Fast-growing accounting group Baldwins is working with AI pioneer Fluidly and software giant Sage on a “recommender” system to support advisory accountants.
The project, led by Fluidly, has received £1m+ in “pioneer funding” from Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to develop an AI-based system to support “advisory service provision at scale”.
Fluidly’s chief technical officer Johnnie Ball is developing the software, which is designed to monitor the underlying figures within clients’ accounting systems and then highlight potential trouble spots and opportunities where the accountant could offer pro-active advice.
The early stage fund is designed to help pioneering companies build up R&D initiatives at the pre-commercial stage, with Baldwins and Sage on hand to lend their help testing and take the concept to market.
“Transforming accountancy is one of four AI challenges within professional services,” said Fluidly founder Caroline Plumb. “The data is all there, so why not use it?”
One of the blocks to using accounting data at scale is the need to analyse data and forecast across entire client portfolios. The Fluidly concept is based around an access platform that will present an overview of the firm’s client base to give accountants the ability to monitor their clients in real time.
The latest Portfolio view added to Fluidly demonstrates how this dashboard might appear on the accountant’s computer screen, but more development work is needed to carry out the background number-crunching.
“Using AI to do forecasts at scale is how advisory can growth. Most clients are reluctant to pay for that, but because we can provide AI, you’ve got a starting point for discussion,” said Plumb. “It’s all part of helping them spot who’s the right client to have the right conversation with at the right time.”
It’s not the first time Fluidly has grabbed a lucrative R&D grant. Last year it picked up £200,000 from the Nesta Open Up Challenge to apply open banking APIs to help improve services for small businesses.
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