Big Four accounting powerhouse EY has formed a team to prepare for the onslaught of demand from businesses for the professional service firm’s blockchain technologies. The technology and applications are being developed in-house and with industry partners.
EY, also known as Ernst & Young, has formed the Ops Chain to integrate blockchain technology across its practices, from financial services and logistics to other industries such as automotive, media, and oil and gas.
In selling its services and technology to clients, the consulting giant will help companies manage inventories, payment, and pricing, to the point where businesses could reduce working capital requirements.
“It’s time for blockchain to go beyond finance applications alone and deep into industry,” Paul Brody, EY global innovation leader, said when he announced the team last week. “Our EY Ops Chain vision is to drive the blockchain revolution by integrating finance with operations to industrialize blockchain for businesses.”
EY also unveiled a Blockchain Lab in New York’s Union Square, where the company will merge its expertise in financial services with technical innovations in blockchain tech.
Roger Park, EY Americas innovation and strategy leader, said:
“Bringing together our blockchain teams, deep business domain knowledge and industrialized innovation capabilities enhances our ability to provide business services that help our clients accelerate their journeys toward becoming digital enterprises.”
The firm is hiring cryptographers, mathematicians, physicists, and software developers for Ops Chain and the Blockchain Lab, which joins EY blockchain locations in London and Trivandrum, India, as part of the EY global research network.
ETHNews recently reported that EY Italy had unveiled a commercial application of blockchain tech when it launched an initiative to track production, bottling, and sales of wine. This information is included, along with a rating, on QR code bottle labels that consumers can scan with their phones.
EY isn’t alone among accounting and professional services firms in adopting blockchain technology. Deloitte, another Big Four firm, launched its own development lab in Dublin’s Silicon Docks area earlier this year. The lab serves the company’s European, Middle East, and African (EMEA) clients and was scheduled to grow from a staff of 25 to 50.
“Our team here work alongside specialist teams from other countries and also with Deloitte’s network of more than a dozen preferred technology companies,” Lory Kehoe, EMEA blockchain lab lead said when the venture was announced.
The other two of the Big Four, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, also have blockchain initiatives. KPMG is working with Microsoft on cloud services and PwC is using blockchain for fintech.
As such, EY’s recent announcement is further evidence that the financial and consulting services industry sees a significant future in blockchain implementation and that the firms are preparing to offer their clients customizable services and applications adapted to their specific needs.
Steve Silkin is a journalist who has covered business and technology in Europe and the United States since the 1980s. Steve is a full time staff writer for ETHNews.