Some familiar names in accounting are hiring blockchain and cryptocurrency experts so they can offer auditing services to their growing numbers of clients involved with digital currencies.
The Financial Times reports Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG are among those offering services to crypto startups and others. With more companies accepting cryptocurrency payments, delving into blockchain or forming crypto companies, the accounting firms of the world want their piece of the action.
They know there are problems when it comes to digital currencies, including the lack of consensus on how these assets should be accounted for as well as the patchwork of regulations in a market where fraud and money laundering frequently takes place all over the world.
Just last week, an advisory committee told the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that the agency must provide additional guidelines for the taxation of crypto transactions. Meanwhile, in the UK, the Financial Reporting Council told the FT that auditing cryptocurrencies was not currently “a material issue for UK financial institutions and large corporates” but that it was monitoring the situation and would intervene if there were “significant divergence of practice.”
When the tax man comes calling, you’d better have an accountant advising you.
“It’s a no-brainer,” Jeanne Boillet, an official at Ernst & Young, told the FT. “We have no choice than to address this [cryptocurrency accounting] because some of our clients have invested in that space.” She said the firm has over 150 clients worldwide involved in crypto assets as of September including crypto exchanges, crypto mining firms and more traditional companies using blockchain technology.
Jatin Patel, a director in the investment management and funds audit practice at KPMG,told the FT the hardest part of blockchain accountancy is the anonymity associated with the technology, making it difficult to verify ownership of most digital currencies.