Head of Insight AccountingWEB
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Accountex 2019: Clarity hails the blockchain era

1st May 2019
Head of Insight AccountingWEB
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Clarity hails blockchain era at Accountex
Clarity_Blockchain_HannahFullegar
Clarity hails blockchain era at Accountex

In the absence of market-shaking acquisitions and product launches on day one at Accountex, blockchain start-up Clarity grabbed the spotlight.

Clarity’s figurehead is Aynsley Damery, accountancy’s most hyperactive entrepreneur. A multi-award winner for his work with Tayabali Tomlin and Accounting for Entrepreneurs, Damery now sports a t-shirt bearing the logo “Clarity” and tells anyone who will listen: “Our mission is to tokenise accountancy.”

Clarity is still in its embryonic stages but was conceived as a global advisory platform for accountants to handle accounts data, analytics, file sharing, third-party verification and even access to funding. Using blockchain and artificial intelligence technologies, Clarity aggregates all the data in one place to help small business owners understand their numbers and guide them through their path to growth.

“From our experience, the three biggest reasons businesses fail are not understanding their numbers, failing to plan properly and poor cash management or a lack of appropriate funding and investment,” Damery explained.

“Once we’ve taken the financial data and crunched the numbers in the background, we will then be able to provide valuable insights, benchmarking and feedback to business owners graphically.”

According to Damery, from an accountant’s point of view blockchain is a ledger – a shared, distributed ledger that can be stored on the computers of those interacting within the database.

“Blockchain can record anything of value - in the digital age we’re in, it’s revolutionising how we record and transfer value,” he said.

Within the Clarity system, that means that contracts between parties in a transaction can store “smart” contracts that the businesses can share with other parties – so lenders might be able to access financial information on a firm’s sales ledger to assess its viability for a loan.

Clarity is promising an early view of the system to visitors at Accountex, but the first prototype is not expected to be up and running until early 2020. Instead, Clarity has come to the London event to drum up interest in its initial coin offer set for the beginning of July.

That makes the bitcoin side of the Clarity equation as much of a point of interest as the intended application.

The token bit

Clarity has been talking to venture capitalists but is now committed to an open sale of its tokens in 60 days’ time. Those buying tokens will be given unique referral links to their investments – with early adopters getting an extra 15% credit for tokens they buy before the public sale.

The starting price is just 8 US cents at the moment and when the system goes live, the minimum token price will be set at $2. Clarity customers will also be able to accept the cryptocurrency as payment for business services. “Every token holder has the opportunity to set free any undervalued ether in the current crypto market,” said Clarity.

Client acquisition strategy

Damery maintains that with 163 million small businesses out there, there is a “colossal” potential interest in the Clarity system. However, rather than acquiring customers one by one, his team is looking to partner with regional, national and international accounting networks and firms to bring small businesses onto the Clarity platform in bulk. The company has also been having extensive discussions with accounting software payers such as Xero and QuickBooks.

“We will provide accountants with a scalable business advisory solution that enables many of their team to deliver outstanding service, replace lost compliance revenue and the opportunity to become a true trusted advisor or the firm of the future,” he said.

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By johnt27
02nd May 2019 16:42

Oh goody, another ICO - the new realm for the snake oil salesman, ponzi scheme proponent or get rich quick promoter

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John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
03rd May 2019 10:05

Thanks for your comment John. While I can understand the hint of snark behind it, having had a look at the app after this interview I think it's worth making the effort to understand what Clarity is and what they're trying to do.

For the next two months, publicity and hype are important elements for the Clarity crew to build up as much interest in the project as they can. And aside from a demo prototype, there isn't actually a product they can roll out to the market yet, so it's all very conceptual - they're selling an idea. So yes, what we're getting from them now is akin to two boxers trash talking each other for the cameras before their big bout.

But the app does what Damery says. Demostrating it to me on an iPad at the show, it displayed 7 key numbers (income, expenses, cashflow etc) and had a nicely organised online repository for company articles, business plans and other documents. If you were looking for an investor, he suggested, they could register with Clarity to get a ID signature code, and then use that to look at the reports and documents illustrting the company's performance and plans.

There weren't flashing lights saying "Supercool - this app is powered by blockchain", it was just a nice, easy to understand interface.

With the database behind it, Clarity will be able to import accounts ledger and other data via APIs to display in reports and KPI dashboards, with the main purpose of showing business owners and managers numbers to spark conversations.

There was also a prompt page, raising issues like credit control, growth planning and marketing. In time, the plan is to publish checklists and advisory content to steer both the adviser and client to start putting improvement ideas into action. As an idea, it's certainly interesting.

We'll have to wait until early July to see how far off the ground it gets. Until then, maybe other Accountex visitors can tell us what they think of it.

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