Coconut is a London based Fintech start-up, providing the ultimate accounting and tax tool for self-employed people.
Coconut was co-founded by Sam O’Connor and Adam Goodall, who understand that working for yourself can become a minefield when it comes to sorting out your finances, whether you’re a sole trader, freelancer or a small limited company. Instead of working on growing your business, you can end up spending far too much time trying to ensure you’re being paid on time, tracking your expenses and calculating your tax return.
Coconut gives you the power of a finance team in your pocket, incorporating a current account, virtual card, automatic tax and VAT categories, invoicing and tax reports all in one app. Helping to streamline payments which are a crucial part of the accounting and tax experience. Coconut’s vision is to make self-employment easier than being employed.
After going freelance from their careers as full time accountants, Sam and Adam realised the challenges other freelancers face when it comes to preparing for their annual tax return. Sam says: “The shift from a traditional PAYE role to being self-employed brought with it a tonne of complications, including having to calculate how much money to put aside each month to be able to pay my tax return at the end of the year.”
Having looked for a solution to this particular problem and discovering there wasn’t one, Sam and Adam decided to create one themselves. So, they started Coconut for the freelance community to eradicate the stress of calculating their tax return on a monthly basis.
Sam elaborates: “We identified a demand from our customers to be able to manage all business finances from one app, including payments as this means you can streamline things more easily. So we looked for a payments provider to partner with that could support issuing, processing and e-money licensing under the same umbrella, and that’s how we started working with PPS.”
To find this, they conducted active market research and explored multiple options. Sam says: “PPS were able to show off the advantages of a relationship with a single partner, and this has proven itself to be very valuable.”
As trained accountants, Sam and Adam had a strong understanding of the challenges freelancers and small businesses face, and their requirements for a solution that would ease the burden. However, PPS was able to provide key components to build out the core Coconut card and payments solution, which is an option for customers if they want to separate business from personal expenses. Customers can open a business current account through the app in a few minutes, giving them a Mastercard for their expenses – this is all powered by PPS. PPS has an innovative product roadmap, a technically advanced platform and experienced delivery team support.
As well as this, PPS has a wealth of experience in delivering other challenger banking programmes that were already successful and active within the UK market. Overall, it’s been a collaborative experience with clear communication between both teams. PPS has ensured that Coconut’s growth and programme evolution plans are fully supported, having implemented the technology quickly and seamlessly with a high level of flexibility.”
The Coconut implementation took three months, which is an impressive performance for a start-up business. Sam adds: “Thanks to PPS’ support and expertise, we were able to get to market fast.”
PPS provides Coconut with:
- MasterCard card Issuing
- MasterCard processing
- E-money license
- Real-time faster payments as a VocaLink Direct Participant
- Bacs, Direct Debit and Chaps processing and settlement
- 3rd Party Loading
- Fraud monitoring
- Real time notifications
- 24/7 technical support for the Coconut technical teams to call upon
- Expertise and experience in the market
Coconut launched its product 2 years ago and was named one of Sifted’s Start-ups to Watch in 2020. They now have 22,000 customers and, following the success of their 2018 Crowdfunding campaign, raising £1.8m from 2,000 customers and community members, they are launching another: getcoconut.com/invest
Now, Coconut are aiming to be the number one accounting and tax provider for self-employed people around the world, a fast-growing and very underserved group. Working alongside PPS, Coconut is regularly adding new features to create more valuable experiences for customers, so they can focus on delivering the services within their respective niches without worrying about finance management.
Sam says of the partnership: “PPS has been a fantastic partner for us, meaning we don’t have to worry about payments and banking infrastructure. It’s just taken care of, so we can focus on creating unique and innovative experiences for self-employed people.”