Meet the New AI Bookkeeper on the Block

AI is entering accounting in numerous ways, so it should be no surprise that another company has thrown its hat in the ring to automate the bookkeeping and related processes for accounting firms.

After closing on a $3.6 million seed round, Basis, which touts itself as an AI platform for accounting firms, is officially coming into the accounting market. The idea behind Basis is that accountants can have AI-powered “intelligence” so they can (wait for it…) focus on being better advisors and not the “tasks” of being an accountant.

As such, Basis has launched two core products to kick things off: an AI assistant called “Basis Intern,” which is designed to help accountants with tax and accounting questions and workflows; and “Basis Accountant,” which sits alongside existing software and gives accountants a “team” of AI assistants to streamline tasks such as closing books, adjusting entries, reconciling accounts, compiling financial statements, generating work papers, and more.

According to company information, “Basis Intern” leverages proprietary models trained on general accounting principles, tax laws, and generic workflows, allowing accountants to get help with general questions and tasks. Basis’ core Accountant platform relies on models trained custom for each accounting firm and their clients, unlocking human-level performance on many company-specific workflows. That is from the official statement.

So, out of the gate you may think OK, don’t products like Botkeeper do this and already have a network of accountants already using and promoting it? Yes and no. Aside from that fact Botkeeper is a more mature product (and service), there are some differences and similarities.

While Botkeeper does leverage AI in the work it does, it also leans on human accounting professionals as well. It’s also not as focused on the tax and accounting questions component of accounting work as Basis proposes to do. At the same time, it’s also not as heavily focused on the AI doing the bulk of the work, versus assisting what the human is doing (as again, Basis proposes to do).

But, it’s early days for Basis and in the end they may not be going so head-to-head with the likes of Botkeeper and their ilk. Upon initial look they were the first comparison that came to mind.

Also, while Basis’ founders Matthew Harpe and Mitchell Troyanovsky are not accountants, they claim to have incorporated their inspiration from being ‘accountant adjacent’ for the bulk of their careers. The official word is that Harpe, who worked on healthcare and data science projects at the Boston Consulting Group, was tasked with finding ways to optimize processes, but quickly learned how rare it was for organizations to leverage granular accounting data in their decision-making.

Meanwhile, Troyanovsky was the first product hire at Puzzle Financial, an accounting ledger startup, where he helped build the company’s platform. The story goes that after seeing the inefficiencies in accounting workflows first hand and witnessing the centrality of accounting data across industries, Harpe and Troyanovsky left their careers to start Basis.

Subsequently, the founders began spending time with a broad group of accountants and got to know their pains and how they work, which then led to a prototype platform and ultimately what was released onto the market this week.

All told, the existence of Basis is no surprise as I mentioned, and other similar platforms that look to solve for the more daunting tasks that accountants do will likely be making their way to the market in short order. Little more is known about Basis so, my suggestion would be, if you were curious to know more, is to check them out and see for yourself.

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