The world's four biggest auditing firms – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC – are joining a group of 20 banks in Taiwan to trial a blockchain service for auditing public companies' interim financial reports.
According to a local news report on Thursday, the blockchain trial will initially allow the auditing firms to conduct so-called external confirmation – the process of obtaining and evaluating audit evidence – for a group of selected companies that are publicly traded on the island.
Traditionally, external confirmation is conducted manually by auditing firms to verify the authenticity of public companies' financial transactions with third parties.
Developed by Taiwan's Financial Information Service Co. (FISC) together with the 20 banks, the new platform moves the public firms' transaction data onto a blockchain, where the banks participate as validators.
The goal is to allow auditing firms to view the transactions through a traceable and tamper-proof chain of data in distributed manner, streamlining and automating the confirmation process. FISC expects the new technology to reduce the confirmation time from typically "half a month" to "within a day."
Initially founded by the island's Ministry of Finance as its information technology arm, FISC was later incorporated as a company with both private and public capital.
The firm announced its move into blockchain in January 2017, together with the 20 major banks, as part of a wider effort to revamp financial technologies in Taiwan. The firm said in the report that, following the trial, it expects to roll out the auditing service to the 1,400 public companies listed on the island next year.