Blockchain Technology in the Eyes of an Accountant and the Influence on the Audit Process

Mike Liebmann Pedersen & Kasper Kragh Søndervang

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This master thesis aims at giving educational institutions, auditors, current and future students, as well as otherstakeholdersin the accounting industry an insight into the blockchain technology, asfundamental technology is expected to change the world to the same extent as the internet has done. The main purpose of the thesis is to illustrate how this new technology will affect the future audit process, as well as what importance it will generally have on the auditor's future role. The thesis is based on a theoretical angle. This should be seen in the light of the limited professional relevant knowledge of persons with knowledge of the audit process and the general role of the auditor in relation to blockchain. Furthermore, during the draft of the thesis, it is limited what is found in academic literature. The thesis’ analysis part therefore is based on a fictitious company where the audit's process is analyzed through relevant audit procedures. Blockchain technology is still at an early stage in relation to developments in business use. It is concluded that the description of blockchain technology widely in the media is partly misunderstood. This has to be seen in the light of the fact that this technology is still linked to bitcoin. It has been found that blockchain is not a single technology, but is only one ofseveral different technologies that together form the basis of what is understood as blockchain technology. The actual blockchain parts of the overall technology are not necessary, why the proper term for use in broader perspective is Distributed Ledger Technology. It has been identified that the perspectives are highlighted as advantages of using the blockchain technology, are only partially correct,since it operates with optionsfor changing in previous data as well as optionsfor changing rules for given networks. This is among other things some of the elements that would otherwise be beneficial in the use of blockchain, as it is emphasized in most media as the technology that enables that there cannot be manipulated with data, that it is safe etc. Opinions from professionals have indicated that blockchain technology would allow real-time audits. However, the results in the thesis have identified that real-time audits are not possible as there willstill be a need for current audit procedures in order to deliver a high degree of assurance statement. The thesis has stated that there will be timesavings on the long run as more of the time-consuming audit procedures in the future will be redundant. This also means that the auditor can focus more quickly on other risk-based audit procedures. It is concluded that, as a result of the continued need for current audit procedures, the auditor's role will not immediately change significantly. However, the auditor will need to have a greater understanding of the future, as well as greater understanding and skills in computing. As a result, the auditor can increase its focus on management estimates and assessments for thereby increasing the quality of corporate annual reports. Blockchain technology will fundamentally change our world, and it is up to the outside world to seize the opportunities that arise.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2018
Number of pages126