The chief accountant for the Securities and Exchange Commission has said that companies have a responsibility to follow accounting standards when working with blockchain and digital assets.
Wesley Bricker spoke before the AICPA National Conference on Banks & Saving Institutions in Washington, D.C., on Monday, remarking that "it is essential to keep in mind that innovations in technology can be the ally of a company's business and financial reporting activities, not their opponent."
Blockchain applications were one of the major focuses in Bricker's speech, coming less than a year after he advocated that accountants in the U.S. get up to speed on information about cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. At the time, he spoke directly about companies or people that conduct initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Bricker's focus on Monday was, once again, directed at American companies and the accountants responsible for keeping their books. He told event attendees that it is "critical that we keep ourselves informed about emerging technologies so that the accounting profession can continue to perform the essential gatekeeper function for issuer compliance related to financial reporting."
"It follows that changes in technology need not work against investors and the public capital markets," Bricker went on to say, explaining:
"Moreover, companies must continue to maintain appropriate books and records – regardless of whether distributed ledger technology (such as blockchain) smart contracts, and other technology-driven applications are (or are not) used."
The SEC official exhorted corporate accountants to "take what is learned and then act appropriately" within U.S. securities statutes, whether or not their work involves keeping records related to digital assets.
"Distributed ledger technology and digital assets, despite their exciting possibilities, do not alter this fundamental responsibility," he remarked.
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Wesley Bricker spoke […]
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