We recently announced the 2021 cohort for the startup accelerator we run with the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA & CIMA). The accelerator will give the five early-stage companies in this year’s program access to senior CPA.com and Association executives, as well as a highly regarded advisory panel with deep roots in accounting, finance and innovation.
The accelerator is important in its own right – it gives us, for example, better insight into the path of disruptive technologies that impact accounting. But it also fits into a broader effort we’ve been at the forefront of for the past decade or more – building an innovation ecosystem, a technological rising tide that lifts all boats.
Examples of this include our work with the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and our signature Executive Roundtable, which gathers top executives, entrepreneurs and influencers in the accounting technology space for networking, mutual problem-solving and support. All these efforts create synergy.
This year’s accelerator lineup is part of that push:
- ByteChek – The Miami-based company’s platform and unique integrations create an automated experience for service organizations working toward a System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 report. Organizations license the product and CPAs review the results.
- ElectroNeek – Robotic Process Automation (RPA) removes the headache of repetitive, rule-based tasks that consume too much time for accounting firms and finance teams in companies of all sizes. ElectroNeek empowers its partners to deliver automation to accounting clients free of any software charges, making RPA more accessible.
- Guardd, Inc. – The Denver-based company provides critical support for secondary market trading of private company securities. GUARDD is a financial disclosure tool that collects, verifies, and disseminates private company information, including financial data, facilitating transparency for investors and allowing private companies to compliantly trade on Alternative Trading Systems.
- Saasable – Recurring revenue is a key metric for businesses but is difficult to capture and benchmark. Saasable, based in Burlington, Vt., allows clients to automate daily recurring revenue data, customize it and share it with users. Results can be measured against SaasIQ, the company’s artificial intelligence-driven benchmarking tool for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Valid8 Financial – The company, based in Boulder, Colo., is reimagining financial audits and investigations. Valid8 extracts evidence from multiple types of systems and documents to create a fully integrated transaction database to dramatically reduce sample risk and help accounting service professionals deliver "forensic-grade" financial audits with 80 percent less time spent on data preparation.
What do these companies illustrate?
ByteChek’s co-founders are an information assurance and accounting professional who serves on AICPA technology panels and a military veteran with a background in cybersecurity who has worked with some of the biggest cloud hosting companies. Fusing complementary skills and competencies is a key for successful companies – and the profession.
Guardd incorporates RIVIO, our private company information clearinghouse, into its solution, which offers enhanced disclosure to ease the trading of private company securities. This demonstrates how innovation can be incremental and interlocking.
The other three companies on our list help solve pain points for many practitioners and their clients. By attacking a problem from a unique perspective, startups can help reset how we view a variety of approaches, sparking other innovations. This is the way we move forward.