Making it Work: Accounting start-up removes the admin ‘paper cuts’ for founders

Outmin, an outsourced accounting and bookkeeping service, aims to ease the paperwork that bogs down many start-up founders

David Kelleher and Ross Hunt, co-founders of Outmin: the company has already raised more than €650,000 in its quest to scale up a product that aims to make life simpler for businesspeople in small and medium companies

Throughout the years he spent working as a chartered accountant, Ross Hunt couldn’t shake the feeling that his sector was not working in a way that best served its clients.

“Rather than thinking about what the business owner needed, the main priority seemed to be what the accounting guild needed from the business owner,” Hunt said.

“And if you think that the business owner is the customer, it wasn’t necessarily clear to me how the industry served the customer. I felt it was leading to a pretty bad customer experience.”

More than a decade later, Hunt is now the chairman of Outmin, a start-up that offers outsourced accounting and bookkeeping services to businesses. The company uses a combination of AI and real bookkeepers to give clients real-time financial data and claims to remove the “administrative paper cuts” that bog down many start-up founders.

It also claims to offer far cheaper rates – 60 per cent, on average – than established accountancy providers.

On his journey to Outmin, which he established alongside David Kelleher, a start-up expert and former head of revenue at Jobbio, Hunt consistently attempted to work out how to make it easier for businesses to handle their accounting needs and administrative requirements.

While working at Comex McKinnon, the agricultural firm his family runs, Hunt developed a digital system that automated the company’s processes for dealing with compliance, risk management and accounting, as well as other arduous administrative tasks.

Later he founded Cainthus, a start-up which used computing to give agricultural businesses better insights into their own operations.

The company was going well, but Hunt was frustrated by the number of administrative and operational jobs that went along with setting up a business.

“It occurred to me that no start-up founder should have to do any of this,” he said. “And during lockdown, I decided that there needed to be a platform so nobody had to do the type of work that I had to do in Cainthus ever again.

“It just detracts so much from your product or service, and from focusing on your customers.”

Less than a year since its foundation, Outmin has already raised more than €650,000 in its quest to scale up a product that aims to make life simpler for businesspeople in small and medium companies. It currently has 13 staff and 70 Irish clients.

“Every week we’re tending to do the biggest deal we’ve ever done,” Kelleher said.

The company has already expanded into the British market, where it expects to hire a full-time accountant to work with a “full book” of clients there. In 2022, Outmin plans to launch in Canada.

Outmin is currently focused on offering accounting services including both human expertise and digital insights to customers. But in the long-term, Hunt said the firm would expand to help clients with all their administrative needs.

“We believe solving this problem in accounting is just the beginning,” he said.

Outmin is not actively seeking further external funding, but Hunt said the company was “open to the right investor – one who can help us grow faster”.

“Being able to invest to expand the software we’re building would definitely be of interest. We’d like to find an investor who can help us to grow as fast as we possibly can.”