3 reasons CPAs should care about blockchain

People’s perspectives on blockchain usually fall into two categories: You believe the technology will change everything, or you believe it’s a passing fad. The reality is probably somewhere in the middle.

At the recent 2nd Annual Blockchain Symposium in New York City, I highlighted three reasons CPAs should care about blockchain:

A customer views American flag themed decorations for sale at a Walmart Inc. store in Secaucus, New Jersey.
1. Adoption is coming
You may have heard about the Walmart mandate that will require its leafy green suppliers to use blockchain technology for food safety purposes. Even though we’re talking about the largest grocer in the world, it’s important to realize that this kind of mandate will eventually have a more local effect. By requiring use of blockchain technology, Walmart sets a certain standard and example — and rest assured, others will follow suit.

Ultimately, even if Walmart isn’t your client, one of their thousands of suppliers might be. If you’re a CPA working within an organization, it’s likely that your company or one of your suppliers will eventually use blockchain technology.
2. New opportunities will be up for grabs
Firms and businesses alike will face new challenges with the adoption of blockchain technology. These challenges will change the landscape of accounting. For CPAs who have knowledge and expertise in this technology, there will be a tremendous opportunity to offer support to clients in areas such as tax, audit and advisory services.

While IT professionals might be the ones encoding blockchain technology, accountants will have to know how it works so they can ask the right questions on behalf of their organization or clients.
3. The profession can gain an edge over others
Blockchain is an area where accountants can get ahead of the curve and be thought leaders for those in other professions. Although it could take 10 years for the technology to become seamless, firms have the opportunity to capture the market right now while there is room for improvement. Ultimately, you have the chance to capture a tremendous amount of market share.

Whether you’re a CFO who needs to find ways to work in tandem with a CIO or an accountant who can contribute to creating advisory around chaincode (the term for programs that run on top of blockchain), it’s time to prove that you’re here to work with the future of technology, not against it. CPAs will need to learn how to “speak” code to take their organization or client’s vision and business model and apply it to blockchain technology.
Resources
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the united voice of the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, has a library of resources to help you grow your knowledge in blockchain technology. Whether you want just the basics or prefer a deep dive, here are a few blockchain resources for you to consider:
  • Interactive brochure: Learn how blockchain will change accounting.
  • Whitepaper. Read how the technology will change the future of audit.
  • The Go Beyond Disruption podcast. Get the basics of blockchain for CPAs.
  • On demand learning. Grow your knowledge through one of our certificate programs.
  • Webcast. Join us on Nov. 19, 2019, to learn more about Walmart’s new blockchain mandate and its impact the global food supply chain. (Save 10 percent with promo code "VQO.")

Whether adoption of blockchain technology happens more slowly or more quickly than anticipated, the profession needs to be ready. A good first step is to educate yourself on the fundamentals of the technology. So, what are you waiting for? Take the first step.