A Skype Account-ant?  Free calls and instant advice from your accountant – wherever they are.

~Foehn helps Crunch.co.uk become UK’s first accountancy firm to integrate phone and Skype system to open up accountant accessibility~ 

London, England – 14 October 2011: Online accountancy firm, Crunch.co.uk, today introduced a Skype button to its website so its UK SME & freelance customers can get free calls and accountancy advice using any online device with Skype access[1] - even when their accountant is out of the office or just away from their computer. Developed by IP and communications specialist, Foehn, the button aims to improve accountant accessibility, help customers avoid costly call charges and aid customer service.

As seen on Skype’ s blog, Crunch.co.uk allows customers to experience accounting services online. Unlike traditional Skype calls, the Foehn system routes customer Skype calls straight into the Crunch.co.uk team’s landline or mobile devices – free of charge. This improves the customer experience by integrating Crunch.co.uk’s Skype, phone andCRM systems so accountants can immediately see the relevant information about a customer’s account as the call is received.

Darren Fell, MD & Founder, Crunch.co.uk said “All too often businesses are getting a raw customer service deal from accountants. If an SME wants to speak to their accountant, it’s often because it’s urgent. They don’t want to hear that they aren’t around, as well as having to pay for the privilege of speaking to them. Whilst Skype integration isn’t anything new, it normally requires both users to be logged on – e.g. the recipient needs to be at their PC to get the call. However, with this system you can reach your accountant at the touch of a button for free - whether we are in or out of the office.”

He continued: “If the accountancy industry wants to move away from the image of being stuffy then services need to be modern and available. Millions of people use Skype as their preferred method of communication so it seemed natural that Crunch.co.uk should offer this service to their customers.  That’s where Foehn came in.  Foehn‘s expertise meant we were able to easily integrate Skype with Crunch.co.uk’s office telephone system (PBX), so that not only are the calls free for customers but the caller is immediately recognised in Crunch.co.uk’s other systems.”

James Passingham, founder and technical director at Foehn, stated: “Organisations need to offer services that put customers in the driving seat. So why shouldn’t your accountant be the other side of your Skype button? From a customer’s point of view, this means they are directed quickly to someone who has the relevant information about their account available immediately.”

He added: “With around 37 percent of Skype users saying they now use it occasionally or often for business-related purposes[2], the business case for VoIP services is growing. And for Crunch.co.uk, it’s a no brainer. It avoids unnecessary admin and means it can monitor various metrics such as calling volumes per account, which feed in to improving its own products and services.”

To use the service Crunch.co.uk customers simply need to click on the Skype button on www.crunch.co.uk or contact them on Skype using crunchadvisors.

Note to Editor

Foehn was able to integrate Skype with Crunch.co.uk’s Asterisk-Based PBX using a Skype-For-Asterisk license, available from Digium Inc. – the ’guardian’ of Asterisk - the largest open source telephony platform globally.  Since the recent take-over of Skype by Microsoft, it was announced that this would only be available for purchase until July 26ththis year and supported by Digium and Skype for only up to 2 years following this date.

About Crunch.co.uk:

Crunch.co.uk began transforming the accountancy world in Aug 2007 based on the frustrations of expensive accountants, spreadsheets and tedium.  The powerful combination of web developer, experienced accountant and entrepreneur led to the launch its revolutionary online accountancy portal in 2009 that introduced a much more time efficient way for small and medium sized business to do their accountsat a new price point not seen in the accountancy world. http://www.crunch.co.uk

About Foehn:

Managed Communications Provider, Foehn was set up in 2000 by James Passingham to manage and implement systems within mission critical and telco class networks and data centres across the entire EMEA region.  The company specialises in IP network and communication solutions for call centres and small and medium sized businesses. www.foehn.co.uk

[1] To reach Crunch.co.uk via Skype for free from a mobile device, users are required to download the Skype app and have a bundled data package or be in a Wi-Fi area.  (excludes the 3 network). 

[2] Skype survey of 40,000 users in January 2010


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