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November 22, 2022

Accounting News Roundup: Blockchain and An 8-Year-Old Tax Expert | 03.04.16

The unsexy future of blockchain is accounting [Quartz]
If you're a Bitcoin enthusiast, it's likely because you are one of those libertarians who wants something — ANYTHING — to replace currency as we know it or you just want to purchase illegal stuff on the internet. Unfortunately, Bitcoin isn't quite taking hold like some thought, but blockchain, the underlying technology for Bitcoin, seems to have a bright future, although it's far more boring than some would hope:

Accounting, auditing and compliance are a massive cost for business globally. (Fines alone have cost banking $200 billion since 2009.) Blockchain accounting could help cut those costs. For example, instead of a company employing its own auditors to examine the books of its various units, all transactions could be logged on an internal blockchain, and recorded centrally.

“This solution could significantly reduce the reliance on auditors for testing financial transactions,” says a Deloitte guy. That's exciting for companies and less so for auditors who know little about databases and whatnot. But never fear, people-who-got-into-accounting-to-avoid-really-hard-math-and-computer-science; I'm still skeptical that large firms will jump right into this. What could speed it along, however, is if blockchain allows firms to provide some greater level of assurance and that becomes a new standard for auditing financial statements. Now that would be something, even if it was a ways off. I'm sure the risk management people are already losing sleep over it.

Don't know how to do your taxes? Ask this 8-year-old [TS]
This is adorable:

Carlie Weinreb has no income other than a $5 weekly allowance, but she already knows all about taxes.

The precocious eight-year-old is giving university students crash courses on how to fill out their tax returns without a calculator or do-it-yourself software.

In a presentation at the University of Toronto Scarborough, which was uploaded to YouTube by her father, she uses a white board and marker to explain to a class of more than a dozen students how much people are taxed in different income brackets.

Her dad is an accountant, of course, and "he asks her to calculate the tax on any toys she wants," which is the best way to motivate an 8-year-old I've ever heard. Her sister is 6 and can already "fill out three-quarters of a tax return," which is NBD, because Carlie has been lecturing for at least that long. "I’m so jealous that her knowledge of tax policy exceeds mine," says one student and what all the others are thinking. At this rate, she's going to know more than all of us by the time she graduates high school. I can only assume KPMG will hire her before too long only to have her poached away by PwC six months later.

CFTC, SEC Inch Closer to Full Strength With Nominations Moves [WSJ]
Last month we discussed how the SEC wouldn't decide on the PCAOB chairmanship until its two empty commissioner seats were filled. Although those nominations were announced months ago, Republican Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Banking Committee wanted to win his primary first. Now that Shelby has won, you might think that they'd get on with things. WELL, you would be wrong:

The Journal reported earlier Thursday the banking panel may take up the SEC nominees this month, according to people familiar with the matter. A nominations hearing would mark the first big development on the nominations since Mr. Obama tapped the pair in the fall.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Shelby said the Senate Banking Committee is considering holding “a number of nominee hearings,” but has yet to schedule any.

Previously, on Going Concern…
Megan Lewczyk wrote about productivity. And I noticed that EY has some job openings

In other news:

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