This week’s guest is Ron Quaranta, the founder and chairman of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance. So we’re diving deep into blockchain today … and it’s about time.
On the hype meter, blockchain is burying the needle. It’s one of those weird things that surfaces from time to time, where nobody’s really quite sure what it is but everybody is talking about it.
Ron has some useful insights into the future of our profession and blockchain’s role in that, but the short version is this: You’re going to be fine … as long as you choose to learn some of the vital, future-focused skills we’ve been talking about on this podcast.
In this conversation, we cover:
- What blockchain is and why accounting and finance pros should care.
- The distinct benefits of a distributed ledger that is not overseen by any central authority.
- When using blockchain does and doesn’t make sense.
- How blockchain will affect the audit function (don’t worry – audit isn’t going away).
- The problems blockchain can help solve.
- Why blockchain is inherently secure.
- What the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance does, and who is involved.
Blockchain is already changing the profession
Many big organizations are playing around with developing blockchain solutions, but a lot of what we’re hearing is just theory or conjecture at this point. There’s a sentiment out there that blockchain is a solution that’s looking for a problem, and there’s relatively little in the way of solid case studies about the practical uses of this technology to refute that.
But that’s not stopping people from speculating how blockchain will impact our future. You will hear everything from, “It’s going to be fairly invisible – a foundation upon which a lot of what we’ll end up doing is layered,” all the way up to, “It’s going to be a completely disruptive technology which will significantly change – and possibly even transform – our profession, and the audit function in particular.”
So, I guess we don’t really know what the impact will be. But you can be sure that there is going to be an impact, and we can be fairly certain that we’re going to have to change to remain relevant.
And I guess my question is, “Is that really such a bad thing?”
Amy Vetter was a guest on our show not too long ago, and she wrote a terrific article for Accounting Today called “Blockchain is already changing accounting.” There’s one particularly insightful paragraph within it:
“Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, believes that blockchain is just the next in a long line of transformations within the accounting world. Through every phase,” he said in an article in The Journal of Accountancy, “what’s really happened is the accountant’s and auditor’s role has just evolved. As with any evolution, whether Darwinian or technological, those who aren’t willing to adapt risk being left behind. Those that do, on the other hand, will have an extremely valuable differentiating factor to offer their clients.”
That’s pretty much life in a nutshell, isn’t it? Those who survive periods of great change or transformation are those who make those changes, who embrace the skills and tools we’re going to need to evolve.
The blockchain is simply part of that.
2018 CPA Summit, Dec. 6 in Towson, Md.
Ron will also be keynoting the 2018 CPA Summit in Maryland, where he’ll have plenty more to share there about the latest developments with blockchain. The Summit is scheduled for Dec. 6 in Towson, Md.
You can find complete details and register at MACPA.org/summit.