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I often get asked about how ONKHO came about. It's a good question as the story of a business often tells you a lot about the business itself. So here's ours, warts and all :)

I founded ONKHO with my wife Susan, a Chartered Accountant who is still successfully running her own business KWSR & Co. Chartered Accountants in London.

I was a Chief Technology Officer at The London Stock Exchange Group. I was also a management accountant in a previous life working at BBC Radio. Although I was busy in the Square Mile, I also worked closely with Sue on her business - mostly as her expensive (but free!) IT support guy. It's why I know the accountancy business and the accounting tech space so well :)

Just after the 2008 financial crisis, Susan faced a dilemma - she was adding clients but not growing. It turned out she was losing clients as fast as she was adding new ones. After speaking to former clients she realised she needed to focus on client satisfaction to increase her retention rate. Finding new clients wasn't a problem but keeping existing clients was.

Susan's research led to KWSR employing a Client Services Manager who focused relentlessly on increasing the quality of service and touch points with clients. The results were amazing - client retention increased to 99% and client numbers grew by 33% (during the recession). Result! But at £25,000 per annum, this was a significant chunk out of the bottom line. Enter the IT guy...

...yes, me of course!

I looked at what the Client Services Manager was doing and saw lots of automation opportunities but before investing in anything, we went back to basics. Susan didn't need automation, what she needed was a platform that would allow her to deliver exceptional client service. At that stage, we figured this might be of interest to other accountants so we rocked up to Accountex 2015 to find out.

We had nothing to show, no product, no demos - just some comfy sofas and our warm and fuzzy personalities(!) Over those 2 days, we were able to speak to 300 accountants and 250 of them said they would be interested in something like this. 6 months later, I left the Square Mile to work with Sue on delivering a client satisfaction platform - ONKHO was born.

Why "ONKHO"? Well, Susan and I have our roots in Bangladesh and "ONKHO" means "maths" in Bengali. Seemed appropriate for a platform for #accountants!

#accountants may notice of course that I haven't mentioned practice management in our story so far. That's because we have never thought of our platform in that way. Our focus was, is and always will be on helping accountants run successful businesses by delivering exceptional service to their clients. It defines who we are, what we do and of course, what we don't do!

Today, every feature we have built has been about delivering great service. With our latest innovation, Inbox we were finally able to bring that great outlier of service - email (and communication generally) - into the platform. It's a one stop, seamless, client service delivery machine...integrating communication, CRM, workflow and planning.

I'm glad I took the time to write our story, Once it's out in the ether, it will be a constant reminder of why we built this business and what we have in common with our customers - a passionate commitment to delivering exceptional service.

Emanur Rahman

Emanur is a former management accountant turned Chief Technology Officer. After 20 years working his technology and accounting skills in investment banking he left his role as a CTO at The London Stock Exchange Group to found onkho. Emanur pushes the business' strategy and execution and occasionally opines on what he thinks is interesting.
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