Not long ago, only a handful of accountants dealt in cryptocurrency. Now, just a few years later, every major financial news outlet dedicates a portion of its coverage to crypto. Times have changed quickly, so what will the crypto accounting industry look like in five years and beyond?
Consider the following four trends in crypto accounting and how they will affect CPAs.
1. Increased automation
As cryptocurrencies further infiltrate the public consciousness, traditional accounting services will automate more of their work to keep up with the increased workload. Spreadsheets work well enough for fiat transactions, but in the volatile crypto environment, static tools can’t effectively serve anyone with a serious investment in alternative currencies.
Average consumers today can do their taxes online through services like TurboTax and H&R Block. Businesses and complex individual situations require personalized care, but standard programs can handle the load for most people. Tax programs don’t need to offer advanced functionality just yet — a few equations on the back end do a fine job.
But cryptocurrencies make things more complicated. Accountants need automated tools to track increased crypto complexity, like cost basis. Without smarter software, experts in the financial services industry won’t be able to keep up with higher sophistication at scale. Tax software providers will eventually offer new and highly automated services for crypto investors, and consumers will pay for those services using their crypto investments.
Accounting experts will use smarter tools to help their corporate clients and major investors make better decisions. But the public won’t need real accountants for their simple crypto investments; they’ll simply turn to artificial intelligence tools that minimize human interaction in most accounting scenarios.
The future will see consumers interact with intelligent AI, machine learning, and bots capable of natural language processing. Challenging concepts like crypto cost basis, which can confuse even the sharpest accountants, pose little threat to intelligent software. Accountants will still have a place in the world, but their duties will evolve drastically as crypto demands bring widespread change in the financial industry.
Not everyone will feel comfortable doing taxes through AI. Accountants will need to lean on automated tools of their own to keep pace, but enterprise clients, heavy investors, and people suspicious of advanced tech will continue to prefer the human touch. With more money going toward nicer tools and less money going toward human intermediaries, accountants must specialize and adapt to stay relevant.