Outmin: Human-in-the-loop accounting software for small businesses

8 Aug 2022

Outmin founders Ross Hunt and David Kelleher. Image: Outmin

Outmin is hiring the finance and accounting talent to back up its AI-driven software so that its clients don’t have to.

“We want to make it easier than ever to start and operate a small business anywhere in the world,” said Outmin co-founder David Kelleher.

Founded in 2020, this Irish start-up offers bookkeeping, accounting, finance and tax services to small businesses in Ireland and the UK. These services are provided as a combination of software and a staffed team of finance professionals.

“We see the future of the accounting industry centring around ‘human-in-the-loop’ AI, where strong finance professionals are supported by novel software to serve a greater volume of companies to a higher standard than previously possible,” Kelleher explained.

“To this end, we apply data science principles to financial data and agile methodologies to the human processes around the data. Ultimately, this enables us to produce financial data more rapidly and at a lower price point than any provider, while ensuring our clients do not have to worry about business data, compliance or tax.”

‘It’s very difficult for young Irish companies to raise the capital they need to grow, especially at angel or pre-seed levels’

Perhaps the most significant outcome for Outmin’s clients is that, according to Kelleher, “they no longer need to hire finance or admin staff”.

Outmin, however, does need this talent in place to deliver on its promise. The start-up hired its first full-time employee in February 2021, the same month of its commercial launch. “We now have 20 full-time employees across accounting, product, engineering, operations and sales with over 120 clients across Ireland and the UK,” said Kelleher.

He noted that hiring in the current market is a challenge in itself for growing start-ups in Ireland, which are “competing for talent with the multinationals”.

“I think more could be done to support Irish start-ups in attracting talent, as if they can’t do that they’ll struggle to grow,” he said.

Outmin has found support from the Irish start-up scene in the form of Dogpatch Labs, where the company is headquartered.

But with “no shortage of innovation in the Irish start-up scene”, according to Kelleher, there’s increased competition for the funding available. “I feel it’s very difficult for young Irish companies to raise the capital they need to grow, especially at angel or pre-seed levels,” he said.

Thankfully for Outmin, things are “going really well”, Kelleher said. “We’ve exceeded pretty much all of our projections to date,” he said.

‘In Toronto, I learned how to sell and got a lot of exposure to fast-growing tech companies’

Late last year, Outmin secured investment from Enterprise Ireland along with some experienced angels and VCs who believe in Kelleher and co-founder Ross Hunt’s vision.

Hunt is himself a qualified accountant and previously founded Cainthus, an agritech start-up applying computer vision and AI to food production. But the inspiration for Outmin came from another role.

While working as director of finance for agricultural procurement company Comex McKinnon, Hunt built a financial operating system that Kelleher said “still runs the business today”, delivering real-time data and financial reporting.

It was Hunt’s understanding of the typical accountant-client relationship, plus a realisation of what was possible from a technical perspective, that led him to the idea and vision for Outmin.

Kelleher’s background, meanwhile, is on the commercial side of tech start-ups and scale-ups. He spent some early years of his career in Toronto working in a sales and marketing consultancy. “That’s where I learned how to sell and got a lot of exposure to fast-growing tech companies and saw how they worked from the inside,” he said.

He joined Hunt to start their own venture following four years as head of revenue at Jobbio. He takes up the role of CRO at Outmin while Hunt leads as CEO.

Later this year will mark a return to familiar territory for Kelleher, as Outmin plans to launch in Canada. Kelleher also promised some “exciting news” still to come on the investment front. Watch this space.

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.