The report, Divided we fall, distributed we stand: a professional accountant’s guide to distributed ledgers and blockchain explores how such examples of networked financial and regulatory technology are already showing signs of significant potential to enhance trust and security in business and consumer transactions.
Yet the report also notes that despite much discussion, such innovations are still in the early stages of adoption and a lot will depend on their ability to provide solutions at scale.
Business processes that are characterised by inefficiencies (eg trade finance), or exist because of a lack of trust (eg Know Your Customer requirements in financial services) or poor supply chain visibility (eg for global garment supply chains) are all key areas for distributed ledger applications, according to the report.
Narayanan Vaidyanathan, head of technology insight at ACCA and lead author, says:
'For the accountancy profession, distributed ledgers might help with tasks particularly linked to recording and tracking of information. In audit, for example, this might open up the possibility of basing the opinion on the entire data-set rather than a sample. Also, rather than relying on an annual snap-shot, a more on-going view of business performance might become possible.
Like any technology, however, it is important to know where not to use them, as much as where to do so. If you want to interpret a standard taking into account a particular business context, figure out fair values of assets, or deal with an issue requiring ethical judgment – these tools seem less likely to provide the definitive answer.
Perhaps the lesson of history is that technology works best when combined with human judgement. Just as online learning co-exists with classroom teaching to create blended learning solutions these tools may be at their best when combined alongside human expertise’, he concluded.
ACCA’s report Divided we fall, distributed we stand: a professional accountant’s guide to distributed ledgers and blockchain is available to read here: http://www.accaglobal.com/uk/en/technical-activities/technical-resources-search/2017/april/divided-we-fall-distributed-we-stand.html
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