Case Study

Beany UK

Charlotte Wass, Founder of Beany UK Ltd.

Case Study - Beany UK

In conversation with Charlotte Wass

Before Beany, I worked in a number of traditional accountancy practices in both the audit and tax departments. I always felt that there was so much potential in the accountancy sector to use technology to make life easier for both clients and accountants. However, I never found an accountancy practice that used technology while still providing a 'human' service.

I was then introduced to Sue and Louis de Bievre, who were looking to launch their company, Beany, in the UK. They had already launched in New Zealand in 2014 and Australia in 2021.

I came on as General Manager and Director of Beany UK, as Sue and Louis are based in New Zealand and they wanted someone here to manage the local business.


Beany is an online accountancy practice. It uses technology to keep prices low for clients, while maintaining a high service level and ensuring clients still have their own qualified UK-based accountant.

The idea for Beany came from Sue when she was working in a local accountant’s office in 2013. At the time, she looked at the file rooms filled with paper, the shiny boardroom table, receptionists, and flowers - and the clients being charged thousands for a set of accounts they did not understand.

Xero was on the scene and making accountants’ lives a lot easier, but they were still charging the same amount as they had done for the past 20 years. In fact, they were still doing things, essentially, the same way as when Sue qualified in 1989.

It dawned on her that technology was leaping past the accounting profession and she could use it to cut costs for business owners. Having been a small business owner herself, she knew about the pressures and anxiety of forming a company. She experienced both the sweaty fear of not being able to pay bills and the euphoria of doing well.

She then started asking the question: how competitive could we make the fee whilst retaining a super high-quality service with all the questions answered, a great team of professionals, and a desire to inform and educate about finances? There was only one answer - develop the technology to do a lot of the heavy lifting in the production of financial information. After all, it’s all digital information already.

Then, Sue met John Curtis, fresh out of 12 years with Weta Digital and looking for a project. Together, they brainstormed, coded, talked, and argued. 6 months later, they had their first iteration of Beany.

They invited 20 businesses to come into workshops to try and ‘break’ the software. 17 of them became Beany clients and they were off!

Having been such a success in New Zealand, the decision was then made to expand and launch in Australia. Within its first year, Beany Australia won the ‘Start-Up Firm of the Year’ award at the Accountants Daily Australian Accounting Awards. The next step was then to launch in the UK, which we did in October 2022.

The journey

It's been an exciting time adapting the New Zealand business model to a UK market, and using our technology to provide our clients with the service they deserve at a fraction of the cost.

We are always looking for new ways to improve our technology and add the most value for our clients. So, it's been really exciting to implement and roll these changes out.

Our client base has been growing steadily, as has our team. We’ve brought on a new employee every few months and now have an employee in each of the core areas of our business.

I think one of the most important things you can do when expanding your team is to introduce people who are better than you. It would be counterproductive of me to bring on someone who knew less about accounting than I did, or who barely knew their way around a Xero file.

This is something I’ve loved experiencing since we launched. First and foremost, it’s super exciting to introduce another talented individual to our clients, knowing that we can continue to improve our service. But I’ve also enjoyed learning from my team members and collaborating with them to expand and improve.


Our current focus is to ensure that we are using our technology to its maximum potential for the benefit of our clients. HMRC is continuing to open up more APIs and we want to make sure that we're utilising these to the max as soon as they become available.

Since the rate at which HMRC opens new APIs is beyond our control, I would say this has been our biggest challenge. We want to ensure we stay one step ahead, so that as soon as APIs are available, we’re ready to get going and incorporate them into our existing technology.


The thing I love most about running Beany UK is just how different one day is from the next. It sounds clichéd, but every day throws new challenges and new opportunities, and I am constantly learning. Every day is a school day, and every day brings something new.

The other thing I love is the brilliant people I work with. All 'Beanies', as we call ourselves, from New Zealand through to Australia and the UK, are brilliant and ambitious people who really care about providing our clients with the best possible service.

It’s awesome to work with people who have the same core values and aims as I do. Beany really wouldn't be the success it is today without the amazing team.

And of course, receiving good feedback from our clients is always a huge highlight. We get some fantastic comments from them and it truly makes all the hard work worthwhile. Our underlying goal is to provide an outstanding service and receiving good feedback affirms that we’re on the right track.

The future

Improving our technology and our service is always at the forefront of our mind, and so for now we are focusing on just that. We're in discussions with HMRC about how we can make use of the APIs available, to provide the most value through our technology.

We hope to roll out some amazing changes to our software over the coming years, that will help give clients better oversight over their tax liabilities and obligations. Hopefully, it’ll also make it simpler for our accountants to advise on tax efficiency and planning. It’s a super exciting time for Beany UK for sure.


Hire an accountant. We work with new business owners every day and a large portion of our time is spent trying to undo the pickle they've got themselves into when they've tried to manage their accounts themselves.

Unfortunately, HMRC is not very receptive to the “sorry, I didn't know” excuse, and the cost of the penalties and fines associated with doing it wrong often far outweighs the cost of hiring a professional in the first place.

That advice extends beyond hiring an accountant, however, and I’m really not just saying that because we are an accountancy service provider. One of the biggest lessons to learn is that you can't do everything yourself.

Stick to what you know and where your passions lie, and draw on the help and expertise of others to help with the elements that aren't your forte. While this costs money, it frees up your time to make money doing what you do best.

It links back to hiring staff who are experts in their field; there’s little credit to be given to people who refuse to relinquish control and try to do everything themselves. You’re simply limiting yourself and your business’ potential.

Using 1st Formations

We chose 1st Formations due to the breadth of experience they have in providing the service we needed. They offered reasonable prices and the process sounded super simple, so it was a no-brainer.

We’ve come across plenty of clients using various registered office address services and some don’t receive their post until weeks - or even months – later. So, we certainly feel like we’re getting a great service.

The company formation process

Sue set up the UK company from New Zealand, so it was great to know that everything was managed and taken care of. The process was super simple and painless and has continued to be from there on.

1st Formations today

The webinars have been really interesting and cover some topical subjects. I also use Customer Support fairly frequently and they are always so helpful and quick to respond.


My experience with 1st Formations was easy and the instructions were clear for someone like me who has no business experience.

Julia Parker, Lettuce Publishing View customer story
Julia Parker, Founder of Lettuce Publishing. Image credit to Ali Allen.