Freedom in Numbers is a UK-based accounting and bookkeeping firm dedicated to offering clear and more accurate financial insights for business owners. Launched in July 2017, the firm has quickly grown to offer compliance and advisory services.
Glade Consulting Services Ltd. was established to help SMEs make the challenging transition to ISO 9001: 2015 certification. With a passion for UK-based manufacturing and a strong history of working with automotive, aerospace, and construction supply chains, the business aims to support organisations in these areas.
When Hannah Adams founded Freedom in Numbers in 2017 with her husband Simon, she wanted to be an accounting firm of the future. From day one, they both knew that becoming a valuable advisor to small and medium businesses meant utilising the right technologies and offering services that would provide clients with valuable insights.
“We found that business owners generally only have one or two points of contact with their accountant per year,” recalls Hannah. “They often work with old information, and really just have an advisor because they think they need to. We felt the relationship should be much more than that. The accountant is there to help guide a business and help owners make meaningful decisions using accurate data.”
With this in mind, Hannah and Simon decided to implement a standardised technology stack when launching Freedom in Numbers. Both had been working with Xero for years, and were familiar with the common issues clients might face. “We wanted to speed up the monthly bookkeeping process, not just for our clients, but for ourselves as well,” notes Hannah.
The biggest roadblock Hannah’s clients faced when trying to implement a seamless accounting workflow was manual bookkeeping: saving receipts, bringing them to the accountant, entering data, matching to a transaction, etc.
With Freedom in Numbers’ goal of clearing this roadblock, Hannah and Simon implemented their carefully selected standardised technology stack as they began working with clients. “All new clients get both Xero and Hubdoc,” explains Hannah. “We don’t tend to work with anything else because we find it’s the perfect integration and provides a complete bookkeeping experience.”
Realising that paper documents caused significant delays in the bookkeeping process (for both clients and themselves), Hannah and Simon made sure to provide training to their clients for using Hubdoc, focusing specifically on Hubdoc’s mobile application so they could easily take photos of receipts. With clients snapping photos, Hannah and Simon could ensure a constant incoming document stream, rather than waiting one, two, or three months for a box full of receipts.
For clients such as Glade Consulting – a consultancy focused on helping companies achieve quality management, health and safety, and environmental certifications – moving to digital documentation was an important factor in switching to Freedom in Numbers. “When Hannah introduced Glade to Hubdoc, we knew it was going to be a great change,” says Richard Dolman, Founder and Lead Consultant at Glade Consulting. “Before Freedom in Numbers, I would spend two to three hours sorting, scanning, then sending my documents. Now, it’s all done in about half an hour because it’s an easy photo and done!”
When an entrepreneur launches a new business, they want to see their business grow and become sustainable. This was certainly the case for Hannah and Simon, but their Xero plus Hubdoc-powered tech stack has produced results beyond what they could have envisioned at launch in 2017.
“The key thing for us was time. Hubdoc saved huge amounts of time in our daily bookkeeping services,” says Hannah.
Beyond the automatic document upload and data extraction through the mobile app, Hubdoc’s integration with Xero also set up Freedom in Numbers’ workflow for efficiency. “We can make sure things are pushed to Xero properly. Hubdoc automatically authorises the invoices in Xero, which is great because we get documents automatically, the data is pulled from them, we can push to Xero with one click, and the transactions are created and authorised, and the documents show up in Xero seamlessly.”
From the client side, knowing that each document is backed-up electronically is a significant burden lifted from a business owner’s mind. “Being able to snap a photo and forget about it is actually really nice,” notes Richard. “I’m not sitting there sorting my receipts and making sure to keep track of every little purchase. I know that Hannah is on top of it with just a photo.”
As forward-thinking firm owners, Hannah and Simon used the time savings and increased efficiency they experienced with Xero and Hubdoc to focus on growth and client experience. “The time savings can’t be stressed enough,” says Hannah. “It meant we could interact better with our clients: go out and see them if we need to, or find new clients and give them the right amount of time.”
This attention to client experience has paid off for Freedom in Numbers, as they’ve seen an astounding 300% growth in their business in the past year. “We obviously don’t expect this growth rate to continue forever,” jokes Hannah. “But it means our plan for growth happened much faster than we anticipated. So now, we’re having our business conversations much sooner: we’re introducing new services, and we’re considering hiring our first employee to own payroll. When you think about us only being in operation for two years and already having these conversations, it really has been due to our seamless workflow, which wouldn’t have been possible without Xero and Hubdoc.”
When finances have always been based on paper documents and manual processes, moving to an automated tech stack can take some convincing. For Freedom in Numbers, clients were often hesitant, but once they understood the technology, they were happy to make a switch. “Hubdoc is usually a refreshing change for clients, because they’re used to having piles and piles of paperwork,” says Hannah.
“When we tell them they can go out and get a coffee and simply take a picture and be done with it, their initial reaction is often shock – ‘I’m not supposed to be able to do that!’ But once we talk through the process and explain the concept and integration with Xero, clients are quite happy.”