Supporting
business & innovation

About us

We create and provide solutions that help support small and medium sized businesses.

A team of mavericks that is disrupting the business consulting sector since the nineties

During the nineties, we built a system that became the industry standard for tax experts in the UK. Our team is already behind two market leading tax software products but we didn’t stop there. We recently launched Novel, our R&D tax relief solution for businesses who want to take their R&D claims in-house and retain most of the benefit.

Although our software development experience spans three decades, it’s all a means to deliver on the main ethos behind why Optimal Compliance exists – to support as many small businesses as possible. The true potential of our technology is to liberate small businesses from costly bureaucracy and old-fashioned accountancy models.

When we aren’t building software, we work hands-on with dynamic owner-managed businesses to help them plan their business structures smartly and painlessly. We specialise in partnership models, group structures, and cash flow support such as EIS, SEIS and other investment reliefs as well as R&D tax relief.

Let's meet the team

David Hart

Ben Crampin

Tom Elsbury

Nathan Owen

Hugo Saunders

Charles Bartholomew

Martyn Dyer

Iain Denison

Phil Redford

Lauren Langridge

Natalia Muino

Jonny Bender

Lewis Pullan

Sanela Tomlinson

Ellis Taylor

Dan Warrington

Sergej Vlasov

Jón Lischetzki

Can Boyraz

Andrada Fizi

Christopher Brightly

Andrew Godley

Cara Cornforth

Stefan Mirchev

Talent Wanted

david

David Hart

Founder

David founded Optimal Compliance in 2009 because he wanted to help ‘level the playing field’ by providing affordable help and support to smaller businesses that are often left in the dark when it comes to regulatory compliance and efficiency.
 
After obtaining a first-class degree in pure mathematics from the University of Wales, he began a 12-year stint at one of the large accountancy firms (now PwC).
 
In 1991, he left the corporate world and founded a small company called Tax Computer Systems Limited which developed a corporation tax software product called Alphatax which is still used by ‘23 of the top 25 accountancy firms’, according to its website. However, although that business was (and is) a success, David again grew tired of serving big corporations and wanted to turn his attention to helping smaller businesses succeed: hence OC.
 
“Smaller businesses have the opportunity to create a genuine partnership culture which is diametrically opposed to the traditional employment (them and us) model”, he believes. OC has, over the last ten years or so, developed a ‘perfect model’ for putting this into practice with a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) licensee.
 
David loves the fact that every LLP incorporated at Companies House has the tag ‘OC’ as the prefix to its registration number. These days, him and the rest of the team are excited about codifying OC’s knowledge, so it can be computerised and affordably applied to help the entire small business community.

ben crampin

Partner

Ben’s been here pretty much since the get-go and, as such, has been instrumental in growing the business into what it is today.
 
He’s passionate about, in his words, ‘helping people and businesses that are just constantly being taken advantage of’ by providing affordable advice and support with an eye to ‘levelling the playing field’.
 
Ben looks forward to the day when automation will, once and for all, fumigate the fear and confusion caused by oppressive bureaucracy and strongly believes that ‘technology holds the solutions to the problems we’re trying to solve’.
 
Furthermore, he can see that technology will, in time, provide the scalability required to help a theoretically limitless number of SMEs survive and thrive against the odds.
Ben doesn’t think much of government agencies and he doesn’t suffer fools; two points that aren’t always mutually exclusive.

Tom elsbury

Partner

Tom’s another veteran of the OC squad, having joined back in September 2012 fresh out of sixth form.

 

Reluctant to attend university just for the sake of it, he instead decided to put his natural numerical skills to good use here at Optimal Compliance.

 

In 2016, Tom took a year out to surf the waves of central and south America but, in the end, just couldn’t keep away from the intense, almost meth-like high of solving accountancy puzzles.

 

Since his return, he’s become our go-to for all matters relating to R&D (Research & Development) and is excited about the scalability of utilising this government scheme.

 

When he’s not gyming, surfing, or number-crunching, Tom can be found rolling around in his dressing gown with other blokes (Brazilian jiu-jitsu, apparently).

Nathan Owen

Partner

Nathan’s been a member of the team since mid-2013, having cut his auditing teeth at a top ten accountancy firm.

 

Before that, he got himself a geography degree from the University of Southampton, worked at a call centre for a while, travelled around Southeast Asia, sailed all the way around the British Isles teaching kids, and worked on a 96-foot Dutch barge for a year.

 

Here at OC, he likes the partnership culture, being free to just get on with it, and seeing first-hand the positive impact his work has on our clients’ businesses. Aside from that all that, he remains a keen sailor.

 

He also surfs, cycles, and kayaks, mostly in the Outer Hebrides (island chain just off the west coast of Scotland), Devon, and the sunny shores of East Wittering (West Sussex).

Ed taylor

Partner

Ed’s one of the old boys of OC, having joined the team in 2014 when we were still based in merry old Ascot.

 

He has a degree in law obtained from a university in Oxford and worked for a year and a half as a trainee criminal solicitor in Burnley, though left that job behind to try his luck down south (‘like Dick Whittington’).

 

The flexibility, along with being trusted to just crack on with things, were what Ed cited as reasons why he’s stuck around at OC for so long (plus he does good work, obviously).

 

He’s excited about continuing to grow the range of products and services that we offer.

 

Other than that, Ed runs marathons, plays cricket (fast bowler for Swansea Fine Legs), and graces the humble pitches of the famed London Camberwell Tue 7-a-side football league (centre back for Juan Direction).

Hugo Saunders

Partner

Hugo joined during the pre-London days of OC back in the summer of 2015, shortly after successfully completing an Ironman Triathlon.

 

He recalls with misty-eyed nostalgia the Covent Garden era that followed but is proud of how much the business (and his role within it) has grown since then.

 

Before OC, Hugo obtained a BA in History, followed by a MSc in International Management (both from the University of Exeter), which makes him our resident academic.

 

Since then, Hugo’s worked as a junior buyer for Sainsbury’s, been on a ski season, contracted for Nationwide and Lloyds, respectively, and worked in logistics for Decathlon.

 

He loves the flexibility of working with OC, but qualified that by unintentionally (kind of) paraphrasing Spiderman’s uncle Ben: “With [great] freedom, comes [great] responsibility.”

Charles

Charles bartholomew

Partner

Charles is our man on the ground, touring the country on a mission to educate business owners about the countless benefits of adopting a partnership model, amongst other things.

His experience consists of 35 years worth of hands-on experience as owner/manager of numerous SME businesses, plus 13 years as an independent business adviser.

He’s been working with OC for a good seven years now, knows our products through and through and, as such, is the perfect ambassador for all things Optimal Compliance.

Having qualified as a chartered accountant in the early seventies, Charles initially specialised in audit work, particularly systems, and special investigations, including prospectuses for companies floating on the London Stock Exchange.

Charles has business experience in international trade and development, manufacturing in the electrical engineering industry, corporate turnaround (and much more!) so, in other words, we’re very lucky to have him onside.

martyn

Martyn Dyer

Partner

We’d been trying to poach Martyn for a good couple of years before finally succeeding in coaxing him over to OC in November of 2016.

 

In fact, before he joined us, Martyn was the sole accountant for the sadly now-defunct (wasn’t his fault!) business.

 

Martyn began his working life, eleven days after finishing his final GCSE exam, as a glass blower, a job he kept for eleven years before opting for a change.

 

He began his accountancy training in 1998 and, upon hearing of his new career, one friend joked that he’d gone from cooking glass to cooking books.

 

Martyn’s our resident office DJ and once upon a time he played bass guitar in a rock band; however, right now he’s busy building a grandfather clock from scratch.

Iain Denison

Partner

Iain’s a self-confessed nerd who loves his movies, video games and Dungeons & Dragons, and doesn’t care who knows it!

 

After graduating from the University of Sussex, he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do with himself – he’s still not – but appreciates the atmosphere and being trusted to work independently at OC.

 

He joined the team during the summer of 2017, armed with a bachelor’s in business and management studies, a can-do attitude, and several speed-running world records in Slay the Spire (it’s a game).

 

Since then, he’s established himself as an indispensable cog in the OC machine and claims he’s cleaned the coffee machine more times than anybody else in the office, possibly combined.

 

Oh, and if you want to see Iain in action, look up his account ‘Anti_Flame’ on Twitch (a livestreaming platform) and prepare to be blown away…

Phil redford

Partner

Phil was first attracted to the partnership ethos in play here at OC and gave up a promising career in the service industry (pulling pints) to join our team.

 

Hailing from Chesterfield (near Sheffield), Phil migrated south the first chance he got where he obtained a bachelor’s in physics and chemistry from University College London.

 

He joined the team in September 2018 to consult for OC on the R&D (Research & Development) side of things and is excited to expand this department and continue marketing our services to ‘cutting edge’ clients in the fields of science and technology.

 

When he’s not saving clients money, he can often be found in a Hammersmith swimming pool playing water polo.

 

In fact, once upon a time he competed for the GB under-18 squad; however, he was quick to downplay this, explaining that the UK has barely enough water polo players to constitute a full team…

Lauren langridge

Partner

Lauren joined the team in November 2018 and, at time of writing, splits her time pretty evenly between our office here in Waterloo and our sister company over in Ascot (she prefers it here, obviously).

 

She’s fully AAT-qualified and between studying for her ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) qualification and essentially working for two separate businesses, she doesn’t have time for a hell of a lot else.

 

Lauren likes how OC is a little different from other perhaps more traditional accountancy and business consulting firms and said she’s excited by how much she’s learning here.

 

She also appreciates not having to wear a suit to work every day. When she hasn’t got her head in a book (or a spreadsheet), she enjoys the occasional night on the town, a spot of yoga, and a good gym sesh.

Natalia muino

Partner

Natalia joined the ranks in April 2019 to help lighten the load for our consultancy team.

Since then, she’s settled in nicely and has very quickly grasped the nature of what we’re trying to achieve here at Optimal Compliance.

Natalia grew up in Spain but has called London home since moving to the UK in 2015 after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business and finance from the University of Santiago de Compostela.

She loves the flexibility of working for Optimal Compliance, along with the close relationships we have with our clients, and the partnership culture.

Hailing from the hills of Galicia (home of Estella Galicia!) in Spain’s northwest, Natalia loves to ride horses (a pastime she’s managed to keep alive here in London at Vauxhall City Farm!) and can just about carry a tune on a Galician gaita (Spanish bagpipes), apparently.

Jonny Bender

Partner

Jonny joined the team in June, 2019 to give Phil a hand with all things R&D (Research & Development) related. Hailing from Budapest, Hungary, Jonny was actually born here to escape the harsh realities presented by post-communist Hungary’s healthcare system.

 

Once he matured to the ripe old age of eighteen, Jonny promptly returned to the country of his birth to study physics at the University of Bath, where he graduated with a respectable 2:1.

 

The course had a computing component which gave Jonny the chance to try his hand at computer programming and software engineering. He developed skills in data coding and gained a rudimentary understanding of html, JavaScript, C, C#, and probably some others.

 

In addition to programming languages, he speaks English, Hungarian, German, and a little bit of French. He likes the ‘lack of hierarchy’ here at OC and is excited to help us achieve our ambition of building an automated claim generator to give more SMEs access to R&D tax relief.


Jonny is also a keen climber and boulders at a V6 level.

Lewis pullan

Partner

Lewis joined OC in July 2019, having been previously employed by a longstanding client of ours.

He grew up in Bromley and Brixton, not too far from our Waterloo office which makes him Optimal Compliance’s only genuine Londoner.
 
After leaving school, Lewis went to college to become an electrician but just as he qualified, he decided he didn’t fancy a life in overalls and instead sought the solace of an air-conditioned office.

So, after some globetrotting and contemplation, he went, CV-in-hand, to a top 50 accounting practice and got himself a job in the media and entertainment industry. Over the next few years he ended up rubbing shoulders with the stars, doing the accounts for world renowned musicians and bands.

After moving to industry accounting, he arrived here at OC where he says he loves having a ‘close-knit team’ to support each other and not having to be a ‘one-man band’ anymore! He’s excited to get involved with some of the more creative business planning we do and is a valued member of our newly-formed five-a-side football team.

Sanela Tomlinson

Partner

Sanela joined OC March 2020. She is a creative soul through and through.

She used to do art history tours in museums and digital marketing to help fuel her creative passion, while also buying and selling contemporary paintings to pay the bills.

When you visit us, you’ll be able to find her art adorning the walls of our offices. 

She was attracted by the OC partnership structure, which gave her the autonomy to just get on with things. She loves the trust and bond it enlists in each member, and the feeling of proper teamwork, which reminds her of the time she used to compete in swimming, cross country and football tournaments back in Kyiv and Moscow.

Ellis taylor

Partner

Ellis Taylor (ET) is a technology guy and had joined the OC team in May 2020.

At University he studied Computer Science, and then went on to study for various Cloud qualifications.

Ellis spends his spare time nurturing his love for his football team, Tottenham Hotspur – he believes a commitment to one’s football team is the only true constant.

Dan

Dan warrington

Partner

A born and bred Londoner, Dan joined the team in August 2020, and was drawn to the people and values in OC, with a focus on supporting SMEs to succeed, empowering people to work autonomously and a vision to make processes more efficient through technology.

 

Dan has joined OC with 7 years’ worth of Finance experience, from the basics of bookkeeping to the preparation of management accounts, and is looking to share this experience with OC’s SME clients.

 

Away from work, Dan spends a lot of his time volunteering for the Scout Association and holds many roles within his local area. His love for Scouting stems from his drive to improve the lives of the young people in his local area, and to make them into top citizens. He also loves getting outdoors learning skills that are seemingly disappearing in a modern technology driven world from Fire Lighting to Game Prep.

 

Dan is also a massive sports fan, following sports from Football [his club is Liverpool] and Rugby through to Cricket. Dan has also played a few sports such as football and is a keen runner, having competed in 3 half marathons, and has a dream of running the London Marathon one day.

Serge

Sergej vlasov

Partner

Sergej found his calling in Software Engineering. Having studied Psychology he knows a thing or two about people and human behaviour and thus has a keen eye for visual and interactive aspects of the software.

 

Sergej moved to London a few years ago and almost immediately fell in love with this city. Something about the fast paced city life with endless possibilities that inspires him to always reach for the sky. Sergej is also one of those rare people that actually love the London tube.

 

Outside of office Sergej likes everything sports and outdoors related. Hikes around London, tennis matches in beautiful parks, swimming in the lidos you name it. However, his most enjoyable activity is snowboarding, there is just something special about the early morning rides on the fresh powder. And when the outside is grim and rainy he prefers learning piano or to enjoy a book or a movie.

 

The structure, people and values in OC is what Sergej enjoys the most. Being among trusting and supportive people definitely makes it easy to motivate yourself in the morning and do your absolute best and above to achieve a common goal of enabling smaller businesses.

JÓN lischetzki

Partner

Jón (anglicised pronunciation: “Yon”) joined the OC team in November 2020. Icelandic and German by birth, he is also a naturalised British citizen, and is fluent in all three languages.

He trained as a hospital pharmacist in the NHS, after obtaining his MPharm from the University of Bath in 2017. On qualifying, he practised as a ward-based pharmacist at the Royal Surrey hospital in Guildford, before opting to head back to Bath to complete an MSc in Management with Finance.

Jón is particularly excited about being able to combine his passion for science and his clinical background, with his interest in helping to support those organisations and companies that positively shape our world and improve our lives.

In his spare time, Jón plays rugby. As a tight-head prop, he has represented the University of Bath, Berkshire County, Rams (formerly Redingensians), and in the sevens variant; Iceland.

Jón is also a keen Jazz/Swing guitarist, and although you wouldn’t expect it, he’s also a nifty fiddler – by which we mean to say that he has achieved grade 7 on the violin.

Since the first lockdown in March, he has become a keen amateur chess player. Naturally, he is a big fan of the office chessboard.

can boyraz

Partner

Can (pronounced Jan) joined the OC team in December 2020 as a Payroll Manager.

Born and bred in London, he cannot think of a better place to live in the world. Having graduated from the University of Kent with a Financial Mathematics degree and no real idea of the career path he wanted to take, Can decided to work in a small café in Brighton – living the easy life and relaxing by the beach. After taking a whole year to realise being a waiter was not his true calling, he decided the exhilarating life of a payroller was what he really wanted to do (with no regrets to date). 

After gaining 3 years of experience within a similar role and becoming increasingly aware and frustrated at the pressures smaller organisations face from governing bodies, Can was extremely drawn to OC’s dedication to help level the playing field and fight for the underdog.

He also really enjoys the partnership culture within OC and being part of a close-knit team, whilst also having independence and flexibility.

Andrada fizi

Partner

Andrada recently joined OC and she loved every second spent at work ever since.


She is organised and has a good eye for detail – which is what she has been doing since she has become part of the team.


Andrada maintains the office running smoothly by looking after the admin side of the business and she enjoys it (as much as you can enjoy paperwork).


She likes working with people, communicating and being part of a collective, which is why she was able to adapt and settle in rapidly.In the spare time that she has, she adores spending time with family and friends, running or playing the guitar.

Christopher Brightly

Partner

From a young age Christopher knew he wanted a career in finance, tailoring his academic journey to achieve it.


Eager to offer his years of financial knowledge, he started bookkeeping for his peers and family members whilst completing his BSc Economics and Finance degree.


Before OC, Chris always looked out for the underdogs, for the people and businesses who did not have the knowledge or resources to meet their legal financial responsibilities. 


When the opportunity of joining OC came up, it was a no brainer for him, and due to his vast knowledge of personal and management accounting, the transition into the company was easy.


The partnership style of OC is a perfect working style for him, allowing him to go above and beyond without any management pressure.

Andrew Godley

Partner

Andy’s journey in software started at The University of Sheffield within the Mechatronics department and after moving to London (with a brief stint in patent law) dropped the soldering iron for some more time with the ones and zeros of pure software development.


The lingering knowledge of the UK and European patent system gave him a great base of knowledge to help with OC’s R&D tax relief software.


He likes the rewarding nature the partnership structure and the ability to directly see the benefits that putting in the extra hours of work. In addition, Andy enjoys the freedom and autonomy the flat structure provides him, allowing him to focus on creating software with the goal of supporting smaller businesses.


He found it great moving into such a close knit team, and that you can be much closer to the team and the project than a larger company could provide, a welcome relief after joining OC towards the end of lockdown.


When he can get away from the screen he’d love to be spending time on his snowboard but unfortunately has to settle for once a year with the lack of any snow capped mountains present in South London.

cara cornforth

Partner

Growing up, Cara never thought she would end up in finance. Originally from Indonesia, she moved to London in 2017.


Since then, it has been non-stop numbers. She worked part-time in finance throughout university, amongst other things. Once graduating with her accounting and finance degree from a university in London in 2020, she dove headfirst into full-time accounting roles.


Cara loves working with numbers and finds balancing and helping to simplify processes, as well as collaborating with others, supremely satisfying. She is hardworking, strategic, always keen to learn, and has found working at the OC a breath of fresh air. The partnership structure within the OC is something she highly appreciates, as not only is it nurturing her growth, but it also simultaneously motivates her to go above and beyond in supporting SMEs.


Outside of work Cara is a fashion fiend, and always does her best to help the environment (and her finances) by only buying and selling second hand. She also has a passion for photography, on both sides of the lens, having previously worked in the industry during her uni days. 


Whatever time she has left would be spent on obsessing over her fur baby Bernie, 26 houseplants, keeping the house and garden habitable, and what seems to be something from the very distant past, music festivals and travelling far abroad.

cara cornforth

Partner

After graduating with a Computer Science degree (BSc Computer Games), Stefan has been providing software solutions to SMEs. He joined OC in 2021 as a Software Engineer working on the front-end (UX/UI) side.


Stefan was particularly drawn to the transparency and the employee centric work culture of the partnership model, along with the sense of fulfilment it provides. He really likes the close-knit team and the regular social company events, which are hard to experience in larger companies.


When Stefan is not programming software or reading about the newest tech, you can usually find him weight lifting in the gym. He has been actively training for over two years, regularly going to to the gym while keeping a healthy and balanced diet.