These 10 startups show profession’s focus on innovation, ESG

By Jeff Drew

The annual Startup Accelerator sponsored by AICPA and CPA.com has made a sizable expansion into environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

The 2022 accelerator features 10 early-stage technology companies that are developing innovative solutions for the accounting space. Previous accelerators included five participants, but the 2022 version adds a second five-startup cohort working to address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

"The Startup Accelerator has always been about identifying emerging trends, and ESG is a tremendous opportunity for the accounting profession," said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, in a news release. "The expansion of this year's program to include a second cohort focused on ESG is reflective of the growing opportunity for CPAs and firms to elevate their role as trusted advisers, as well as the Association's commitment to the space."

Each of the 10 companies selected for the 2022 Startup Accelerator will receive a $25,000 grant, participate in a six-month curriculum, receive guidance from expert advisers, and have the chance to showcase its solution at AICPA ENGAGE, the accounting's profession's largest conference.

The participants picked for the 2022 Startup Accelerator are:

  • AuditMiner, an Omaha, Neb.-based company with a product that leverages automation to streamline and standardize audit workpapers and templates for CPA firms providing employee benefit plan audits.
  • Once Accounting, a Dallas-based company that addresses the challenge of managing client records across multiple platforms. The company, formerly known as BaCo Tech, provides a client integration platform that seamlessly incorporates records into a firm's tax or accounting software.
  • Fieldguide, a San Francisco-based startup with an automation and collaboration platform that streamlines the end-to-end engagement workflow for modern risk assurance and advisory firms.
  • LumiQ, a Canada-based company that offers a native podcast app where engaging conversations with business leaders count as verified CPE or CPD credits. CPAs and accountants can earn credits on their commute, at the gym, or walking their dog.
  • Knuula, a Frisco, Texas-based company whose solution allows firms to easily customize, distribute, and manage client engagement letters, streamlining an often time-consuming process.  

ESG Cohort

  • Caesar Sustainability, a remote-based company that offers a comprehensive data collection and management platform to centralize workflows and data storage for ESG reporting.
  • ESG Trust, a San Francisco-based company with an integrated data management solution that identifies ESG risks opportunities, measures standards, and maps stakeholders to the value chain, streamlining ESG information gathering and collaboration.
  • Good.Lab, a San Francisco-based startup whose ESG performance management and compliance software allows organizations to transform their ESG data reporting engine to deliver actionable insights and data to management, investors, and customers.  
  • Sustain.Life, a company whose SaaS platform helps companies across industries reduce their environmental impact by providing ESG tools that enable the measurement and management of their carbon emissions.
  • Standard Carbon, a Winnipeg, Canada-based company that leverages artificial intelligence to deliver transparent, carbon-offset assurance statements.

The AICPA and CPA.com launched the Startup Accelerator to stay on the leading edge of the emerging technologies transforming the accounting profession. The strategy has been to support the growth of technology startups throughout the accounting and finance ecosystem.  

"We created this program five years ago as a way to identify emerging trends and drive innovation within the accounting profession," said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. "The Accelerator has been a great success, supporting leading-edge companies to help drive the transformation of accounting services in key areas such as blockchain, assurance, ESG, and automation."

— To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Jeff Drew at Jeff.Drew@aicpa-cima.com.

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