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May 26, 2015 2 min read

Interview Series with Canopy's Founder, Kurt Avarell

Kurt Avarell answers a series of questions on industry frustrations & how Canopy was designed to improve the relationship between tax pros & their clients.

Interview Series with Canopy's Founder, Kurt Avarell

Canopy founder Kurt Avarell acutely remembers the strain a paper-heavy workflow puts on the relationship between accountants and their clients. That is why he created Canopy - a platform designed to create a delightful and collaborative experience for tax professionals and the clients they serve. Join us for our first interview with Kurt as we dive into what inspires him and how he wants to revolutionize the accounting industry:

AM: What inspired you to start Canopy?

KA: Canopy was born out of my own struggles in tax. Being a tax practitioner, I realized the typical process of filling out paper tax forms and recording information in Excel was very inefficient. Clients don't like to see a lot of paper, and the workflow created a strain on our client satisfaction and relationships. Bringing our process into the cloud made us more productive and made our clients happier. They loved it.

AM: What is the typical workflow like for accountants today?

KA: On our end, we would get the paper tax forms back and have to type all the information into the software, which makes no sense. You have the client writing it down and then us entering it into the software. Totally inefficient.

AM: Let's talk about the Canopy software. How does it redesign the accounting experience?

KA: Canopy is designed in a way that puts the focus on teamwork and collaboration - not just among team members and other accountants in the firm but also with the client. One of the first things you will notice is that every client can have their own client portal in Canopy, where they can log in and exchange documents with their accountant, look at reminders, and pay invoices online. Where accountants are traditionally accustomed to sending out paperwork, the client can now access that paperwork and fill it out online through the client portal. Accountants have typically worked in a very siloed environment where their software does not interface with their clients. Canopy transforms the relationships and the  experience for all parties involved.

AM: The client can go into Canopy at any time to provide information to their accountant?

KA: Yes, and it is very easy. All you have to do is provide Canopy with a client email and we handle the rest by creating the account for the client, logging them in for the first time and guiding them through what they need to do. The accountant can be really hands off.

AM: What are some comments you hear from clients and accountants on the software?

KA: One key focus of ours is the design and user experience. Accountants traditionally work in some pretty archaic software. Canopy provides a very modern experience, thanks to our product team and designer. We give a lot of thought to how the platform should flow and how somebody should feel when they are using it. It should be something they are delighted to use, not something that gives them angst or anxiety when they log in like previous options.

AM: What drives you and your team?

KA: The Canopy team is extremely about passionate making the client experience better and more collaborative, and allowing professionals to leverage their newly found free time to grow their practices.

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