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The effects of blockchain technology on the accounting and assurance profession in the UAE: an exploratory study

Sonia Abdennadher (Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Rihab Grassa (Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Hareb Abdulla (Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Abdulla Alfalasi (Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)

Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting

ISSN: 1985-2517

Article publication date: 5 May 2021

Issue publication date: 28 February 2022

2923

Abstract

Purpose

Blockchain looks to be the next step of technology transformation and would redesign the business landscape. It is expected to have an impact on business methods in the next few years; which add new challenges and complexity to the accounting and assurance profession. This paper aims to analyze the perceptions of accountants and auditors toward the implementation of blockchain technology in the UAE after the government decided to transform 50% of government transactions into the blockchain platform by 2021.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach has been used in this study. A semi-structural interview has been conducted with 19 accountants, internal auditors, auditors and risk managers on the potential opportunities and challenges of blockchain technology on accounting and auditing practices in the UAE.

Findings

The findings show that the blockchain impacts on the accounting profession in terms of recording of transactions, storing evidence and providing a secured environment for conducting business transactions. For the auditors, the results indicate that the blockchain changes their audit process and strategy. The blockchain has great potential to supplement traditional auditing by providing a low-cost and decentralized audit process and automated audit evidence. The accounting of the companies will not be changed but it will be automated with the development of cryptocurrencies and blockchain activities. The blockchain will be developed in assurance services through the awareness and involvement of accounts and auditors.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the existing literature as follows. First, the research is one of the very few studies that discussed empirically the effect of blockchain on the accounting and assurance profession, which contributes to improved knowledge about the potential of blockchain technology to accounting and assurance services. Second, our research is the first to explore the accountants and financial auditors’ perceptions regarding the potential effect of blockchain technology on their profession in the UAE context after the government decided to transform 50% of government transactions into the blockchain platform by 2021. Third, the research identifies the pending challenges for blockchain and possible factors for its effectiveness.

Keywords

Citation

Abdennadher, S., Grassa, R., Abdulla, H. and Alfalasi, A. (2022), "The effects of blockchain technology on the accounting and assurance profession in the UAE: an exploratory study", Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 53-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFRA-05-2020-0151

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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