Accounting, accountability, and assurance: Blockchain and new forms of digital currency

Call for papers for: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

It is difficult to ignore the disruption caused by the digital revolution. As accounting professionals, practitioners, and academics, we are increasingly being asked to deal with issues of trust, accountability, transparency, collaboration, and knowledge sharing in a plexus of anonymity whose growth appears to have no limits or constraints (Morgan et al., 2018; Tsanos & Zografos, 2016; Wagner & Buko, 2005; Stolze et al., 2015). By nature, revolutions fundamentally challenge the status quo. Among many technological transformations, Blockchain is expected to create $3.1 trillion in business value by 2030 (Panetta, 2018). The upheaval in its wake is already transforming the accounting world (Schmitz & Leoni, 2019; Kshetri, 2018; Viryasitavat, et al., 2018; Aste et al., 2017) and giving rise to a new accounting ecosystem. In the case of the accounting, auditing, and accountability literature, this digital revolution is contesting the very definition of research quality and impact (Guthrie et al., 2019).

Many forums, conferences, special issues have already been convened that variously address the changing landscape of accounting, auditing, and accountability in the face of disruptive technologies (e.g., Troshani et al., 2019; Locke et al., 2018). The extant research offers a valuable first glance at how we are coping with the new digital era and the main challenges facing practice and the profession. But we are still in the infancy of empirically investigating all that needs to be understood. Some results are sketchy and varied, yielding an incomplete grasp of how and why the phenomena studied are likely to shape the face of the profession, and how practice can and might shape those phenomena in return. Other matters have not yet been addressed at all.

Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and ICOs will all impact society and are all forcing us to rethink and reinvent our roles and responsibilities as accounting and auditing researchers, practitioners and teachers. As tomorrow’s tools of our trade, they raise for us issues of trust vs corruption and collusion, matters of education, reflections on identity formation and identity struggle, questions of control, renewed calculative practices, and our part in ensuring that these life-changing phenomena change life for the better, not for the worse. Understanding these dynamics is extremely relevant to future scholarly enquiry, managerial practice, policy-making, and education.  Additionally, it is AAAJ’s aspiration for the loci of debate over these prescient issues to be as encompassing as possible. Therefore, we encourage submissions of empirical and conceptual papers that address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • How and under what conditions might blockchain disrupt accounting, auditing, and accountability? How and under what conditions might blockchain reshape the jurisdictions, power, and politics of these professions?
  • How and under what conditions is blockchain challenging the traditional cultural, social, and economic capitals?
  • How is blockchain re-configuring professional identity? Is or will blockchain impact the work of accountants and auditors in the near future? What risks is blockchain bringing to accounting and auditing professionals?
  • How is blockchain being perceived by accountants and auditors as it develops? Is it helping to advance new calculative and control practices and, if so, how? What challenges is blockchain bringing to accounting and auditing education? Do professionals need to acquire new knowledge or new skills?
  • How are smart contracts, cryptocurrencies, crypto-tokens, and/or ICOs shaping emerging vs traditional accounting, auditing, and accountability practices?
  • Reciprocally, how are accounting, auditing, and accountability practices re-shaping the breadth and relevance of blockchain products? What are the governance and accountability implications of blockchain?


  • The Special Issue deadline is July 31st 2020.
  • If you would like to discuss the special issue and your potential contribution, please contact the contact guest editors by email: Rosanna Spanò ([email protected]) Maurizio Massaro ([email protected])
  • All papers submitted to the special issue will be reviewed in accordance with AAAJ’s normal procedures.

Special Forum Workshops
To help authors prepare their manuscripts for submission, two special forum workshops will be held. These workshops are opportunities for authors to present and discuss their papers before final submission. Participating in a workshop is not a precondition for submitting a manuscript to the special issue. And please be aware that presenting your paper at a workshop does not guarantee its acceptance in the special issue nor any other issue of the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal.

  • The first event will be held on 16 November 2019 9.00am–13.00pm at the Management Department, Ca' Foscari University of Management, Fondamenta S. Giobbe, 873, 30121 Cannaregio, Venezia. Please contact Maurizio Massaro ([email protected]) to express interest in attending or to submit a paper for presentation and discussion.
  • The second event will take place on 15 May 2020 9.00am–12.00pm at the University of Naples Federico II. It has been timed to coincide with the IVth European Colloquium in Qualitative Research Methods in Business and Accounting to be held in Naples on 13-14 May 2020. Please contact Rosanna Spanò ([email protected]) for further details, to express your interest in attending, or to submit a paper for presentation and discussion.