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‘Dragon’s Den’ launched to spur innovation in accounting

June, 19, 2017

~ Association and accelerator to focus on high-impact start-ups

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants – the Association – and are jointly sponsoring an initiative to accelerate the growth of early-stage companies that could have significant impact on the accounting profession. The goal is to promote innovation and give the profession early insight into disruptive technologies and services in finance and business.

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and Start-up Accelerator will look to support up to five early-stage companies over the next year. It will focus on start-ups in two key areas:

1) Technology and Financial Information: which could include advances in artificial intelligence, automation of routine tasks, and the application of blockchain/digital ledgers, and;

2) Professional Competency Innovation: which can encompass machine-learning to personalise professional education, collaboration tools for mentors and experts, and improvements in measuring professional competency, among other categories.

“The Association and have a deep base of knowledge and resources to offer entrepreneurs looking to find a foothold in the accounting eco-system,” said Lawson Carmichael, the Association’s executive vice president for strategy, people and innovation. “For us, the start-up accelerator offers a chance to ‘see around corners’ and take a more long-range view of opportunities in business transformation and innovation. There’s a compelling business case for collaboration.”

The start-up accelerator will offer benefits to entrepreneurs in three ways:

  • Provide up to the equivalent of $20,000 in funding per finalist;
  • Access to subject-matter experts, including an advisory panel of thought-leaders in the accounting technology field, who can provide coaching and mentoring on issues and opportunities unique to the profession;

Applicants from all global markets are eligible.

To qualify:

  • Start-ups should be at a pre-Series A stage of financing, with some exceptions;
  • The company must have a functioning product or service;
  • Pre-revenue companies will be considered based on their development progress and business plan;
  • Candidate companies must agree to pitch their product or service to Association and executives this fall, after which up to five finalists will be selected.

“At, we have been driving innovation for the past decade through our technology services, strategic partnerships, and training and education programs,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of, the technology subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs “We’ve also been convening leading technology companies at our Executive Roundtables and other collaborative events, so the next logical step for us is to support earlier stage activity with this startup accelerator. It’s like Dragon’s Den for companies serving the accounting profession.”

Submissions by startups are due by 5 October 2017. Interested companies who want more information can contact Greg Lafollette, a strategic advisor with,, or Mark Brooks, a member of the AICPA’s innovation team, To apply for consideration or learn more details about the start-up accelerator, visit

About CIMA: The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), founded in 1919, is the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants, with members and students operating in 177 countries, working at the heart of business. CIMA members and students work in industry, commerce, the public sector and not-for-profit organisations. CIMA works closely with employers and sponsors leading-edge research, constantly updating its qualification, professional experience requirements and continuing professional development to ensure it remains the employers’ choice when recruiting financially-trained business leaders.

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants is the most influential body of professional accountants, combining the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants to power opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide. It represents 650,000 members and students in public and management accounting and advocates for the public interest and business sustainability on current and emerging issues. With broad reach, rigor and resources, the Association advances the reputation, employability and quality of certified public accountants, chartered global management accountants and other accounting and finance professionals globally. offers a growing list of products and services for practice management, client advisory services and professional development. The company has established itself as a thought leader on cloud technology and has been a driving force around the reemergence of virtual CFO/Controller services by firms. The RIVIO Clearinghouse, a joint venture between and, is an online financial document clearinghouse that enables private businesses to exchange key financial information with lenders and investors. is a subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, the world’s largest member body representing the accounting profession. For more information, visit