SME Innovation | When Sérafin answers questions…


Am I eligible for the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP)? If I contribute $5,000 to my RRSP, how much tax do I save? What programs exist to finance my children’s studies?

At the start of the year when many people are making resolutions to better manage their personal finances, finding answers to questions that seem complex can become a perilous, even discouraging, exercise. This is where Sérafin comes into play. This is not the famous miserly character of the Beautiful Stories from the Lands Abovebut an artificial intelligence tool with which users can discuss online on a multitude of subjects: mortgage, RRSP, taxes.

“Sérafin is made up of a multidisciplinary team which includes several agents from different financial fields: in taxation, taxes, government programs,” explains in an interview Maly Charbonneau, co-founder and head of marketing of WelcomeSpaces, the Quebec platform which launched Serafin to the world. “He will interact with these people to get the best answers. »

The story

The Sérafin project was developed by WelcomeSpaces, a Quebec site which lists more than 250 personal finance experts (tax specialist, mortgage broker, accountant, insolvency professional), over the past year.

“We did a study on financial literacy in Quebec. We realized that 20-35 year olds were failing miserably in basic financial matters, underlines Mme Charbonneau. Noticing this, we asked ourselves how we could democratize access to expertise and, above all, how we could make it easy. »

At the moment, Google is often the first source of information used by people who no longer know where to turn, according to Maly Charbonneau. They end up on government sites where the information given is not always easy to understand.

“Otherwise, we go to Facebook, where we find groups that talk about personal finances,” she adds. The reality: when we look at the answers given, we see that they are not always truthful. Anyone can act as a financial guru and provide information. »

Faced with these observations, WelcomeSpaces, which has 10 employees and whose head office is located in Repentigny, decided to create this tool.

Following their discussions with Sérafin, users who decide, for example, to contribute to their RRSP and who do not know where to turn can contact professionals listed on the platform. The “consultation” with Sérafin and access to the directory of accountants and other tax specialists are free. It is the professionals appearing on the site who pay to be there. They thus have access to a pool of potential customers. Users who then decide to make an appointment with them will obviously have to pay for the services.

The future

In the weeks and months to come, WelcomeSpaces hopes that a growing number of Internet users will consult Sérafin. “Since it’s artificial intelligence, it’s scalable. The more people ask questions and interact with the tool, the better it learns and the more efficient it will become,” explains Maly Charbonneau.

“Sérafin is believed to have the power to change the relationship people have with their personal finances. In the coming months, we really want to work on improving it, especially with regard to the speed and consistency of responses. We have a team of professionals who check the answers given. »

Mme Charbonneau and his team want Sérafin to eventually be able to make the link between the user and a professional, depending on the client’s profile: single mother, student, retiree, etc.

“When you are looking for a financial professional, there is no easy way to find someone. »

In this context, Sérafin will undoubtedly have competition. Maly Charbonneau would not be surprised to see other artificial intelligence platforms and tools soon appear on the web.


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