Founders: Daniel Hogan and Aaron Shaw
Business: An accounting and tax app automating heavily manual processes.
From its conception in early 2019, Ember has been all about taking the pain out of tax and accounting for business owners. Born from first-hand frustration with the business admin process, Aaron Shaw (CEO) — then running his own IT consultancy — realised that most of what he was doing could be automated and, after teaming up with Chartered Accountant Dan Hogan (COO), hatched a plan to launch the first app dedicated to automating the entire business tax compliance process.
Before Ember, business admin was a gruelling, expensive process. Business owners had two options: either splash out on an old-school, overpriced accountant, or adopt an accounting software that, riddled with jargon, would leave business owners unsure of the state of their taxes, resulting in erroneous reports and needless penalties from HMRC. Recognising this, Aaron and Dan realised a solution: an accounting and tax app that automated heavily manual processes, with a support team of qualified accountants on hand to offer business advice in layman’s terms, helping owners not only avoid hefty HMRC fines, but get more of their money back through tax optimisation. With the future of accounting mapped out in front of them, Aaron and Dan wowed investors, subsequently raising £1.6 million in their seed funding round early 2021.
Pioneering this revolutionary change to an industry renowned for its timely, costly and archaic approach to tax and accounting, however, has not been without obstacles. With so much of the business administration sphere still heavily dependent on inefficient accountants and outdated accounting software, Ember needed to build a product agile enough to meet the multifaceted demands of a tech-oriented generation of entrepreneurs, all the while keeping their finger on the pulse of the latest government legislation.
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Despite the challenges ahead, Ember has already made tax less taxing for business owners by slashing the touchpoints that elongate the process of getting any business admin done. From building the first integration with Companies House to file Annual Accounts directly from the app, to solving complex accounting concepts —for example, Foreign Exchange — faced by businesses filing their taxes, Ember has saved business owners an average of **13 hours a week** on business admin.
In pursuit of their goal to make business admin simpler for all business owners, in October 2021 Dan and Aaron set their team a challenge. From having solely supported limited companies up until this point, Ember was opening its doors to sole traders, with just 6 weeks to build and launch a working product. With demonstrable leadership and an effective strategy in place, a new solution was operational, with sole traders fully supported by November 2021.
With a staggering 500 sole traders acquired in January 2022 alone, the Ember team doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. An integration with Shopify is set to launch soon, and with Making Tax Digital for Income Tax becoming mandatory in 2024 for all business owners earning over £10,000, Ember are on course to become a HMRC approved supplier in the coming months.
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