TrueUp student blockchain challenge seeks CPA mentors

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TrueUp, a company that “gamifies” accounting and finance skills to help companies build teams through challenges, is launching a blockchain challenge that is open to U.S. college students studying accounting, finance or data science.

While the competition is for students, accounting firms are encouraged to sign up to provide mentors to student teams. Confirmed firm participants include RSM, Eide Bailly, Withum, Warren Averett and several regional firms — interested firms have until August 31 to sign up. Student registration closes on September 15.

The objective of the challenge is within TrueUp’s wheelhouse, offering a true game or puzzle to solve. Students are given a mission:

The year is 2040 and the world is in financial chaos since cyberhackers have taken over all accounting bots responsible for automatic financial data entry into company blockchain ledgers. The blockchains have been breached, while bots operating with artificial intelligence have been given a virus only curable by a secret code established in 2018. Your team has been tasked by the President of the United States, Kim Kardashian, to go back in time to 2018 where the adoption of blockchain, bots and AI in accounting and audit began. The International Blockchain Association has supplied you with documents, names of key people, and other resources that will help you in your journey to fix the root of the issue. Mission: Save the bots and secure the blockchain!

Students will be randomly assigned to groups of three, and each person within a group should take on one of three roles: the industry CEO, the audit manager and the regulator. Each team will be matched with a representative from a real CPA firm who will act as mentor. The mentor both gives and receives: She will guide student teams with her knowledge and experience in the field; provide additional information to students throughout the challenge as they hit intentional road blocks; and also learn about blockchain, bots and AI for the profession along the way.

Teams will be expected to set up, maintain and audit a blockchain, while also designing a bot. Some examples of possible tasks include setting up a private blockchain ledger for a company, recording financial data in the blockchain ledger, performing audit procedures over a blockchain ledger, designing an accounting bot to automate financial data entry, and establishing controls over an accounting bot to ensure integrity.

Oracle will be co-branding the competition, and the software company’s team helped build the blockchain simulation for competing students to get real, hands-on experience. The Wall Street Blockchain Alliance is also co-branding the event., creator of an AI audit system based in Canada, is providing an AI-based audit tool for a section of the challenge.

The competition will kick off on September 20 with a one-hour webinar to brief participants. The challenge period will begin September 23 and close on October 6, giving teams approximately two weeks to work on their solution. Judging will conclude on October 13, and the winners will be announced on October 16. For more information, visit

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