Following the success of their CSIRO Kick-Start engagement, retail leasing specialists Leasing Information Systems (LIS) pursued a SIEF STEM+ Business project to deepen the capability of their Accurait® software leading to significant new business.
To support international trade and attract global investments, countries adopt and comply with a common set of Accounting reporting standards. These are set by the global body, International Financial Standards Review Board. As a leading player in the development of international accounting standards, Australia's companies have a unique opportunity to lead the world in the rollout of new accounting compliance software. An important new standard would soon require retail leaseholders to report leases on their balance-sheet.
This would be a significant challenge as many leases are lengthy written contracts and the task of capturing key details and translating them to accounting software would be time-consuming and error prone.
LeaseInfo, in collaboration with CSIRO's Data 61 through the support of a CSIRO Kick-Start voucher, developed the foundation of a novel software platform to support companies in complying with the new requirements, and with the support of SIEF STEM+ Business aimed to improve this product drastically with the continuation of this successful partnership
The SIEF STEM+ Business project was commenced to extend and deepen the relationship created by the CSIRO Kick Start to develop robust and automate the capture of critical date leasing agreements. The SIEF grant allowed CSIRO's Data 61 to recruit early career researcher Dr Shaukat Abidi who has a PhD specialising in machine learning. Dr Abidi's full-time focus on LIS's software, supported by his supervisor Dr Stephen Wan, allowed new research to be conducted to improve the initial machine learning algorithms developed by Dr Wan's team. Such enhancements improved the digital accuracy and classification of scanned leasing contracts.
Accurait was launched a several months into the SIEF STEM+ Business project after intense work by LIS, Data 61 and Dr Abidi. At launch, Accurait® was an already powerful platform allowing hard copies of leases to be scanned, digitised, classified, and verified through a semi-automated approvals process, and subsequently exported to leading accounting software. Ongoing field trials with existing LIS customers opened new ideas for use of the software such as helping to monitor a list of standard clauses across an entire retail-lease portfolio. LIS has subsequently been able to secure a contract to supply Accurait to a major new customer with a significant national leasehold portfolio. The product also has penetrated new markets including Landlords, Franchisors and has already been exported to Fiji and New Zealand.
"SIEF STEM project has provided me the opportunity to actually take things out from research into the real-world. I have learnt very crucial skills needed by industries in Australia, i.e. talking to customers then turning their expectations into a working product that can generate revenue."
— Dr Shaukat Abidi, SIEF STEM+ Business Fellow, CSIRO Data61
This program is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF)
For further information and to apply, please get in touch with our dedicated STEM+ Business Manager.