A New Zealand woman's bid to give back to her community has led to the launch of a voice-activated accounting service for small-and-medium-sized businesses that has already gone global.
Tania.ai is named after Donamaree Ryder's mother and is the fulfilment of a promise she made as a child to use her skills to help others get ahead.
"I come from a low socio-economic background and when I was little my mum and I used to dream about what it would be like to be financially secure and have enough money to buy basic things like milk and bread.
"And so we devised a master plan that I'd get educated, because she wasn't, and when I figured out how businesses and money worked then I would bring back that knowledge to help everyone else. So that is where it came from."
Ryder has worked in the corporate world for the last 20 years at Carter Holt Harvey and Fonterra and now runs her own business called Vexecute in Hamilton.
"As I built up my skills and knowledge I thought now I understand how it works, how can I give back? "
She started by helping small businesses understand their financial situations but soon found many didn't know what was going on under the hood.
"That made it really hard for them to improve and grow."
Instead of copying herself 50 times or creating an accounting firm she decided to copy her knowledge into home voice system Alexa with the help of Amazon Web Services.
The result was Tania.ai - an artificial intelligence service that gives people basic accounting information in a spoken format at a much lower cost than paying to get the advice from an accountant.
Ryder has a degree in management and a masters in finance. She isn't a chartered accountant but has spent most of her career as an internal auditor.
"My career has been as an internal auditor for Carter Holt Harvey, improving global reporting for Fonterra - I have a way with numbers."
She says if a small-to-medium-sized business could get the same level of understanding that these large corporations do that would change their lives.
The tool launched in early July - 21 years after her mother passed away - and already has
three accounting partners signed up from the US - one of which has 200 offices across the US, three organisations in NZ and one accounting partner in Australia.
The app is integrated with Xero and will also integrate with accounting platform Quickbooks in the next six weeks.
Ryder is hoping it will expand to 10,000 businesses in the first year and says she is mainly targeting the US market as voice activation use is much more advanced there than in New Zealand and Australia.
The tool gives business owners a three-minute daily briefing which gives them a seven-day cashflow forecast, update on what is outstanding in terms of money owed and money they owe and a snapshot of the businesses profit and loss and margins.
She says a business can have up to 6200 different combinations of it going well or not so well.
"We have 1500 sets of conversations that will occur across a number of different pathways. That is sitting on top of 45,000 algorithms that drive the commentary and conversation."
Business owners and their accountants can listen to that commentary either through their mobile phone or an Alexa while they are having a coffee or driving to work.
"Mostly importantly it helps them understand what the numbers are trying to tell them."
At the moment she says business owners have to use accounting software and look at numbers and charts and then interpret what they need to do next.
If they need help to solve problems Tania refers the business owner to their accountant for more complex advice.
Ryder has self-funded the business so far and says ownership is important to her.
"I built the prototype myself, we used interns from Win-tech and University of Waikato.
"It is majority owned by me and that is important to me as because I'm Maori from the Waikato."
Users don't need to have an Alexa, just a mobile phone with the Alexa app on it.
As to what her mum would think of it, Ryder admits the real Tania probably wouldn't have wanted anything named after her.
"She was a very humble person. I think she would have told me it wasn't allowed to be named after her.
"She made us get educated so that we could have a better life. I thought what better name to have. Tania the app is trying to achieve the same thing just on a global scale."
Ryder hopes to expand it in the future to give financial advice to individuals.
Neil Webster, head of Saas for Amazon Web Service New Zealand, said through its activate programme it provided Tania and other start-ups access to AWS credits, technical support, and training to help develop and grow their product.
"Tania.ai is a great example of a Kiwi company leveraging technology to help other Kiwi companies get ahead, and we expect to support Tania's continued growth."