10 years of Karbon: Celebrating a decade of customer-led innovation image

10 years of Karbon: Celebrating a decade of customer-led innovation

10 years ago, Karbon started as a shared vision to truly impact the accounting profession. Since then, it has grown into the leading global practice management software for accountants. But we would be nowhere without our customers.

Posted byKarbon
onTuesday 28 May 2024

Ten years ago, a small group of engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs met in a small cafe in San Francisco. A company was formed based on the belief that accountants deserved a better solution to help them work together and communicate with clients.

There was no product, no logo, not even a name. 

There was only a shared determination amongst a small group of people to truly impact a profession that they already knew and deeply admired. 

That company grew into Karbon, and that solution became the leading global practice management software for accountants that you know today.

After 10 years, it’s amazing to see a company and culture that we could have only dreamed about. We are blessed with both amazing customers and amazing team members who combine together to deliver amazing results.

Ian Vacin, Karbon, Co-Founder & Chief Partnerships Officer

But we'd be nowhere without our customers and the accounting profession that they, and we, call home.

Celebrating our inspirational customers

Karbon customers have achieved inspirational feats over the years, often starting their firms as solo operators from kitchen tables. Today they’re industry-leading, award-winning, entrepreneurial powerhouses.

Accounting firms are the lifeblood of the global economy. They make businesses stronger and change clients' lives, in both good times and bad. 

They are strategic partners and confidants—in fact, 31% of small business owners say their accountant is the advisor they trust the most, followed by family and friends (22%), lawyers (16%), and financial planners (9%).

“We are truly lucky to have the best customers in the world,” says Sara Goepel, Karbon's Chief Product Officer and one of the earliest employees. “Not only have they supported and adopted Karbon as a practice management tool within their firm, but they’ve also provided us feedback, shared ideas, tested our new features, and asked us questions.”

“I'm delighted to have been with Karbon since day one. And one of the best parts of my job is having a front-row seat to the success of so many of our customers.”

We continue to be inspired by and draw strength from firms and firm leaders like:

👏 Natalie Lennon CA, owner of Two Sides Accounting, who won Accountant of the Year at the Women in Finance Awards twice and has recently gone viral on TikTok for her no nonsense tax advice.

👏 Eric Saumure CPA, CA from Zenbooks, who in 2023 started a successful petition to extend the tax deadline in an effort to ensure Canadians, especially those with lower incomes, had access to the resources and accountants they needed amidst a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employee strike.

👏 Tennick Accountants, which won the 2023 Xero Small Firm of the Year for UK and Ireland, Accounting Excellence Regional Small Firm of the Year, and Accounting Excellence UK & Ireland Small Firm of the Year awards.

👏 Platform Accounting Group, which has more than doubled in size every year over the last seven years, recently securing $85 million USD in funding that will support its continued mission to preserve boutique accounting firms across the US.

👏 HD Growth Partners, which was recognized as the 2022 Best Firm for Women in the US.

👏 Air Accounting, which has had a client retention rate of 99% for the last four years.

👏 Founder’s CPA, which is so intentional about ensuring team members live a healthy work-life balance, that at several moments each year, they stop accepting new clients in order to maintain healthy workloads. As a result, the firm is rated 4.9 out of 5 stars in both the Culture & Values category and the Work/Life Balance category on Glassdoor.

👏 Karla Hourigan from MAD Wealth—a Net Zero firm—who helps clients understand and reduce their carbon footprint through carbon accounting services.

👏 Rivington Accounts, a firm that plants trees for every self-assessment they file. 

👏 The B-Corp-certified Full Stop, led by Lauren Harvey.

The list goes on and on. We are honored to play a very small role in these success stories.

"Accountants deserve better!" The beginnings of Karbon.

Karbon exists because co-founders John Freeman, Stuart McLeod and Ian Vacin believed that accountants deserved better.

Accountants deserved something developed specifically for them, that solved their biggest problems, and played well with all the software they already use to get the job done.

And while Karbon is an accounting practice management tool, it’s also so much more than that.

Steph Hinds from Australian firm, Growthwise, was the very first paying Karbon customer. She bought Karbon when it was merely an idea, a promise for a brighter, smarter future. 10 years later, Karbon is still a fundamental part of the firm.

“Karbon is the glue that holds everything together,” says Steph. “It's the central piece and everything stems from it.”

Embedded image
The message shared with the Karbon team by Co-Founder and Former CEO, Stuart McLeod, announcing Growthwise as the first paying Karbon customer 🎉

Karbon customers aren’t just buying software. They’re entering into a partnership where we help them achieve their boldest ambitions. 

Whether that’s by helping them grow their firm, boost productivity, and finally gain peace of mind through our software, including hundreds of best practice workflow templates.

Or by understanding their challenges and developing a product roadmap based on solutions to those problems. 

Or by building rich communities online and at events around the world. 

Or by educating, inspiring and motivating them through the content we produce at Karbon Magazine.

Our customers are at the core of everything we do and every decision we make. 

Looking to the future

The accounting industry faces challenges, particularly in relation to the talent shortage and retention issues, declining numbers of accountants, and low CPA exam enrollment. But with challenge brings opportunity. 

Technology, especially AI, will present solutions to these challenges, sparking innovation industry-wide. It will free accountants from menial tasks like data collection and compliance, giving them more time to focus on what really matters: understanding their clients’ needs and adding value to their businesses and their livelihoods.

According to accounting leaders across the globe, despite all the technological advances that will emerge in the next 10 years, no matter what, accounting will always be about the relationships. There are few, if any, service provider relationships as high-trust as that between a business owner and their accountant.

What does the next 10 years look like for Karbon?

We’re more focused than ever on helping tens of thousands more accounting firms for decades and decades ahead. 

We're not building for today or for the last 10 years, we're building for 10 years from now and beyond.

We see the challenges associated with running a modern accounting firm, we see the incredible complexity of your roles, the talent shortage, your demanding clients. And we’re right there with you.

We envisage a future where accountants are leading the way in business technology. Where you’re leveraging tools and data to expand your impact, grow your firm, serve your clients more effectively, feel inspired about your work, and have the peace of mind to be happier and more fulfilled.

"As we reach the end of our first decade, it's a good time to reflect on how far we've come and how lucky we are to work with inspiring and incredible accountants, entrepreneurs, and firm owners,” says Karbon CEO, Mary Delaney.

“But I'm most excited about what's coming next. You'll see more innovation, more impactful features, AI powering your team's productivity throughout every aspect of Karbon, and new ways to grow your accounting firm more effectively.

“We're not slowing down. In fact, we're just getting started.”

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