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Charting a path to prosperity for small business

Piles of coins growing in wealth

Beany has already built a core system to digitise and virtualise its client interactions, significantly cutting the costs or compliance-related accounting activity.

Now, under the covers, the company is building a new software system, partly funded by Callaghan Innovation, to help keep small business owners focused on their financial goals, whatever they may be.

"I guess we've kind of cracked the nut of how you compile accounts really cheaply, quickly and easily," founder Sue de Bievre says. "That was always phase one."

Beany is now focusing on changing people's financial behaviour, to help them become wealthier. Typically, she says, accountants give clients information which has no impact on behaviour because it doesn't interest the client sufficiently to change.

The new project takes a deep dive into the factors that can actually change financial behaviours, the triggers and the right moments to deliver those triggers.

"We are in the middle of a software build now which is really designed to stretch our clients into new areas of financial behaviour," de Bievre says.

Using machine learning, the software will map changes back onto Xero data to continually improve its model and refine the path to prosperity for clients.

"In my head, what we're trying to do is they see this shiny thing in the distance that they want: a mortgage-free home or a tertiary education for their children whatever the shiny thing is.

"We know where they're starting because we do their compliance accounting. What are the little light bulbs that are lighting the path from here, compliance accounting, to that shiny thing in the future?"

The software will define those light bulbs mapping a path forward towards key financial goals, using real data in real-time.

"It's going to be this is actually happening to you now in this moment. And this is happening to your cohort in this moment. And with this information take the next step to the next lighted step."

Originally posted on Stuff NZ. 28 November 2017.