What is Blockchain Accounting?

Blockchain’s shared ledger minimizes the need for reconciliation across different entities. Parties involved in a transaction have access to the same immutable record, reducing discrepancies and the risk of errors. This streamlined process accelerates the reconciliation timeline, empowers auditors with accurate and consistent data, and fosters trust in the reliability of financial records. Blockchain’s decentralized architecture and consensus mechanisms optimize transaction processing. Transactions are verified and added to the blockchain in near real-time, enhancing the efficiency of processes that rely on swift transactions.

Accountants’ skills will need to expand to include an understanding of the principle features and functions of blockchain – for example, blockchain already appears on the syllabus for ICAEW’s ACA qualification. The parts of accounting concerned with transactional assurance and carrying out transfer of property rights will be transformed by blockchain and smart contract approaches. These judgemental elements often require context that is not available to the general public, but instead require knowledge of the business, and with blockchain in place, the auditor will have more time to focus on these questions. A smart contract is one of many blockchain applications that can streamline tedious tasks in today’s accounting.

  1. Tiscini et al. (2020) explore blockchain adoption as a sustainable business model innovation in the agrifood industry.
  2. In this area, researchers study how to apply blockchain to accounting and design data flows and architectural features.
  3. To truly realise the potential of blockchain, it is necessary to use a single shared blockchain with unlimited scale, or the blockchain experiment will have a much less likely chance to be viable.
  4. The following sections of this article will explore specific applications within the realm of accounting where blockchain is making its mark, reshaping the landscape of financial record-keeping and analysis.
  5. Broadly speaking, financial systems—especially accounting systems—are being pushed from the physical world to the digital world.
  6. From one viewpoint, blockchain is a top accounting trend as it makes process has become quicker, more accurate, and more reliable.

Collaboration among industry stakeholders to develop standardized practices can also streamline implementation and improve interoperability. The integration of blockchain technology into accounting and audit processes has opened up a realm of possibilities for reshaping the way financial data is managed, audited, and reported. The integration of blockchain technology into accounting practices also has a profound impact on the role of auditors. Auditing, a cornerstone of financial accountability, is poised to undergo a transformation with the advent of blockchain.

3 Opportunities and challenges of blockchain technology application

Since it is collaborative and device-oriented, only some manufacturers influence the virtual world entirely. Even better for the blockchain revolution, transactions in the Metaverse will be powered by cryptocurrencies on a blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In the history and evolution of Blockchain, Bitcoin is the earliest killer service. Satoshi Nakamoto established the network through decentralized currencies and digital assets.

The fundamental workflow structure of the blockchain accounting system is that financial transactions are first recorded in blocks sequentially and added into a chain of blocks. Blockchain accounting system entails decentralization, transparency, immutability, self-executing contracts, etc., that will greatly assist accounting professionals. Through many iterations and collaborative design thinking, we have developed a way to exchange complete invoice data in a peer-to-peer and trusted manner. We follow industry standards like the .XML data format using the Universal Business Language (UBL) to write invoice information to the public blockchain so that any traditional invoice processor can process the data.

Applications built on a layer two blockchain lose inherent properties that come with blockchain. Moreover, any data tampering gets instantly detected during the validation process. Finally, accountants can set a different set of instructions for important entries.

Why a career in chartered accountancy?

For now, the benefits are likely being oversold, while the costs and difficulty of implementation are likely being undersold. Addressing blockchain technology with respect to accountancy (accounting and auditing) will eliminate misconceptions, answer questions and, most importantly, look for the true value that blockchain technology can bring to the accounting world. To become truly an integral part of the financial system, blockchain must be developed, standardised and optimised. This process is likely to take many years – it has already been nine years since bitcoin began operating and there is much work still to be done. There are many blockchain applications and start-ups in this field, but there are very few that are beyond the proof of concept or pilot study stage.

The Blockchain Revolution: What is the Future of Blockchain Technology?

Second, other machine learning techniques could be applied while working with the corpus of literature. Although our LDA approach is much more advanced than mere word count or word cloud methods, it still models documents using a bag-of-words representation. Third, we included articles uploaded to the SSRN database as well as published articles in ranked journals. We are aware that the peer-review process is accepted as a proxy for the quality of published works, especially with respect to academic journal articles (Hart, 1999; Massaro et al., 2015). However, we believe that, given the speed of new knowledge development, especially in the areas of disruptive technologies like blockchain, papers from SSRN added an important contribution to the topics identified. Finally, the validity of the results can only be considered at the time of the analysis, as literature reviews “are not a panacea” (Massaro et al., 2015, p. 546).

Moreover, blockchain will not resolve questions over issues like reconciling accounting standards. Thus, many of the benefits and challenges of blockchain for auditing still need to be analysed. Of course, for blockchain technology to enable continuous auditing and for it to give auditors a better understanding of their clients’ businesses, companies will need to self-employment tax record all transactions on the blockchain (Schmitz and Leoni, 2019). After all, “real-time auditing” can only be delivered to the degree that transactions are recorded on the blockchain. Blockchain and other Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) are often considered major improvements in the capability of certain areas in sustainability accounting research.


Our analysis systematically identified these topics by analysing 153 relevant papers. By combining machine-learning methods with more traditional approaches, we were able to draw a holistic picture of the critical advances and trends in the corpus of literature. The results indicate that the most widely discussed topics are the changing role of accountants, new challenges for auditors, the opportunities and challenges of blockchain technology application, and the regulation of cryptoassets. Each of the papers on this topic discusses ideas about how the role of accountants and accounting treatments would change if/when blockchain becomes a mainstream technology.

Notably, although every peer maintains a copy of the chain (hence, it is decentralized), it also entails an element of centralization because of its identity provider and ordering node. The most frequently cited paper in this area is that of Dai and Vasarhelyi (2017), which entered triple-entry bookkeeping into the academic discussion on blockchain and accounting. Their idea comes from Grigg (2005), who proposed a third entry recorded by a trusted third party that stores a receipt to which both parties involved in a transaction agree and digitally sign.

Blockchain, via its nature of securing and time stamping information as it is produced and verified by a decentralized network, can help track data and goods as they move (physically or digitally) through supply chains and organizations. Establishing a stronger foundation for this non-financial information in turn allows for a more rigorous analysis, conversation, and reporting process to take shape. Blockchain technology is the underlying technology that traditional decentralized cryptocurrencies are built on, which allows for a secure and transparent form of digital currency. However, it is important to note that while cryptocurrency relies on blockchain technology, the relationship between the two is not mutually exclusive.

What Are The Challenges Of Blockchain Accounting?

Hence, given the need for auditors to detect and investigate transaction errors or fraud, the argument of auditors becoming obsolescent is not evident. ConsAccountancy practitioners routinely make adjustments to financial records. This includes integrating data from a prior period as those data become available (accounting for subsequent events or adjusting for under/over applied overhead are examples). The ability for a double-entry accounting system to make such adjustments is crucial to its utility in the modern world.

Blockchain’s potential as a comprehensive registry and inventory system is immense. It offers industries a reliable, tamper-proof platform to track various assets, from raw materials to intellectual property. This transparency minimizes disputes and discrepancies while maximizing accountability. Industries like supply chain management benefit from real-time tracking, reducing inefficiencies and enhancing overall operational transparency. Moreover, accountants’ role extends to overseeing the implementation and maintenance of blockchain systems. They play a crucial part in ensuring the accuracy of data entered into the blockchain and validating the authenticity of transactions.