The American Institute of CPAs and its technology-focused subsidiary CPA.com are jointly sponsoring an accelerator for companies that have potential to have significant impact on the accounting profession.

The initiative was announced at the 2017 AICPA Engage conference by Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the American Institute of CPAs. The aim of the initiative is to give the profession an early look at potentially disruptive technologies and services in finance and business.

Initially, the startup accelerator plans to support up to five early-stage companies over the next year. The companies should focus on either technology and financial information, which could include AI, automation or blockchain; of professional competency innovation, which includes focus on machine learning to personalize professional education, collaboration tools for mentors and experts, and improvements in measuring professional competency, among other categories.

“The Association and CPA.com have a deep base of knowledge and resources to offer entrepreneurs looking to find a foothold in the accounting ecosystem,” said Lawson Carmichael, the Association’s executive vice president for strategy, people and innovation, in a statement. “And for us, the startup 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 accelerator will offer up for $20,000 in funding to each finalist, provide access to experts and mentors, and a spot to showcase their product or service at next year’s AICPA Engage conference with the opportunity for more long-term partnerships within the profession.

AICPA chairman Kimberly Ellison-Taylor and president and CEO Barry Melancon at Engage 2017
Ellison-Taylor and Melancon at Engage 2017 AICPA

Interested startups should be pre-Series A funding, although the associations will allow for some exceptions. Pre-revenue companies will be considered based on their development progress and business plan. Candidates will be expected to pitch their products or services this Fall.

For more information on the accelerator, click here.

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