Coconut offering Accounting Services

Coconut Accounting Services, starting from just £25 / month

One of our clients just received an email from Coconut offering Accounting Services at fixed prices that undercut our own published pries and more importantly undercut the fees we are currently charging this client.

So at least we know where we stand now, which is a shame after all the effort we had put into partnering with Coconut, but nevertheless an important lesson for us to learn. If we want to include in our plans the services offered by a third party, we had better be sure we understand that third party’s future business model BEFORE we plaster their name and links to their service all over our website!

There were clues in the funding information (obviously not aimed at accounting partners) so we hadn’t placed any new business with Coconut and we only have a couple of clients it will effect.

For those end users on here who wish to avail themselves of the new Coconut Accounting Service its good deal, and I am sure they will be well served. I would be surprised it if does actually include accountants outside Coconut employment, as we certainly weren’t approached as existing accounting partners before the launch.

To market to our clients directly is of course underhand and sneaky, thank goodness we have a loyal customer base and the only client who noticed let us know. Fortunately we did have a plan, identical to the plan the client noticed Coconut offering him, and so we were able to offer this as an alternative that would reduce his existing fee - he didn’t choose to accept our offer as he felt the extra services we have provided on a personal one to one basis were more than worth the £20 saving.

So thank you to that client for helping lift our morale and goodbye Coconut as a business partner (and hello Tide, Starling and any number of other FinTech banks who already help us categorise trading data in a way we can best use to advise our clients on tax savings and prepare their statutory accounts and tax return.)

Hi @AegisAccounting

We don’t do any of this in house, it’s 100% partner accounting firms. We have no intention of doing accounting services. We provide the software and the introduction.

We’re keen to work with more accountants to pass over clients if you’d like to join the network. The way it’s structured is that the client sits with you on the Engagement Letter, so you also own the client. We’ve already referred over 100 clients and there’s a growing list.

As I’ve mentioned previously, there’s absolutely no intention to take clients from existing accountants and we’re putting in place measures to ensure this stays the case. We’ve developed these measures with the partner practices we’ve been working with.

Happy to chat this through if you like. I’ve given you a call and left my phone number.

Sam

Also just adding my original reply here.

Let me start by saying that I think the new Coconut Accounting offering is excellent for both the client and the accountants overall with the accountants, who are part of the programme, receiving leads without the need to carry out marketing. Sounds like a result to me.

In life there is always the potential for a client to find a better deal elsewhere. I often find that the devil is in the detail and the new deal may be apples while the existing accountant offers pears. It’s more than price although this may be the headline click bait that the client focuses on – there needs to be a like for like comparison.

Let’s be certain though and especially in this climate, clients are much more price aware with Coconut and other Challenger bank apps blowing apart much of the bookkeeping and accounting processes. Clients are more savvy and want to know what they get for their fees.

Clients may come to an accountant for the price but stay for the service.

As accountants we can use many tools to get our job done. I like Coconut because not only does it do what I need it to do but the service from them is personal …. I get a good response and things are dealt with.

I’m not a betting person but it would not surprise me if other Challenger banks don’t follow suit at some point on this anyway. It’s a great idea so why wouldn’t they?

Tim – Perhaps Coconut haven’t handled this announcement as best they could (and I know Sam – he will look very closely at this for lessons learnt) but whilst I’d never tell anyone what to do, please do have a think about ditching Coconut as a partner.

I do think you should take it as a massive compliment that your client has come to you and you’ve resolved any fee issue with them. How many accountants lose clients with the first thing they know about being the professional clearance letter? So no opportunity to resolve any issues. And, as you said, there was already a service on your web site that cut his fees anyway - so all’s well that ends well.

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I don’t want to write reams here and I will return your call when I get a minute @samoc, unfortunately we weren’t invited to be one of the lucky recipients of any of those 100 clients. Maybe the kindest way of looking at that would be to say this was a trial run to see how it might work in the future - with a few accountants who for some reason found themselves in a favourable position?

We weren’t (even after close collaboration with Coconut) included in any information about this new venture. I do feel it is a perfectly good business idea for Coconut, but surely those accountants already signed up should have been contacted and informed how all this would work before launch. Obviously the mail out going to clients of existing accountants was a faux pas that is likely to reverberate for a while I am sure, these things happen but you can understand my response I am sure.

Anyway, that’s as it is and your rise to support is admirable Elaine @cheapaccounting. I know you have been involved in an advisory capacity since the beginning and yes indeed I am fortunate to have loyal clients. But hearing about your banking partner’s better priced offering (for accounting services you didn’t even know they were providing) FROM said client is not a position I appreciated and presumably not one you have just found yourself.

If Coconut are to successfully ply ‘the middle ground’ between end user and accountant then those accountants need to know how clients will be allocated, what criteria decides who gets what, what else will be provided as part of this service (marketing material, inclusion in marketing campaigns etc). None of this has been debated anywhere I can find.

Regardless, now it seems the apple tree has been thoroughly shaken I shall be very interested to see where the fruit does eventually fall. I don’t want to come over as ‘Mr. Angry’ and indeed I hope there is mileage in this idea for Coconut - but unfortunately the method of delivery sadly overcame all efforts on my part towards magnanimity.

Totally fair enough @AegisAccounting, sorry we didn’t get the comms right. And also sorry not collaborating more widely. This was something we should have done. We’ll make sure we do that better going forward and absolutely assure you that the plan is that customers and accountants do well out of the product.

Looking forward to chatting.

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