The Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) has released a report prepared in partnership with one of the 'Big Four' accounting and consulting firms Deloitte, on how blockchain technology is being employed in financial applications, Accounting Today reported May 9.

The report entitled “Blockchain for Financial Leaders: Opportunity vs. Reality” analyzes how blockchain could affect financial reporting, staffing, and other areas essential to executives. Researchers surveyed a group of financial executives, 30 percent of whom said they “plan to commit resources to blockchain within the next year and a half, though they don’t know yet what potential the technology holds.”

The survey also asked whether a significant change in the Bitcoin price or any negative news associated with the leading cryptocurrency would discourage them from exploring blockchain in the finance field. 64 percent of the respondents said they would not be deterred.

The report predicts that fundamental principles of accounting and auditing, such as staffing and training strategies, will need to be adapted or completely changed in order to integrate blockchain technology. According to the report, only a third of the participants in the survey expressed readiness to address those changes.

67 percent of respondents said their organizations don’t have the ability to train or hire specialists with the necessary skills for implementing distributed ledger technology, while 33 percent said they are ready.

Andrej Suskavcevic, president and CEO at Financial Executives International and Financial Executives Research Foundation said:

“Blockchain is a powerful technology that presents numerous areas of opportunity in the financial sector. This report provides a baseline to help financial professionals understand where we are in terms of vetting, adapting and adopting blockchain. It also encourages them to begin thinking about how open ledger technology and its real-time verification and transactional capabilities can help them excel in their roles.”

According to the report, survey participants anticipate utilizing blockchain in order to expand analytic capabilities and advance financial reporting. Jon Raphael, national managing partner of audit innovation and client service delivery at Deloitte & Touche LLP said:

“Blockchain may one day be seen as an inflection point in accounting and reporting processes. The potential of the technology is broad. However, what the research indicates is that financial executives are approaching this opportunity in an appropriately paced manner. There are still some gaps in connecting traditional systems with newer systems leveraging blockchain… there is the matter of staffing up with the appropriate talent...”

Recently, another ‘Big Four’ firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, acquired a minority stake ‎in Chinese blockchain service provider VeChain. With this move, PwC reportedly intends to integrate VeChain’s service platform into its infrastructure, which will require the use of VeChain Tokens in order to access and perform transactions.

Conversely, according to a recent Gartner survey, 77 percent of polled chief information officers (CIOs) have “no interest in the technology and/or action planned to to investigate or develop it.”