More than 60 leaders from innovative CPA firms, technology companies, consulting firms and influencer groups came together last week to map out strategy for the advancement of blockchain technology within the accounting profession. A timetable was also set for the creation of working groups, educational materials and other goals.
The event, the Blockchain in Accounting Symposium, was hosted May 2 by the American Institute of CPAs and its technology subsidiary, CPA.com, and is part of a larger collaboration with the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA), a leading nonprofit trade association promoting the adoption of blockchain technology across global markets.
Blockchain is a secure, distributed database that leverages cryptography and peer-to-peer technology to group data into blocks and create an immutable chain of transactions. Its emergence is widely seen as having significant implications for the evolution of financial audits and other complex processes that require verification and confirmation.
“This was a strategic and important discussion related to the new capabilities and opportunities blockchain offers to many areas of the practice,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. “With this group of leading experts, we defined a list of key areas of focus for the coming year for our working groups. “
Next steps include:
- Distribution of a report later this month that synthesizes the symposium’s findings
- Formation this summer of blockchain-related working groups by practice area
- Release of initial materials from the working groups by November
“We expect blockchain will impact all areas of practice,” said Susan S. Coffey, CPA, CGMA, executive vice present for public practice for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “Collaboration will be critical to the profession’s success. We received feedback from a broad range of experts at the symposium, and we heard their urgency about making tangible progress.”
The American Institute of CPAs and CPA.com formed an alliance with the WSBA this past October to help guide and speed the adoption of blockchain technology. The AICPA and CPA.com are administering the WSBA’s working group on tax and accounting, a focal point for advocacy and education on blockchain implementation within the profession.
“The WSBA is proud to be part of this accelerating effort to guide the evolution of the global accounting profession in a future with blockchain technology,” said Ron Quaranta, chairman of the group. “Across the range of accounting workflows, from auditing to tax, financial reporting and beyond, we look forward to our continued joint efforts to advance the world of accountancy and its use of blockchain technology.”