Financial Technology Startups Go After The Underserved Accounting Industry

Certified public accountants have a bevy of digital tools to help them manage the books but when it comes to getting paid for their work, they are stuck in the seemingly dark ages were paper checks reign supreme.

A crop of financial technology startups is trying to change that, launching digital tools to make it easier for them to get paid.

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As it stands accountants have unique needs that may not be applicable to other aspects of the world of freelancing. For example, many require specific data to stay in-line with compliance rules. Accounting firms also have to shift with the rest of the world and accept payments online in an easy to use way. Firms that are catering to small businesses have it even tougher. While late payments are the main problem with larger clients, with the smaller ones, it is processing payments in the manner they want to use. Credit cards, debit cards, and eChecks are the preferred choices for many small businesses and as a result accounting firms have to evolve.

Enter AffiniPay. Dustin Hall, director of CPACharge at AffiniPay said in a recent interview that fintech products designed for CPAs isn’t that common but they are beginning to grow.

“We saw that a vast majority of payment solutions available to CPA and accounting firms today were broadly created for general use by businesses across virtually all industries,” Hall said in a recent interview. “These solutions create a disjointed, and sometimes ‘bloated’ experience for accounting professionals.”

AffiniPay is among a crop of fintech startup companies that are identifying gaps in the payment landscape and are aiming to fill them. AffiniPay has been around for more than a decade and counts more than 5,000 associations and over 60,000 professionals as its customers. It claims to be one of the only payment solutions that’s offered as a member benefit by ABA and AICPA.

But these fintech companies like AffiniPay aren’t only helping accounting firms get paid. They are churning out solutions to automate processes to free up accountants. That enables them to shift from just crunching numbers to acting as an advisor to their clients. While there has been some pushback from an industry steeped in tradition as they fear computers will take over their jobs, many are now coming around. They realize that technology can help not halt their careers.