Blockchain could change the way accountants generate revenue, according to a report published yesterday by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
The group, which boasts more than 180,000 members worldwide, said in its report that the kinds of services accountants provide may evolve depending on how the technology is adopted. These changes, the report's authors note, may impact the income of accountants as well.
While the report notes that "it will take time" to see how distributed ledger adoption affects revenues for accountants, it does caution that "the most likely effects on the revenue mix may be clear sooner".
The report’s authors write:
"There may be a gradual move away from low-margin activities (for example, transaction checking) towards a greater emphasis on higher-margin work (for example, interpreting technical accounting policy to a given situation). Over time, this may affect the revenue model, with greater emphasis on paying for expertise and advice (outputs-based rate card) rather than for time (inputs-based, per hour billing)."
As mentioned above, the ACCA tempers these predictions by arguing that the full ramifications won’t be known in the absence of "large scale and mainstream adoption". The next five years, the paper’s authors argue, will provide telling evidence as to what the actual impact will be.
"If it looks likely that the revenue mix will evolve, then accountancy firms may want to evaluate their structure and organise themselves differently to prepare for the future," the authors go on to recommend.
That line of reasoning – that organization and information-seeking can help accountants prepare for the future – is reiterated, as the authors indicate that ACCA members may want to begin their education if they haven’t already.
"Blockchain presents new areas for analysis and consideration, and the sooner professional accountants increase their awareness, the better prepared they will be to engage with it," they note.
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