According to the search results on the famous online recruitment platform Indeed, one of the largest auditing firms in the world, PwC, emerged as the top recruiter for blockchain related jobs. As of now the firm is responsible for a total of 40 job offers on the platform that are all related to blockchain. History shows that people do accept change gradually and adapt. As we speak, bitcoin and its underlying technology blockchain, is going through the same process right now.
Blockchain technology, much like every new concept, faced heavy criticism and quite a lot of skepticism when it first came on to the scene. History proves that people in general aren’t welcoming when it comes to accepting change. From accepting the fact that earth is in fact spherical to dismissing the Internet as just a fad, the list goes on.
The blockchain technology has been around for some time now and despite the initial hesitation and skepticism it invoked in people, corporations and governments, it has witnessed significant growth and acceptance. So much so that some of the biggest names of the industry, in addition to steeping in the blockchain space, are recruiting individuals specifically for blockchain related jobs. And among those is the Big Four auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
PwC is among the Big Four, a term that refers to the four largest auditing firms in the world. And with $37.7 billion revenues recorded in 2017, it is the second largest auditing firm in terms of revenue. The firm was actually formed by the merger of two large accounting firms – Price Waterhouse, and Coopers & Lybrand back in 1998. The PwC now provides an extensive range of accounting and auditing services that include external audit, taxations services, management and business consultancy as well as risk assessment and control.
Blockchain and PwC Projects
The fact that PwC is offering so many blockchain-related jobs isn’t really surprising, considering the firm’s active involvement in the blockchain as well as the cryptocurrency space. It has actually been involved directly in the cryptocurrency since last year, through its investment in VeChain (VET), which is a China-based blockchain project that seeks to provide Internet of things IoT-based services. Its native crypto is the VET coin that serves multiple use-cases like assets authentication, tracking of goods and product maintenance simplification.
Last year during May, two subsidiaries of the firm, PwC Hong Kong and PwC Singapore bought an ownership interest in VeChain in order to utilize the IoT network to assist large-scale businesses. The official statement of the company read that the VEN tokens are needed to access and perform transactions on the VeChain network, thus implying that the firm has bought ownership interest in VEN to employ it in collaboration with large conglomerates and corporations.
Furthermore, only earlier this year in February, PwC started conducting trials of its new blockchain-powered platform, Smart Credentials, for the purpose of ensuring the integrity of employee credentials. Smart Credentials leverages the blockchain technology to issue, store and securely share digital certificates for employees’ professional qualifications. PwC ardently believes that blockchain’s decentralized and tamper-proof nature can be used to mitigate exposure to fraud and bolster confidence in the authenticity of employee documents.
“Blockchain was designed to allow participants to share data without needing intermediaries. No one party has central ownership, so individuals get more control over their personal data. You can also see the potential in any case where credentials are earned and continually updated, such as medical professionals, pilots or safety engineers”.
Moreover, PwC also announced its blockchain auditing service last year mainly to supporte blockchain adoption. The firm claimed that their new service would encourage people to use the still new technology. According to A Michael Smith, a partner at PwC who oversees internal audit solutions, the service provides the need for an independent validation that the technology is operating as intended.
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Additionally, PwC addressed their own client’s concerns about blockchain by engineering this very solution. The new service will enable users within the company to view, test and monitor transactions on the blockchain in near real time.
Why the Interest in Blockchain?
PwC’s involvement with blockchain isn’t very hush hush per say. But the question arises why would one of the biggest accounting firms in the world get involve with something as infant as the blockchain technology? Well for starters, so that they can remain relevant.
PwC actually surveyed 600 executives across 15 territories about the potential of blockchain technology and the results revealed that 84% of those executives were already involved with blockchain projects that were under progress. While 15% of enterprises already had live blockchain projects, the status further breaks down into: 10% pilot, 32% development, 20% research, 7% paused. Steve Davies said:
Businesses tell us that they don’t want to be left behind by blockchain, even if at this early stage of its development concerns on trust and regulation remain. Blockchain by its very definition should engender trust.
Another reason as to why PwC is playing such an active role in the blockchain space is also because of the technology’s potential and how more and more companies are jumping in on it. And being a consultancy firm, PwC needs to tailor itself accordingly.
Why Should Accounting Firms Care About Blockchain?
Because the impact of blockchain isn’t contained, it isn’t limited to only certain types of businesses. In reality the blockchain technology offers a wealth of advantages for accounting firms like:
Well-engineered blockchains tend to be faster and are powerful databases as well. The process of getting the data in and out of the system can be made more efficient courtesy blockchain.
This can be applied best in data entry. With blockchain, once the data is fed in the chain, many of the accounting functions will be done automatically via smart contracts, thus reducing the chances of human error.
Owing to its immutable nature, it is excessively difficult to perpetuate fraud. If someone does try to modify a record, the same change would have to be made on all copies of the distributed ledger at the same time which is highly impractical.
The end of a month is a nightmare for everyone working in an accountancy firm. But with the help of smart contracts accountants will have the power to automate several cumbersome tasks associated with reconciliation making the end-of-month task less of a burden.
The Rise of Blockchain- Related Jobs
PwC is not the only Big Four accounting and auditing firm that is involved with blockchain technology. In fact, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, popularly known as just “Deloitte”, which is the largest among the Big Four, is also recruiting for blockchain-related jobs. The firm posted 10 blockchain-related jobs on Indeed. Another one of the Big Four Ernst & Young is also on the blockchain track, having posted 17 such announcements.
The Big Four aren’t alone in their blockchain endeavors. Blockchain has captured public interest over past few years, and companies are hiring for roles that are related to the new technology. According to Glassdoor, another popular online platform for jobs, there were 1,775 blockchain-related job openings in the U.S. in August 2018, which a 300% increase over the same period last year.
Internationally, the picture isn’t any different. There are blockchain-related job openings in major financial and technology hubs of different countries.
The roles that are most in-demand are predominantly technical and engineering roles. In total, engineering, technology and science roles comprise a whopping 55% of job openings.
The Top Employers in the Blockchain Sphere
The types of job opportunities on offer differ from portal to portal, and so does the type of employer. If we look at the Crypto Jobs List specifically, the top three employers that emerge are,
- Interoperable smart contracts startup Wanchain
- Ethereum client software startup Parity Technologies
- Asset management startup Cindicator
Distributed ledger consortium R3 grew its staff from 30 in early 2016 to 90 at the beginning of 2017, and as high as 150 today.
The computing giant IBM, which is unable to attract much talent in the blockchain industry despite its big name, has grown the number of blockchain-focused employees it has from 400 to 1,500 since the beginning of the year.
It is evident that the blockhain job market is growing significantly, but not everyone is too hopeful about it. Only earlier this year, Digital Asset Holdings founder Blythe Masters warned that there was no guarantee blockchain would be a net win for the jobs industry.
Only time will tell how the blockchain job market pans out.