SEC’s Chief Accountant Says That Even Digital Assets Need To Maintain Their Books


Wesley Bricker, the chief accountant for the US Securities and Exchange Commission has said that companies have a responsibility to follow accounting standards when working with blockchain and digital assets.

He spoke before the AICPA National Conference on Banks & Saving Institutions in Washington, D.C., on 17th September, commenting 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.”

Bricker accentuated that it was imperative for the accounting profession to keep abreast of emerging technologies to ensure it can adequately fulfill its role as gatekeeper for “issuer compliance related to financial reporting.”

He continued: “It follows that changes in technology need not work against investors and the public capital markets. 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.”

Bricker emphasized that for both firms and auditors, the existing parameters of auditing standards and federal securities laws, with their attendant reporting obligations – where they apply – should continue to be closely adhered to. “Distributed ledger technology and digital assets, despite their exciting possibilities, do not alter this fundamental responsibility,” he emphasized.

Other major announcements were made on the event, notably, the biggest one being that Financial Executives International (FEI), the association of choice for CFOs, Controllers, and other senior-level finance executives, will host the 37th Annual Current Financial Reporting Issues (CFRI) Conference on November 12-13, 2018, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Sessions will be conducted by financial executives from major organizations such as Aetna, BBC Worldwide, Cigna, EY, Google, Pfizer, Walt Disney Company, and Wells Fargo. Wesley Bricker, U.S. SEC Chief Accountant; Jay Clayton, U.S. SEC Chairman; and Jack Uldrich, Global Futurist, Speaker, and Author will deliver keynotes on Monday, November 12.

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