News & Releases

AICPA and Wall Street Blockchain Alliance Announce Collaboration

Associations Plan Joint Effort to Advance Blockchain Technology for Accounting Profession

NEW YORK (Oct. 23, 2017) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA), a leading nonprofit trade association promoting the comprehensive adoption of blockchain technology across global markets, today announced plans to work together to define the impact of blockchain technology for the accounting profession and advance the interests of both the public and profession in this area.

As part of this collaboration, the AICPA – through its technology arm, – will administer the WSBA’s working group on tax and accounting, a focal point for advocacy and education on blockchain adoption within the profession. Other existing WSBA working groups include research and innovation, legal, and technology and product. The working group model is designed to provide a forum for experts to share information, guide advocacy and technical efforts and create broader educational opportunities—such as webcasts, roundtables and other content—to address issues arising from the adoption of blockchain, distributed ledgers and smart contract technologies.

“The accounting profession is built on confirmation and verification, and that’s what blockchain is all about,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA. “This technology can have a profound impact on accounting and finance going forward, and it’s important we make sure that its adoption proceeds in a way that’s in the best interest of the public and our financial markets. Our working relationship with the WSBA, combined with our expanded global reach through the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, will help further that goal.”

The collaboration was announced at the fall meeting of the AICPA’s governing Council in San Antonio, Tex.

“The WSBA is very pleased to be collaborating with the AICPA and to guide the evolution of the global accounting profession in a future with blockchain technology,” said Ron Quaranta, chairman of the WSBA. “We look forward to working together to advance the world of accountancy and its use of blockchain, as accountants become integral participants in the adoption of this innovative technology for global markets.”

As a first step in collaboration, the AICPA will be part of an accounting-related panel at the WSBA’s Blockchain for Wall Street education day on Nov. 14, 2017.

“Blockchain is one of several innovations that are reshaping the accounting profession,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of, one of the participants in the upcoming panel. “Our role with the WSBA working group is to guide and speed the use of blockchain technology as it applies to the core areas of an accounting practice.”

About the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance

The Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA) is an industry leading 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association created for financial market professionals, by financial market professionals. Its mission is to guide and promote comprehensive adoption of blockchain and distributed ledger technology across global financial markets.

For information about the WSBA, including membership, visit or email to

About the American Institute of CPAs

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with more than 418,000 members in 143 countries, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials, builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the profession.

The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and Ewing, NJ.

Media representatives are invited to visit the AICPA Press Center at

About the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) is the most influential body of professional accountants, combining the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to power opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide. It represents 650,000 members and students in public and management accounting and advocates for the public interest and business sustainability on current and emerging issues. With broad reach, rigor and resources, the Association advances the reputation, employability and quality of CPAs, CGMAs and accounting and finance professionals globally.

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Voices 3 key challenges that firms can solve with technology

Most accounting and business advisory professionals know that industry-leading firms rely heavily on technology to grow their businesses. But where does a firm start in evaluating technology?

Experts suggest that firms cannot select new technology effectively without first examining their clients, their services and their staff as they all relate to firm strategy. Greg LaFollette, strategic advisor to, says starting with the question “What technology should I use?” is like saying, “I want to build a house; which hammer should I buy?” Technology, like a hammer, is really a tool to help firms build a dream practice. The process of completing the detailed “blueprints” or strategy for the firm will clarify what technology tools are required. Some technology solutions address multiple challenges, but it is still important to consider how specific solutions may address other critical challenges facing the firm.

The most common challenges that can be best solved with technology fall roughly into three broad categories:

1. Providing services and products

When it comes to providing services and products, challenges center on efficiency, staff utilization and differentiation from competitors. Thus, experts recommend technology that incorporates automation, artificial intelligence and business analytics as the types of solutions that accounting and advisory professionals should explore. Automation allows more routine tasks to be handed off to administrative staff, while senior accounting staff can focus their efforts on providing additional analysis and insight. Business analytics technology, which leverages artificial intelligence, can also make it easier and faster for accountants to provide operational or strategic advice to business clients.

2. Customer relationship management

Technology can help accounting and advisory firms manage the entire life of a customer relationship — from finding the prospect (or better yet, making it easy for the prospect to find the firm), to coordinating client communications and deepening the relationship to expand revenue opportunities and ensure retention. Several experts list a customer relationship management system as the type of technology that can address many of the challenges of accounting and advisory firms, particularly when some form of CRM is implemented early on in the life of the firm.

For a startup firm, a cloud-based CRM solution should be one of the first technology solutions incorporated, according to Doug Sleeter, an Accounting Hall of Fame member and accounting software guru focused on small business solutions. “For accountants, that term might not feel as comfortable today as it will in the future for them, because it’s not your client list only, it’s your marketing list, your database of details about your clients, maybe even into the tax return records,” Sleeter says. CRMs can consolidate information about email traffic, action items for the firm, etc., all in one spot. Technology thought leader and consultant Brian Tankersley notes that firms need more activity tracking and centralized correspondence in order to provide continuity of service as the team and client base grow.

3. Performance/practice management

Another category of challenges that firms can solve with technology is practice and performance management. Examining a firm’s strategy and processes up front will be crucial to selecting the technology that is most needed. Indeed, those examinations will often highlight bottlenecks or roadblocks to customer service, growth and staff engagement. Solutions to manage the practice and workflow can be as simple as e-learning and web meeting technologies.

Other workflow-focused solutions can address challenges related to balancing staff workloads and digital document storage. Experts say it’s critical to have secure, cloud-based storage that allows clients to transfer data and push documents to the firm so that the firm can access them immediately. These solutions also allow staff in multiple locations to access what they need to in order to perform their work and move the engagement forward. Cloud-based storage also allows firms to share deliverables with clients electronically and immediately. This helps a firm focus on what’s most important (even if it’s not the same as what’s most urgent) about managing the practice.

New technology opens up opportunities for accountants and business advisors to stay on the cutting edge of client services and scale their firms efficiently. By taking a closer look at these three challenge areas and solutions, firms can gain a better understanding of what technology will best meet their needs.

Excerpted with permission from Tech Roadmap: Selecting the Ideal Solutions to Thrive in Business Advising.

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Promise and Peril in Tech

Accounting's leaders name it a top concern — along with finding more staff.

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Two Staffers Named to CPA Practice Advisor's 'Top 20 Under 40 Superstars' List

NEW YORK (Sept. 8, 2017) – Two staffers have been named to CPA Practice Advisor’s Top 20 Under 40 Superstars list, which the trade publication said is composed of “young leaders helping advance the profession through their roles in technology, education, consulting and firm development.”

Representing on the list are Samantha Mansfield, the company’s director of professional development and community, and Kalil Merhib, director of sales. Mansfield is a driving force behind the Digital CPA Conference and the curriculum and training it offers to firms, including the recently launched Client Accounting Advisory Services (CAAS) certificate and’s popular CAAS workshops. Merhib’s key responsibilities include rollout of the RIVIO Clearinghouse, a private company financial information hub jointly developed by and, and working with firms across the country in building effective strategies for outsourced accounting practices.

“This year’s 40 Under 40 and 20 Under 40 honorees are visibly and incrementally changing the accounting profession through their exemplary leadership, their innovative thinking, their collaborative efforts guaranteed to provide unity to the profession across the generations, and their community outreach which extends the visibility of the profession outside the workplace” Gail Perry, CPA Practice Advisor’s editor-in-chief, wrote in an article announcing the winners.

“It’s a great honor for to have two employees on this list,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of “We’re grateful to see validation of our staff’s hard work in helping CPA firms embrace change and thrive.”

The full list of winners can be found on CPA Practice Advisor’s website.

About offers a growing list of products and services for practice management, client advisory services and professional development. The company has established itself as a thought leader on cloud technology and has been a driving force around the reemergence of virtual CFO/controller services by firms. The RIVIO Clearinghouse, a joint venture between and, is an online financial document clearinghouse that enables private businesses to exchange key financial information with lenders and investors. is a subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, the world’s largest member body representing the CPA profession. For more information, visit

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BDO Executive is Winner of's 2017 Innovative Practitioner Award

CPAs from SC&H and Cherry Bekaert LLP Named Runners-Up

NEW YORK (Sept. 7, 2017) –  BDO executive Kelly Johnson, CPA, is the winner of’s 2017 Innovative Practitioner Award, which recognizes innovation in process, services or technology implementation in public accounting firms.

Johnson, BDO’s national leader of business services and outsourcing, led the development of BDODrive, a cloud-based, integrated solution for financial management, accounting services and business intelligence. The platform provides real-time, streamlined accounting information via dashboards for clients, operational efficiencies and access to the Top 10 accounting firm’s specialized expertise for businesses. While administers the voting process online, winners of the Innovative Practitioner Award are chosen by their peers.

“The tangible growth in client accounting services that’s been documented in research by the AICPA and is due to the kind of fully realized offerings being developed by BDO and others,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of “Kelly is a deserving standard-bearer for our Innovative Practitioner Award, and I want to thank all our finalists in the competition who are helping drive innovation in the profession. It was a strong field this year.”

Johnson will be recognized as the award winner at the 2017 Digital CPA Conference, which she will be invited to attend as a guest. The event will be held Dec. 4-6, 2017, at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco.

Among the finalist group, two other runners-up were recognized for their innovative work. They are:

First Runner Up

  • Michael Lynch, CPA, principal of SC&H Group’s CFO Advisory Services practice, developed an outsourced accounting practice focused in part on emerging life science and software-as-a-service companies. He uses technology to automate workflow and transactional processing, and acts as a trusted advisor for management on business development, financial leadership and strategy.

Second Runner-Up

  • Jonathan Kraftchick, CPA, managing director, Cherry Bekaert LLP, developed training programs to educate auditors on coming changes in artificial intelligence and machine learning and how these innovations might impact the profession. Within his firm, he is also involved with two beta projects with vendors to improve data analytics and machine learning in audit applications.

To read more about these practitioners, please visit the award page. More information about the Digital CPA Conference can be found at

About offers a growing list of products and services for practice management, client advisory services and professional development. The company has established itself as a thought leader on cloud technology and has been a driving force around the reemergence of virtual CFO/controller services by firms.

The RIVIO Clearinghouse, a joint venture between and, is an online financial document clearinghouse that enables private businesses to exchange key financial information with lenders and investors. is a majority-owned subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, the world’s largest member body representing the accounting profession. For more information, visit

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