Practice management company deploys Elastic Cloud to improve performance of accounting firm workflows

Scalable cloud-based solution

With Elastic Cloud, Karbon can quickly add search storage capacity in response to business growth.

Predictable pricing model

IT budgets can be planned based on Elastic’s predictable and flexible pricing model.

Better customer experience

Karbon’s accounting firm customers now have a complete view of historical client data and can easily retrieve documents and emails.

In the accounting industry, effective knowledge management – the process of organising and analyzing all digital and physical business information – is crucial for accurate financial reporting. It also enables accounting firms to deliver a better experience to their clients and gain a competitive edge. Many knowledge management workflows were historically disconnected, manual, or unsupervised. This has changed with the rise of process automation in the accounting sector.

A leader in this trend is Karbon, which has developed a cloud-based practice management platform for accounting firms’ internal workflows, client interactions, and communications. Founded in 2014, the company has seen exceptional growth in recent years, especially as firms began working remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Freeman, co-founder and CTO at Karbon, says, "Accounting firms are dedicated to providing exceptional client service based on accurate financial reporting. Whether working in the office, on the road, or from home, it’s critical that these firms' staff have the ability to source accurate client information quickly and easily."

Powerful search improves client service

A key feature of Karbon's practice management solution is the search capability accounting firm employees use to retrieve information relevant to a specific client. This data falls into two main categories: large CRM-related documents, such as contracts or reports, and smaller workflow-based records, such as emails, that are accessed on a more frequent basis.

Karbon has always offered search functionality, but its original solution provider wasn't flexible enough for its fast-scaling SaaS business. In addition, Karbon previously faced a major cost increase every time it exceeded storage thresholds. To stay within existing usage limits as long as possible, the company would make difficult decisions about what information to keep searchable, such as deleting older customer emails.

We wanted to provide our customers with a complete picture of their client-related documents, but that meant finding a more cost-effective search solution where we could increase data usage gradually, rather than having to invest in another large data cluster once we passed the current threshold.

– John Freeman, Co-Founder and CTO, Karbon

To overcome this challenge, Freeman and his team deployed Elasticsearch on Elastic Cloud running on Karbon's AWS cloud infrastructure. Freeman was attracted by Elastic's resource-based pricing model which allows him to add infrastructure at a competitive price as the business grows.

Elastic pricing is perfect for us. When you're scaling, there's so much you don't know about the future. Will we need six data centers in a year, or 12? Having that cost flexibility and predictability is incredibly valuable.

– John Freeman, Co-Founder and CTO, Karbon

From a data jurisdiction perspective, it’s crucial that Karbon can run its solution in multiple territories, each with its own cloud presence. To date, it has clusters in around six different AWS regions.

– John Freeman, Co-Founder and CTO, Karbon

Karbon has seen such success with Elastic that they are looking at ways of increasing the volume and categories of documents for search. This includes email attachments such as PDFs and spreadsheets. "There's a massive amount of content to index, but Elastic gives us the flexibility to do this affordably into the future," says Freeman.

He is also deploying Elastic Observability for end-to-end monitoring of Karbon's infrastructure. "We have six production data centers each with more than 100 services. Tracking the health of those services and being able to detect and resolve anomalies is of enormous potential value to our customers," says Freeman.

Most importantly, Karbon has seen an increase in positive customer feedback since rolling out Elastic. Working with Elastic, the company can confidently plan for growth, knowing it can scale as needed based on a cost-effective and predictable pricing plan.

Search should just work. It needs to be fast, accurate, and relevant. Elastic delivers all this to our customers for a positive impact on their business and ultimately the experience of their clients, which is our overarching goal.

– John Freeman, Co-Founder and CTO, Karbon

Products Used