UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) has announced its latest round of funding for projects through Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund, with two organisations receiving funding to develop and accelerate commercialisation of their accounting tech products and services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of a £550 million package of measures to support the response of SMEs to the pandemic, UKRI is supporting businesses that require funding to keep ideas alive during a climate of uncertainty. The projects which were independently assessed for innovativeness, sustainability and their impact on Covid-19 recovery, either to the business or more broadly were:

Clearview Systems Ltd

A UK SME specialising in financial reporting technology. Clearview has received funding to develop a novel, leading-edge technology that detects fraud and financial weakness. The project aims to utilise machine learning to quickly and efficiently analyse millions of accounts filed in online repositories and determine KRI patterns from this data to establish, generate and patent models that predict financial challenges.

Action Artificial Intelligence Ltd

In collaboration with RGS Accountants, the project aims to provide a tool that makes cash flow management simpler for non-experts by developing an intelligent Virtual Assistant. Business owners will be able to interrogate their cash flow positions using normal, conversational language through a range of channels including instant messenger, Webchat, or via the phone using automatic speech recognition.

UKRI has seen an increased level of interest from accounting tech organisations since the launch of its Next generation Services programme in 2019, that set out to support the responsible development and adoption of AI and data technologies in accountancy, insurance and legal services.

Stephen Browning, Challenge Director of Next Generation Services at Innovation UK, comments: “Innovate UK is actively working in the Accounting Tech area with the Next Generation Service programme being the clearest example of this. Accounting Tech companies seeking funding for research and development projects can apply to Smart Grants and sign up to AI for Services to learn of other opportunities as they develop.”

Although the Sustainable Innovation Fund has now closed, organisations can still apply to the Smart Grants Programme. Smart Grants are available to any UK-registered organisation on a two-month rolling cycle.

The next application submission deadline for Smart Grants is 11:00am on 20th January 2021.

Projects with a duration of 6 – 18 months must have total eligible costs between £25,000 and £500,000 and projects of 19 – 36 months having total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2,000,000. All projects must be a collaboration of multiple parties.