The American Institute of CPAs and Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, a nonprofit trade association promoting the adoption of blockchain technology across global markets, have created a partnership to define the impact of blockchain technology for the accounting profession and to advance the interests of both the public and profession in this area.

The collaboration was announced at the fall meeting of the AICPA’s governing Council in San Antonio. As part of the initiative, CPA.com, the technology arm of the AICPA, will administer the WSBA’s working group on tax and accounting, a focal point for advocacy and education on blockchain adoption within the profession. Other existing WSBA working groups include research and innovation, legal, and technology and product. The working group model is designed to provide a forum for experts to share information, guide advocacy and technical efforts and create broader educational opportunities — such as webcasts, roundtables and other content — to address issues arising from the adoption of blockchain, distributed ledgers and smart contract technologies.

The initiative is expected to be particularly welcome in the accounting space, as it has been notoriously difficult to define and explain the uses of blockchain to the profession.

“The accounting profession is built on confirmation and verification, and that’s what blockchain is all about,” said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, in a statement. “This technology can have a profound impact on accounting and finance going forward, and it’s important we make sure that its adoption proceeds in a way that’s in the best interest of the public and our financial markets. Our working relationship with the WSBA, combined with our expanded global reach through the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, will help further that goal.”

Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, added that blockchain is one of the technologies that are “shaping” the accounting industry.

Blockchain is essentially a hyper-secure way of transmitting and storing information using a distributed ledger system. Related transactions are encrypted in a discrete block, which is connected to other blocks to create a chain that is accessible to all the authorized participants.

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