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Enigma system cracks accounts

The founder of the Micropal fund data system is offering a new account-checking software package that is derived from the programme used to crack the Enigma code in the Second World War.

Chris Poll, who sold Micropal to Standard & Poor’s in 1997, says Future Route’s Validis product, which uses algorithms designed by Alan Turing at Bletchley Park, is initially being targeted at small and medium-sized companies using the Sage 950 accountancy package.

He says Validis uses artificial intelligence and mathematical formulae, such as Benford’s Law – a means of spotting statistical anomalies – to identify any suspicious entries in the data and he says it can scan more than half a million data items a second.

Poll says it can be used by advisers checking the accounts of corporate clients or the finance directors of adviser firms to check their own company’s accounts.

It can run the data against standard UK accounting rules or be tailored to do this against other criteria. Users can also customise the package so any anomalous data entries, such as suspicious commission entries, are only highlighted if over a set amount, such as 50.

Poll has brought in Stewart Holness, one of the founders of Business Objects, as chief executive of Future Route, to help drive the launch.

Validis can be bought off the web for 95 or advisers can upload data on to the website for analysis. It is currently being field-tested with 126 advisers ahead of its official April 12 launch.

Poll says: “Accounting packages do not let you check data, this has to be done by eye, which is laborious and can take days. Validis can run through this data in seconds and find suspicious entries and is very simple to use.”

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