Episode 46: How Blockchain, AI, and Cryptocurrency impacts Accountants

Artificial intelligence. Blockchain. Cryptocurrency. RPA. Chances are, you’ve heard the terms and concepts, but what does it all mean? And what does it all mean for the accounting industry? Host Hugh Duffy talks with Dr. Sean Stein Smith, assistant professor of Accounting at Lehman College, about what is happening in this area and what you need to know. Tune in for a deep dive on how the Big Four are using these applications, how the small firm practitioner can keep pace, and how the U.S. is stacking up in this area compared to other countries. Join us for this engaging and important conversation.

Guest Bio

Dr. Sean Stein Smith – DBA, CPA, CMA, CGMA, CFE
Assistant Professor, Lehman College (CUNY)

Dr. Sean Stein Smith is an assistant professor of Accounting in the Economics and Business Department at Lehman College. His research includes blockchain applications, cryptoassets – including but not limited to decentralized cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and other blockchain related applications. Additional areas of focus include robotic process automation and its impact on accounting, as well as how integrated financial reporting can change disclosure and reporting at various organizations. He has presented his work at dozens of national and international conferences, both practitioner and scholarly in nature, including the Annual Conference of the American Accounting Association on multiple occasions. Sean also serves on the Advisory Board of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, where he also leads the Accounting Working Group, focusing on the creation and dissemination of thought leadership connected to the blockchain and financial services space. He is also the chairperson on the New Jersey Society of CPAs Emerging Technology Interest Group, spearheading efforts and initiatives to more effectively integrate emerging technology tools into practice. Bringing this expertise to Lehman, and in addition to serving as a faculty liaison to the Freshman Year Initiative, Sean is in the process of developing a blockchain certificate project in conjunction with the School of Continuing Education and Professional Studies. Sean will be serving as the E.C. Harwood Visiting Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research during 2019, and has had books published, or that are in the publication process, at Taylor and Francis, Springer, and Palgrave-MacMillan.

Memorable Quotes

“Overall, there is still a gap in understanding – both from a technical point of view and also more on the head – how these tools can actually be used in a business. On the educational curve, we are moving along quite nicely but on the actual using it, the onboarding at that commercial level, we’re 2, 3, 4 years out.”

“AI comes with a whole host of flavors and options and there are firms out there that are frankly not ready for a full-blown AI program.”

“As consumers get more used to having this interactive, personalized, on-demand, customized user experience, that is putting more pressure on us in accounting and finance to try to get some of these facets and attributes into our services.”