Recognizing that the accounting profession is due for disruption, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and CPA.com launched an initiative to jumpstart the transformation.
As many as five early-stage companies will get a major boost over the next year, thanks to a new startup initiative designed to drive innovation in accounting technology.
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and CPA.com Startup Accelerator will award up to $20,000 to finalists selected by AICPA and CPA.com executives after a round of live product pitches. Winners will also receive coaching from industry experts and the opportunity to showcase their products at AICPA’s Engage 2018 conference next June.
“It’s like Shark Tank for companies serving the accounting profession,” CPA.com CEO and President Erik Asgeirsson said in a statement.
But not just any company can apply. According to entry guidelines, the startup accelerator seeks pre-Series A companies that address one of two themes: professional competency or technology and financial information. Products in the latter category would include advancements in artificial intelligence, solutions that automate routine accounting tasks, and any other tool or application that helps accountants and financial teams “shift their focus more to value-add work rather than routine tasks.”
Keeping an Eye on the Horizon
The desire to find innovative ways to serve clients comes as a response to the changing accounting landscape.
“It’s no secret that the accounting profession of the future will look radically different than it does today,” the startup accelerator’s entry page states. “We’re already being challenged to adapt and evolve to global trends and practices, such as the increasing complexity of regulatory compliance, task automation, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the internet of things.”
Many in the accounting profession say embracing these changes is essential to riding the wave of digital disruption in finance. According to a statement from Lawson Carmichael, AICPA’s executive vice president for strategy, people, and innovation, the initiative allows the association and CPA.com to do just that: “For us, the startup accelerator offers a chance to ‘see around corners’ and take a more long-range view of opportunities in business transformation and innovation.”
Startups must apply by October 5.