French company promises to replace accountants with bots
A French technology company has entered the ranks of those looking to replace accountants with software.
The company, called Georges, has launched an accounting automation platform that promises to allow businesses to “operate without an accountant thanks to a caring team” (translated from French on the company website).
Georges will operate on a subscription basis, with its product available via software-as-a-service (SaaS). Its model, which promises almost complete automation of the accounting process, is not new — Botkeeper in the United States promises something similar, for instance. Also similar is the fact that the company will provide human support during the accounting process. It is unclear where these staff members will be located. Botkeeper outsources the work offshore to places such as the Philippines.
Also entering the mix are services such as QuickBooks Live, Intuit’s bookkeeping-as-a-service offering, which has earned mixed responses from the accounting community. While QBL doesn’t promise to get rid of accountants altogether, some fear that such offerings could replace accountants who have worked with small-business clients for years with on-demand help.
Companies such as Botkeeper, and now Georges, want to go one step further and replace all accounting help with automation and other technology. However, the reality is these companies still have accounting professionals on staff, whether in-country or offshore, to address the needs that technology still cannot meet.
Georges promises fully automated bank synchronization, bank reconciliations, certain tax forms used in the European Union, and 90 percent correct categorization of line items. That extra 10 percent, though, will be fulfilled by “accounting specialists” through live chat and phone services. As with Botkeeper, the question then arises of security and compliance with national accounting standards. Georges has not addressed these questions yet.
Georges recently secured $11.2 million in startup funding, but its product is available for use now. Interested parties in France can sign up for a free trial. Subscription is on a month-to-month basis and can be canceled at any time.