Introduction to Blockchain for Accounting Students

108 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2019 Last revised: 20 Aug 2020

See all articles by Theophanis C. Stratopoulos

Theophanis C. Stratopoulos

University of Waterloo - School of Accounting and Finance

Jesus Calderon


Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 19, 2020


Financial professionals need to understand blockchain in order to evaluate its impact on the profession (e.g., audit, tax, consulting), as well as the impact on the business of their clients (e.g., auditees, investors). Given that financial professionals do not want to become programmers, cryptographers or database experts, what is the essential blockchain foundational knowledge that they need to have in order to evaluate and prepare for the effect of blockchain on business?

Our objective with these teaching notes was to help accounting and finance students understand blockchain technology and how it works. Our attempt to develop this foundational knowledge was motivated by the potential of blockchain to disrupt several industries including financial and professional services. Leveraging this foundational knowledge the reader should be able to do the following: 1) Explain in plain English blockchain concepts. 2) Acquire the knowledge needed to form an opinion regarding the implications of blockchain for financial and professional services, and businesses in general.

We hope that the foundational knowledge provided in these teaching notes will be the stepping stone to facilitate critical thinking and help students evaluate the pros and cons of proposed blockchain initiatives. It is important for students and professionals to use their trademark skepticism because according to the executive director of Hyperledger Brian Behlendorf "... [t]here is a tendency to talk about blockchain in very singular, reverential, almost religious tones."

Keywords: blockchain, R, techology adoption, accounting

JEL Classification: M15

Suggested Citation

Stratopoulos, Theophanis C. and Calderon, Jesus, Introduction to Blockchain for Accounting Students (August 19, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Theophanis C. Stratopoulos (Contact Author)

University of Waterloo - School of Accounting and Finance ( email )

200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 N2L 3G1
519-888-4567 x35943 (Phone)

Jesus Calderon

Gravito ( email )


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