A different perspective on financial admin

August 30, 2021
Jaala Alex
Yao Tang, Thrive's Chief Data Officer, gives a reflection about how we're approaching solving accounting and bookkeeping for small businesses through data.

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At Thrive, we think that starting and running a business is hard enough without having to also worry about the proper setup and day-to-day hassle of accounting admin. That's why we're so focused on innovating to simplify and automate away as much of this work as possible.

The feature that I’m most excited about is the powered bank account that categorises your income and expenses, and does all of the financial record keeping for you in the background. In today’s data-rich and digital environment, it’s unacceptable that business owners are still spending hours, often on weekends, doing things like bank account reconciliation and tallying GST for business activity statements.

To solve this problem the data science team at Thrive has been busy over the last year, learning the ins and outs of accounting theory, ATO rules, financial reporting, and most importantly: consulting with real business owners and accountants to understand the pain points and complexities that face small businesses today. We’re still on that journey, and the features that we have planned for launch are just the beginning.

What does this mean for small businesses?

We expect to save the average small business around 3-4 hours a week – that’s a whole working month each year.

So, what are we doing, exactly?

We’re simplifying and automating, while also remaining compliant with accounting rules and regulations. Thrive is taking much of the manual data entry out of the equation: instead of asking people to recall and enter the information at the end of the month, we start with the activities involved in running a business, and collect the accounting information as it happens.

We’re automatically enriching and categorising bank transactions as they occur – identifying the type of income/expense, the merchant/client, and the appropriate record keeping and GST treatment. The end result is that proper accounting records and bank reconciliation happens automatically at the same time as when the transaction happens.


We’re providing invoicing and bill payment capabilities within the Thrive platform, and linking up the data trails in the background so that they’re automatically categorised and reconciled too.


In the rare case that additional information is required, we nudge users to enter it in a simple and understandable way while the memory is fresh.


Some of the interesting design challenges that we’ve faced (and our solutions) include:

The way we see it, one of the advantages that we have at Thrive is that we’ve been business owners and freelancers ourselves. Most popular accounting software packages out there have been built by accounts and bookkeepers, for accountants and bookkeepers. Our approach has always been to put ourselves in the business owner’s shoes and ask “Does this make sense to somebody who isn’t an accountant?”.

We can’t wait to get these features into the hands of customers so that we can continue to learn and grow, so that we can help small businesses to win back more time so that they can do the same.

Can't wait to use Thrive? You can skip the queue (of ~10,000 businesses on our waitlist) here.

Download the free Thrive 2020 SME Banking, Accounting & Financial Management Report

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