Blockchain: Unlocking new potential | Accounting Today

Think blockchain is just a buzzword? Think again. In recent years, blockchain technology has spread beyond its cryptocurrency roots and is touching a myriad of industries including supply chain management, health care, insurance, government, banking and real estate. The accounting and audit profession is no exception. While still a young technology, blockchain and its various applications are demonstrating the potential to significantly impact the profession.

“There’s a really strong potential for the accounting community to shine in this new arena. It won’t resemble what it has historically, but there will be a role for accounting professionals in this arena, and in some ways blockchain technologies and distributed ledgers, in particular, simplify the work that accountants do. In other ways, they are going to have to understand the new technology,” said Johnny Lee, national practice leader for forensic technology services at Grant Thornton LLP.

In the last few years, a growing number of accounting firms have undertaken blockchain initiatives to further understand the implications of this disruptive technology — and the efforts are likely to gain even greater momentum in the years ahead. This comes as no surprise when you consider not only the rise in use cases across various industries, but also the fact that blockchain is an accounting technology that seamlessly aligns with the profession.

Further demonstrating its importance, the American Institute of CPAs and the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, a nonprofit trade association promoting the adoption of blockchain technology across global markets, announced in 2017 a joint effort to advance blockchain technology for the accounting profession.

“The accounting profession is built on confirmation and verification, and that’s what blockchain is all about,” stated AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon, in announcing the collaboration. “This technology can have a profound impact on accounting and…

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