Episode #212 : Interview with Erik Asgeirsson and Ron Quaranta

Ron and Ed are excited to be joined by Erik Asgeirsson and Ron Quaranta. 

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Erik is the President and Chief Executive Officer of CPA.com. He has more than 20 years of experience in leading technology organizations and driving business growth. Over the past ten years Erik has driven CPA.com's focus on cloud computing and the transforming opportunities available to accounting firms and their business clients. Erik is a frequent speaker at professional conferences and is regularly quoted in the accounting and business trade press.

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Ron Quaranta is the Founder and Chairman of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance. He is a recognized expert in the area of blockchain innovation, particularly its impact on the world of financial markets. He has over 25 years of experience in the financial services and technology sectors.

Ed’s Questions

First Segment

Erik, what does the President and CEO of CPA.com do on a daily basis?

Ron, what does the Founder and Chairman of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA) do on a daily basis?

Ron, what the spark of this relationship between WSBA and CPA.com?

Erik, what’s the genesis of this relationship and how has it evolved?

Erik, let’s chat a little about the Blockchain Symposium, which I attended. You mentioned why you’re doing it, but talk about the process and tangible items that resulted?

Ron, how does this interaction with the CPA profession help the WSBA and where you are going?

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Third Segment

We haven’t even discussed the basics of blockchain, so if you’re not familiar with this technology, see our Additional Information below for prior episodes that explain the technology and its implications.

Erik, we were talking about the implications on audit, but let’s talk about the impact on accounting. Aaron Harris of Sage Intacct, believes that subledgers will exist on private blockchains, or semiprivate blockchains, as opposed to a full-on public blockchain. Ron, you answer first, then we’ll go to Erik.

Let’s move over to the tax side of things. Government sponsored blockchains that houses all recordable tax transactions, and we go in and simply verify the information. Talk about that, Ron?

About a month we had George Gilder on the show, on his book Life After Google [see below for links] and his position on what blockchain is going to do—build security into the layer of the network. We’ve experimented with the Brave browser, and our two properties—TSOE and VeraSage—our on this browser and we receive micropayments [full disclosure: so far totaling .42¢].

Ron’s Questions

Second Segment

Erik and Ron, How will blockchain specifically impact assurance service and its impact on the audit profession.

Erik, on assurance services on smart contracts, I read about a Japanese company, the Hosho Group, that provides attest services on smart contracts. I’m assuming that some of this assurance work is not just going to be done by CPAs with their traditional audit monopoly on the financial statements, but that this could be opened up to other competitors. What do you say to that?

Ron, would love to hear your views on this. 

Fourth Segment

Erik, when you see radical technology like this [blockchain], and even the government is struggling how and from which agency to regulate it, those types of technologies manifest themselves in business model changes. I’m curious how you both see what has to happen to the traditional CPA firm business model to incorporate this technology—how we price, what we measure, how we hire, educate, etc.

Ron, how do you see this technology impacting business model changes in the professions?

On centralized autonomous organizations, if I own a car that sits idle 90% of the time, this technology allows me to rent it out without the involvement of Uber or becoming an Uber driver—it disintermediates Uber potentially, doesn’t it?

Where should the regulation sit on this. With ICOs it’s not clear if they are a security, or goods and services, etc.?

Additional Information on Blockchain

Our two-part Interview with Doug Sleeter, Episode #96 and Episode #99.

Our interview with George Gilder on his book, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy, Episode #207.

Comment

Ed Kless

Ed Kless joined Sage in July of 2003 and is currently the senior director of partner development and strategy. He develops and delivers curriculum for Sage business partners on the art and practice of small business consulting. Courses include: Sage Consulting Academy, Business Strategy and Customer Experience Workshops. Ed is the author of The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on Business in the Knowledge Economy, a compendium of a few of the episodes of his VoiceAmerica talk-show The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the Knowledge Economy with Ron Baker, founder of the VeraSage Institute where Ed is also a senior fellow.