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A recent poll by Accounting Today indicates that demand for education on blockchain (and other DLT) for accounting professionals is mounting. It showed that 50% of CPA’s and accountants participating in the poll did not even know what blockchain is. A further 34% admitted they need to know more and only 7% claims to understand more than most. With blockchain basically being an accounting information system and adoption and integration within business processes beyond financial services increasing, it seems like the accounting profession has some catching up to do.
According to Jon Baron, the managing director of the professional segment for Thomson Reuters’ Tax & Accounting business, the auditing profession will see quite a shift in the way audits are preformed. For example, blockchain technology will move the task of the auditor away from the checking transactions, signatures or balances. With real-time verified ledgers “sampling will fall by the wayside as data can be ingested and catalogued in total(…) and fraud detection will be easier and faster”. The future work of an auditor might instead focus on auditing IT processes, smart-contracts or evaluating implied accounting estimates thereof.
With understanding among accountants low and blockchain named as one of the most disrupting technologies in the financial services industry, there is an increasing demand for education.
Wim Maas is a lecturer at the Department of Accountancy at Tilburg University, The Netherlands. His interests include the implementation of distributed ledger technology for financial accounting and reporting purposes.