you were going back to Windows 95.”
Software UI matters to Jonathan because the look affects how interested you’ll be in engaging with it. “If I want to go into it and the team wants to go into it and it’s easy to use and you want to use it, then you’ll use it. But if it is ugly, clunky, or has too many things in the way, then that’s a barrier to usage.”
Moving away from the traditional email inbox
Raedan was one of Karbon’s very first UK customers, getting started in early 2017. While it was an adjustment moving from Gmail to a new-look inbox in Triage, the team quickly started to see the benefits. Now they’ve significantly cut down the number of emails they send by using Karbon’s commenting function for internal communication.
Centralize, streamline, and automate
Having everything in one, easy-to-access location has made life easier for the team at Raedan: “The main thing is having everything in one system—the communications and the workflows—and the ability to very easily assign and comment.”
He specifically calls out the automated client reminders and requests: “As an example, for personal tax on the 1st of May, questionnaires all go out to clients from Karbon automatically. We know they’ve gone.”
“It’s the confidence in knowing that those really important things aren’t ever missed with Karbon.”
What Jonathan would love to see—and he is seeing it more and more—is total adoption of Karbon’s features. He wants people to dive deep into Karbon functionality because “when you really engage with Karbon and you use it, it’s brilliant.”
Accountants don't just help businesses, they help people
It’s not just about putting businesses in the black for Raedan. It’s about recognizing that profit can help people achieve tangible, personal goals.
For example, one of Jonathan’s clients wanted to take a big step in life and sought his help: “I had a client who came to me and said, ‘I want to propose to my girlfriend and I’d like to buy a ring. I need £3000. How can I get that money from my business?’” Jonathan recalls.
Fast forward and that client is now happily married, which is what it’s all about for Raedan: “That’s the thing for me, that’s what makes this job amazing.”
Jonathan doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to be proud of what he does—he just wants to help. Talking about changing lives, he says: “We change them or we make them easier, or we give some reassurance that everything is going to be okay.”
As far as Jonathan is concerned, anything that makes it easier for Raedan to help clients is welcome: “Anything Karbon can do to help us from a customer service point of view is going to be really important.”
He recognizes “the interactions we have with clients, most of the time they’re seeking some kind of reassurance: ‘Am I doing okay?’ What else can I do better?’”
Another client of theirs has gone from strength to strength with her jewelry business. “Over the last six years or so years of working with her, she has gone from working off her kitchen table to a multi-million pound business. Through the vast majority of that time, we’ve been using Karbon to help serve her.”
No question is too big or too little for Raedan, and this client was able to grow her business knowing she had the support she needed. When her business exploded in popularity, she already had Raedan there doing the accounts. She had the systems in place to handle the growth.
“Over that time, she has taken on more service and more support from us. Karbon has been there in the background the whole time as we’ve helped her further and further. It’s played its role in making sure we’re communicating with her as well as we can, and that we are communicating with her team as they grow.”
Getting behind people to succeed
People comprise businesses. People aren’t going to find happiness unless the success of their business translates into success for them as a person. Raedan are committed to making that a reality for their clients.
Behind every successful business are people who work tirelessly, think creatively, and strive to do something different. And Raedan are well equipped to support those people, because they are those people.
Leverage their tech stack to reduce manual processes, so they can focus on supporting clients via accounting education
Centralized communication and collaboration
Reduced email noise with Triage and email commenting in Karbon
Services: Tax, Accounting, Bookkeeping, Payroll, Advisory, Change Management
Location: London, UK
Firm Size: 4-10 Employees
Years of Operation: 13 Years
Karbon User For: 6 Years, 7 Months
- Leverage their tech stack to reduce manual processes, so they can focus on supporting clients via accounting education
- Centralized communication and collaboration
- Reduced email noise with Triage and email commenting in Karbon