Blockchain-technology: -Termination of the Auditor or an Opportunity?

Kenneth Okholm & Alexander Gail

Student thesis: Master thesis


Audit and other professions within the field of accounting are often mentioned when predictions are made on professions being replaced by robotics and other digital solutions. One of such digital solutions predicted to turn the business world upside down is blockchain technology. But what is blockchain actually and will this technology make the accountant redundant? These are some of the questions this thesis addresses.
In this thesis, the authors will examine the depths of blockchain technology – how it is constructed and what is new compared to traditional solutions and platforms. It will be analysed in what ways the audit process may potentially change should blockchain be widely implemented and if some conditions remain unchanged. The outlook of such wide implementation will be assessed and at what pace and scale it is expected to launch. Finally, it will be analysed in a wider perspective the consequences of such implementation in the business world for the auditor of the future and it will be examined whether the function will be unnecessary.
The analysis is based on four interviews with experts chosen for their knowledge on blockchain and their approach to how audit may develop in the future. All four is assessed to possess the relevant knowledge on the subject and they are expected to contribute with different views on the subject due to their different employments and positions. In addition to the interviews, the analysis is based on literature, research, articles, surveys and actual cases.
The analysis indicates that a wide implementation of blockchain technology may potentially alter the audit process significantly. Audit procedures and other audit work performed, which is time consuming today, may completely disappear. The analysis also suggests that it is likely that blockchain technology will gain ground and potentially be widely implemented in the business world due to the advantages of the technology. To sum up, auditors need to respond to blockchain and the industry as a whole needs to comprehend and handle blockchain. This requires new qualifications that require adjusted training, acquisitions and collaboration. This development is driven by digitisation in general of which blockchain is one of the elements.
The thesis concludes that the auditor does not become redundant due to blockchain technology but the technology may potentially alter the work of the future auditor to an extent which causes the auditor to address the technology and to pick up knowledge and qualifications. If the auditor does not respond to this digital development, he may risk being outmatched.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages138