In this independent Crunch review we take a look at the features, set up process and pricing, paying particular attention to its free online bookkeeping software aimed at freelancers and small businesses. We also explain how Money to the Masses readers can take advantage of an exclusive discount for the first 12 months*.
What is Crunch accounting?
Crunch was founded in 2007 by CEO and founder Darren Fell after growing frustrated with the shortfalls of traditional accountancy firms. The aim was to create an all-inclusive, fairly priced service designed specifically with freelancers, contractors and small businesses in mind. Much like its competitors Quickbooks, Xero and Sage, Crunch has three subscription plans that customers can pay to access; what sets Crunch apart, however, is its free online bookkeeping software and we talk more about that later in this review.
Crunch accounting features
Below is a list of the main features that Crunch online accounting offers. We provide a comprehensive list of features for each of the Crunch accounting subscription plans later in this article including its free bookkeeping package.
- Free bookkeeping software - Crunch provide free online bookkeeping software aimed at freelancers and small businesses which it promises to keep free for life.
- Unlimited expenses - All packages allow you to upload an unlimited number of expenses
- Unlimited sales invoices - The number of invoices that can be created and saved is unlimited
- Easy bank reconciliation - Reconcile income and expenditure quickly and easily with open banking connectivity
- Receipt scanning app - Scan an unlimited number of receipts
- Tripcatcher business mileage app - Track your business mileage quickly and easily
- HMRC registration - Register with HMRC through the software and receive support along the way
- Self assessment submission - Comprehensive review and ongoing support with annual online self assessment submissions
- Access to fully qualified accountants - Speak with fully qualified accountants to answer your business accounting questions
- VAT and Corporate tax filing - Crunch accountants will prepare, check, and file your Corporation Tax returns for you
- IR35 solutions - Help with complex IR35 rule changes including bespoke risk assessment
Crunch online accounting software packages and features
Crunch* has a free bookkeeping option aimed at freelancers and small business start-ups as well as a number of paid subscription plans. Each plan can be tailored meaning users can bolt-on additional features as and when their business needs them. Below we compare the four main packages on offer. Money to the Masses has secured an exclusive offer where new members can get £5 per month off the sole trader package for the first year or 10% off of the limited company package. Use discount code: MTTM21
Crunch subscription packages for freelancers, sole traders and limited companies
|Pro (Sole Trader)
£24.50 + VAT per month*
|Pro (Limited Company)
£71.50 + VAT per month*
|Premium (Limited Company)
£109.50 + VAT per month*
|Online Accounting software|
|Unlimited sales invoices|
|Free open banking links|
|Easy bank reconciliation|
|Ask an accountant|
|Receipt scanning app|
|Tripcatcher business mileage app|
|Discounts on Mortgage services and Business insurance|
|Unlimited accountancy support|
|Self assessment submission|
|Dedicated client management|
|Year end accounts|
|VAT and Corporate tax filing|
|Unlimited phone and email support|
|Company formation, registration for company taxes & Registered Office address|
|Annual accountancy healthcheck|
*Use code MTTM21 to get £5 per month off of the sole trader package or 10% off of the limited company package for the first 12 months
How does Crunch accounting work?
Setting up a Crunch account is fairly straightforward. Once you provide your name, email address and type of business, you'll receive an email inviting you to finalise the setup process within a couple of minutes. In order to make use of the main features - such as sending invoices and sorting your expenses - you'll need to complete your business address and bank details. Again, this is fairly straightforward, however, there is a handy 'Getting started' guide that will walk you through the process as well as a number of tutorial videos.
The features included in the free bookkeeping software package are perfectly suited to sole traders and freelancers, especially if they have some prior accounting knowledge. Those with a more complex business structure or with little or no accounting background may be better off signing up to a paid subscription as these come with unlimited accountancy support. You can still gain access to a dedicated accountant on the free bookkeeping package, however, you'll have to pay for the advice that you receive, with prices quoted at £39.95 + VAT for sessions up to 1 hour. Users on the free bookkeeping package can snap and upload up to 15 receipts for free each month and those who need access to more can pay to upgrade for £3.50 + VAT per month.
Users can choose to start off with a free account with the option to upgrade at a later time, or alternatively, they can subscribe to one of the paid subscriptions from the outset.
Crunch customer reviews
Crunch is rated as 'Excellent' on independent review site Trustpilot with a score of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars from just over 650 reviews. 75% of customers rate it as 'Excellent' with many commenting on its intuitive software and knowledgable team of accountants. Around 12% rate it as 'Bad' with some saying they have problems closing down their company and response times being longer than they had hoped.
Pros and Cons of Crunch accounting software
- Free bookkeeping software available
- Unlimited access to qualified accountants on some plans
- Depending on the complexity of your business, you may not require the additional services of your own personal accountant
- Free bookkeeping software is fairly limited
- VAT submission is an extra £5.00 per month on the basic plan
- Payroll option is expensive
How does Crunch compare to its competitors?
Below we have provided a simple table that compares Crunch to three of its closest competitors. It is important to remember when comparing online accounting software packages that Crunch provides something a little bit different to its competitors. It provides additional accounting support with all of its paid plans which includes access to qualified accountants who handle everything from registration with HMRC to submission of year-end accounts.
Crunch vs Quickbooks vs Xero vs Sage
|Basic plan cost per month||£24.50||£12.00||£10.00||£12.00|
|Intermediate plan cost per month||£71.50||£20.00||£24.00||£24.00|
|Premium plan cost per month||£109.50||£30.00||£30.00||£30.00|
|Bespoke small business package with dedicated accountant||£196.50||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Payroll cost per month||£16.50 (1-5) £21.50 (6-10) - Payroll is included in the small business package||£4.00 or £8.00||£5.00||£7.00|
|Calculate and submit VAT returns||Yes - Not available on the free plan. An additional £5.00 per month on the basic plan and included in the intermediate and premium plans.||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Unlimited invoices and quotes||Included in all plans||Included in all plans||Upgrade to intermediate required||Included in all plans|
|Capture bills and receipts||Yes - only 15 captures on the free option then £3.50 per month to upgrade||Included in all plans||Included in all plans||Upgrade to intermediate required|
|Free bookkeeping option||Yes||No||No||No|
|Access to qualified accountants||Yes||No||No||No|
All costs in the above table are excluding VAT
Who is Crunch accounting good for?
Crunch online accounting software provides a perfect solution for freelancers and small business start-ups. Providing a free bookkeeping option that promises to remain free for life is innovative, allowing users to get to grips with how online accounting software works and whether it is a good fit for their business. Crunch provides a flexible solution for businesses that are growing and who may need additional accounting support from a qualified accountant. Additionally, new users can take advantage of an exclusive Money to the Masses sign up offer*. Save £5 per month on the sole trader package or get 10% off a limited company package for the first 12 months. Use code: MTTM 21
While researching online reviews, we noted that there has been a small amount of criticism levelled at Crunch surrounding the response times for certain accounting queries. If your business has a complex setup or you require immediate action then you may be better looking at cheaper online software and employing the services of a personal accountant. It is worth remembering however that any accountant you employ will have other clients who are likely to take priority from time to time. Additionally, complex accounting tasks such as tax and business planning can come at a cost of around £125-£150 per hour and so the fees can quickly add up. Crunch provides an all-in-one accounting solution at a fixed cost; an important consideration for businesses that are starting out and who want to keep costs under control.
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