The Impact of Blockchain Technology on Accounting and Auditing

blockchain and accounting

The net effect of this rapidly increased usage of blockchain in financial transactions has created a huge demand for interpreting and understanding tax effects of blockchain-related transactions. Instead of the old-school double-entry system for record-keeping, blockchain will let you write transactions directly into a joint register that is both secure and publicly accessible. That excitement is reflected in the market as well, with more than 55% of businesses saying that blockchain technology is one of their top-five strategic priorities – up from just 43% in 2018. What’s more, businesses spent more than $4 billion on blockchain solutions in 2020, and the global market for blockchain technology is expected to top $20 billion by 2024 – up from just $315 million in 2015.

Resistance to change

Industry leaders are using IBM Blockchain to remove friction, build trust, and unlock new value. The Home Depot is using IBM Blockchain to gain shared and trusted information on shipped and received goods, reducing vendor disputes and accelerating dispute resolution. A successful career in Blockchain Accounting requires a blend of technical and soft skills. Proficiency in programming, Smart Contract Development, cryptography, and understanding Blockchain protocols is crucial. Equally important are problem-solving, analytical thinking, and effective communication.

Secure Transactions

As a result, blockchain users can remain anonymous while preserving transparency. For example, exchanges have been hacked in the past, resulting in the loss of large amounts of cryptocurrency. While the hackers may have been anonymous—except for their part time accounting wallet address—the crypto they extracted is easily traceable because the wallet addresses are published on the blockchain. Because there is no way to change a block, the only trust needed is at the point where a user or program enters data.

Sustainability and climate change

Papers on this topic are mostly written from the perspective of a company implementing blockchain. Opportunities range from improved efficiency, transparency and trust to the high potential of new business models and ecosystems that evolve due to blockchain. Challenges include potential risks related to blockchain implementation, the influence of context and a high demand for energy consumption. The results showed that the four topics with the highest marginal distribution accounted for more than half of the overall content of the sample.

blockchain and accounting

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New ecosystems are developing blockchain-based infrastructure and solutions to create innovative business models and disrupt traditional ones. This is occurring in virtually every industry and in most jurisdictions globally. Our deep business acumen and global industry-leading Audit & Assurance, Consulting, Tax, and Risk and Financial Advisory services help organizations across industries achieve their various blockchain aspirations. The agile design of Deloitte COINIA also means it can be used today not only for crypto assets but also for a broader base of digital assets, and beyond, as they are supported by the business community in the future.

In total, four articles—two from 2019 (Chang et al., 2019; O’Leary, 2019), one from 2018 (Wang and Kogan, 2018) and one from 2017 (Kokina et al., 2017)—are remarkably significant in terms of the number of citations received over several years and the ranking obtained. This indicates that the papers provide high-quality information on accounting, auditing and accountability and blockchain. The leading journals deal with the topic of technologies and information applied to accounting, auditing and accountability. Blockchain 2.0 includes the economic market and extends to transactions, such as stocks, bonds and smart contracts.

Blockchains can be used to make data in any industry immutable—the term used to describe the inability to be altered. Fifth, in terms of blockchain definitions, the coding analysis confronts the standardized definition of McAliney and Ang (2019). Blockchain is a dispersed ledger of chained consecutive cryptographic blocks. Moreover, the analysis shows that all the sources analyzed agree that in accounting, auditing and accountability, we can refer to the Blockchain 3.0 stage of development. The blue shaded areas on the map represent research cooperation among nations. Additionally, the pink lines linking countries indicate the extent of collaboration among the authors.

This allows users to securely transfer value or assets without having to rely on a trusted third party such as a bank or government institution. Prior research points to a growing trend in the topic of new skills for teams when implementing blockchain and using this technology in day-to-day work (Changati and Kansal, 2019). Fang and Hope (2021) indicate that blockchain is more effectively implemented in teams comprising accountants, managers and experienced analysts as opposed to teams consisting only of highly experienced analysts. We expect that blockchain will involve more multi-tasked teams with diverse knowledge and skills to generate additional synergies.

This is not to say that a traditional network structure is not effective. Transactions take time to process and cost money; they are not validated by all parties due to limited network participation, and they are prone to error and vulnerable to hacking. To process transactions in a traditional network structure also requires technical skills. A private distributed ledger requires an invitation to participate in the network and must be validated by a process (i.e., existing members decide on future participants) or by an algorithm. In contrast, a public distributed ledger does not require permission to participate in the network. The authors wish to thank Warren Maroun and the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful and constructive suggestions that helped to strengthen our contribution.

blockchain and accounting

If buying and selling cryptocurrencies was part of the ordinary business of an entity, then it would be possible to account for cryptocurrencies as inventory. 9 states, “Inventories shall be measured at the lower of cost and net realizable value,” and if a company is a broker-trader, then it can value cryptos at fair value less cost to sell (Procházka, 2018; Morozova et al., 2020). Polasik et al. (2015) highlight that in countries with large shadow economies and low gross domestic product per capita, Bitcoin can work as a substitute for PayPal, payment cards and cash on delivery. However, according to Senner and Sornette (2019), cryptocurrencies cannot replace fiat currencies because they do not entirely address the complexity of monetary politics. Furthermore, decentralized systems entail governance issues that pose challenges when urgent decisions are needed (Zachariadis et al., 2019). The authors in the fourth area engage with empirical evidence and analyses, aiming to test how and why blockchain is implemented.

Christ and V Helliar (2021) show that blockchain also makes it possible to monitor workers’ rights, but there are some privacy concerns that must be addressed. Moreover, Autore et al. (2020) found that a firm announcement regarding its investment in blockchain leads to an increase in its stock price. However, these findings contrast with Austin and Williams (2021), who state that there is no evidence that disclosing information about blockchain investments positively affects investor judgments. Figure 2 represents our steps using a PRISMA diagram (Page et al., 2021), which we adjusted to enhance its fit for a qualitative systematic review.

  1. Unlike traditional ledgers managed by a single entity, Blockchain operates on a network of nodes, each maintaining a copy of the entire ledger.
  2. On the other hand, Nyumbayire (2017) points to environmental sustainability as an issue, explaining that the algorithms that run blockchain require a great deal of electricity.
  3. This subsection aims to investigate the blockchain characteristics identified.
  4. If a majority of the network users agree that the new version of the code with the upgrade is sound and worthwhile, then Bitcoin can be updated.
  5. In this way, the data stored in a blockchain can be validated and summed without revealing any details.

Although there are some proposals for the use of blockchain in accounting, thus far, none have been commonly accepted. Smart contracts can easily and cost effectively transfer ownership of a car or transfer corporate shares without needing a third party, such as a bank or a stockbroker, and with immediate settlement. It is this removal of “middlemen” by enabling trusted peer-to-peer exchange that is driving what some have come to refer to as “Web 3.0”, and the creation of $2 trillion of wealth in the last ten years. This means that it’ll also save you and your bookkeeper tons of time while also making it easier to audit your own financial records. During an audit, an accounting professional can easily confirm that a transaction happened, but the transaction details aren’t recorded.

By providing seamless accounting automation, simplified compliance processes, and audit-ready financial reporting, Bitwave is enabling the next wave of enterprise money transfers on Stellar. With this integration, finance teams leveraging the Bitwave platform can now seamlessly account for Stellar on-chain activity with automated transaction categorization and comprehensive, audit-ready financial reports. Bitwave has ensured that all Stellar token transactions are easily identifiable on the platform by appending the XLM token ticker symbol, providing users with quick and transparent access to their transaction information. SAN FRANCISCO, June 20, (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bitwave, the leading enterprise finance platform for digital assets, is thrilled to announce the successful completion of its integration with the Stellar blockchain.

Drilling back down to real world applications, however, provides an example of how these implications are already influencing accounting at large. And going back to blockchain, things like smart contracts, that’s absolutely something where the profession needs to play a role with the SOC standard and give some level of trust that people’s smart contracts are written properly. A blockchain is a distributed, peer-to-peer database that hosts a continuously growing number of transactions. Each transaction, referred to as a “block,” is secured through cryptography, timestamped, and validated by every authorized member of the database using consensus algorithms (i.e., a set of rules). A transaction that is not validated by all members of the database is not added to the database.

Blockchain also saves time by increasing the speed of transactions, reducing human error and minimising fraud (Kokina et al., 2017; O’Leary, 2017). The use of smart contracts may also improve processes in a range of industries. Smart contracts on the blockchain execute when certain conditions are met without the need for trusted intermediaries to verify the fact (Coyne and McMickle, 2017; Kokina et al., 2017). There is already evidence to show how blockchain may reduce costs in the finance industry (e.g. Fanning and Centers, 2016; Kokina et al., 2017). Two of the most widely discussed topics–“the changing role of accountants” and “the new challenges for auditors”–only seem to be getting more popular.