The startup Taxfyle has launched a Slack bot for getting your taxes done, powered by hundreds of human accountants.
Now in the Slack App Directory, Taxbot asks a series of questions, then gives you a price quote and assigns the job to a freelance certified public accountant (CPA). Just as Uber and Lyft connect drivers to people who need rides, Taxfyle connects CPAs to businesses who need their taxes done.
“If you’re working for PricewaterhouseCoopers, you can’t make any side cash right because you’re not going to take the time to incorporate [a business] and take the risk taking out a loan. CPAs are really risk averse by nature,” CEO Richard Lavina told VentureBeat in a phone interview. “Here you just pick up jobs you see on your dashboard and work on them.”
If a CPA or a customer have questions, they can chat on the Taxfyle website. In the future, all customer-CPA chat will take place inside Slack through Taxbot.
Rather than allowing people to choose their own, Taxfyle uses an algorithm to pair CPAs with customers based on agent availability and specialization. No CPA is allowed to remain on the Taxfyle platform without maintaining at least a 4-star rating, Lavina said.
“They’re just assigned because at the end of the day, our algorithm and the platform knows who is best and who is ready right now to do your return. There shouldn’t be anything subjective about filing your taxes. You owe what you owe, and your benefits are your benefits,” he said.
Roughly 700 freelance CPAs can be reached through Taxbot today. The average return takes roughly a day and a half to complete, though times vary based on the complexity of a client’s financial history.
Taxfyle is continuing a progression of professional services available in a conversational setting.
No longer in service, Tina was a professional services bot that connected companies to tens of thousands of workers in the Philippines who specialize in secretarial or administrative tasks. TARA is a bot that helps connect engineers to freelance gigs, while HealthTap and TalkSpace connect people with doctors and therapists respectively.
Last month Taxfyle raised $2 million in a funding round led by Jeff Ransdell Group and Beatport.
Taxfyle is based in Miami and was created in 2015. The company has 10 employees.