Many accounting associations are now working with legal, financial, technical, and regulatory counterparts to work on acceptable standards for accounting through blockchain ledgers. Bitcoin’s Proof of Work scheme was the basis for modern blockchain-based digital currencies. Since then, many networks have sprung up with their own digital coins and tokens. Each debit entry can be matched with a corresponding credit entry in the ledger.

To address these research gaps, this study aims to collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data specifically focusing on China. The study seeks to identify the organizational, cultural, regulatory, and technical barriers and facilitators related to technology adoption. Additionally, the study aims to provide policy recommendations to promote the mainstream usage of technology and advance the practices of sustainability accounting through the integration of blockchain and cloud computing. By filling key knowledge gaps at the intersection of technology, context, and disclosure, this research aims to make valuable theoretical and practical contributions to the existing literature.

This is a big advantage over a centralized accounting database that requires maintenance shutdowns, occasionally causing a break in operations. Regulations serve as a motivator for compliance, either by setting minimum standards through mandatory requirements or by encouraging continuous improvement through recommended guidelines [148–150]. However, the impact of regulations varies depending on the strength of enforcement and the flexibility of guidelines versus their prescriptiveness [151, 152].

In this analysis, we will explore emerging trends, inconsistencies, and the implications of these findings. Therefore, blockchain technology possesses distinct features such as decentralization, cryptography, and transparency that can significantly enhance the trustworthiness, integrity, and accessibility of sustainability reporting practices. Its digitization direct vs indirect materials capabilities also support the emergence of new business models centered around sustainability. Although challenges persist, further research into blockchain applications holds the potential to bring about a revolutionary transformation in sustainability accounting. The broader adoption of blockchain technology faces certain barriers that need to be addressed.


This paper provides a structured literature review of blockchain in accounting. The authors identify current trends, analyse and critique the key topics of research and discuss the future of this nascent field of inquiry. Chang et al. (2019) find that a blockchain-based supply chain process could enable instant tracking, reduce costs related to updating information, improve cash liquidity, enable automatic payments and, in general, improve automation.

Researchers have worked to build a theory to explain how blockchain will change accounting. Some research products have used general frameworks such as the technology–organization–environment framework (Dai and Vasarhelyi, 2017) and the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (Ferri et al., 2020). Many others do not refer to a theoretical framework in their analysis of this phenomenon because they provide general overviews of the possible uses, benefits and limitations of blockchain in the context of accounting (Pimentel and Boulianne, 2020).

  • When conducting an SLR, it is important to assemble a proper body of literature so as not to bias the results (Massaro et al., 2016).
  • However, Alles (2018) warns that there is a danger of the “empirical takeover” effect when papers become empirically driven.
  • Future research should focus on examining the boundary conditions through multi-level analyses.
  • Even if organizations or people involved in business transactions do not trust each other, they will be able to trust the information in the blockchain.

For example, Arrowsmith says Gilded recently released an accounting and finance platform built around blockchain that handles invoicing, payments, and accounting and tax reporting for cryptocurrency. It is one of the first blockchain applications that can be used today by accountants. The implications of blockchain for the accounting profession are many, according to an article on the ICAEW website. It has the potential to reduce the costs of processing and maintaining ledgers. It could also be the tool to provide absolute certainty to the ownership of assets.

3. Contextual challenges in developing countries

If an organization modifies a transaction’s data in the blockchain, it’ll affect the hash value. Blockchain’s immutable nature comes from the fact that once a public consensus validates a transaction into the blockchain, it’s virtually impossible to alter or delete the transaction. Welcome to the Blockchain Council, a collective of forward-thinking Blockchain and Deep Tech enthusiasts dedicated to advancing research, development, and practical applications of Blockchain, AI, and Web3 technologies. To enhance our community’s learning, we conduct frequent webinars, training sessions, seminars, and events and offer certification programs. Compared to common accounting processes, Blockchain helps in reducing tiresome efforts that are involved in recording and authenticating data, and along with reduced errors, it proves to be beneficial in reducing the cost of performing the same.

How can Blockchain be used in Auditing?

Cloud computing, on the other hand, reduces entry barriers through flexible resource allocation strategies, but it also raises concerns about security vulnerabilities that need to be addressed [111, 123, 165]. Disparities in national digital infrastructure put developing economies at a disadvantage in terms of reaping the benefits of cloud computing, which depend on their level of e-readiness [166]. The relationship between profitability and disclosure practices has produced mixed evidence.

Tamper-proof ledgers and secure backups

Dyball and Seethamraju (2021) highlight that auditors consider clients that use blockchain applications as riskier because there is no accounting consensus about how to address their needs. Therefore, the essential benefits perceived by practitioners are unclear but seem to include reductions in time-consuming activities and the need for additional opinions. First, this SLR provides a clear picture of the state of the accounting research on blockchain using bibliographic and narrative analyses. Second, it investigates how accounting and auditing practices are impacted by blockchain. Third, it contributes to the accounting literature with its discussion of the potential future research trends related to blockchain for accounting.

In our opinion, it will be important for all the agents in the ecosystem to understand how blockchain provides similar benefits. For example, due to the potential risks of disclosing information, we assume that blockchain will have a more restrictive effect on business entities than non-profit organisations, because non-profits tend not to hold as many commercial secrets. Blockchain is a technology for storing and verifying transactional records that works by adding “blocks” of data to a ledger, called the blockchain, that is maintained across a network of peer-to-peer computers (Coyne and McMickle, 2017). It is a potentially disruptive technology that has begun to have dramatic impacts on the business models and market structures of many industries (Casey and Vigna, 2018), including accounting (Bonsón and Bednárová, 2019; Deloitte, 2016). However, the wealth of information produced about blockchain can make it challenging for researchers to stay up-to-date with the latest developments (Cai et al., 2019; Linnenluecke et al., 2020).

The existing literature suggests that the characteristics of different industries may have an influence on the way sustainability information is disclosed and technology is adopted. This section examines studies that investigate variations at the industry level and presents quantitative findings on the trends of technology usage in different economic sectors. The existing body of literature consistently demonstrates the significance of firm size in predicting disclosure behaviors and the comprehensiveness of reporting. Larger organizations face increased pressure for transparency and visibility from stakeholders, prompting them to proactively implement voluntary transparency measures as a means of reputation management [144, 147, 174]. However, it is essential to recognize that size alone does not guarantee consistency across different contexts due to the interdependencies of attributes [175]. Various factors play a role in predicting disclosure practices within organizations.

Essentially, it can transform the whole process involved within those areas. Essentially, it removes any intermediaries from the process when transferring money. This system allows blockchain technology to be decentralized rather than relying on those parties. Consequently, it provides better proof of the occurrence of various transactions. Therefore, it can create better supporting evidence for several transactions. Blockchain technology enables secure transactions by means of a database and ledger that involves network participants on both sides of the transaction.