Sqrl, an information-gathering and communication tool created by accountants, announced that its platform is now open to users, and that it has raised $550,000 in seed money.

The Web application aims to make it easier for accountants and other professionals to gather information from clients through a “request engine” that automates and manages routine communications and requests.

Sqrl (pronounced “squirrel,” like the gathering animal) was originally an internal solution for founders Ryan Watson, Ryan Baker and Craig Baldwin and their online accounting firm, Upsourced Accounting. They decided to take it to market when other accounting firms expressed an interest.

“We were losing half our day to playing air traffic control with our clients,” said Watson. “It’s the same problem we had when I worked at a Big Four firm. A team would send hundreds or thousands of requests via e-mail, and we all kept track manually in one huge spreadsheet. It was a nightmare.”

The company recently raised $550,000 in seed money in a round led by CincyTech that includes Hyde Park Venture Partners and Vine Street Ventures. It plans to focus initially on small and regional accounting firms, and then to expand to serve the broader professional services market.

“Sqrl is addressing a fundamental problem we all encounter every day -- capturing and filing documents,” said CincyTech principal Justin Thompson. “The founders happen to be from the accounting field, which might have more of a problem than most professions. We believe the team has created an eloquent solution to the problem and are well-capitalized to test their solution in the marketplace.”

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