EY Switzerland has announced that its clients will be able to settle their invoices for auditing and advisory services using bitcoin, starting January 2017.
With this, EY Switzerland will become the first advisory firm to accept bitcoin for its services. According to the official announcement, the firm has put into operation a Bitcoin ATM at its publicly accessible office building next to the Hardbr?cke train station in Zurich.
People can use this ATM to exchange Swiss francs for bitcoins and vice versa. EY Employees will be provided with a secure digital wallet (EY wallet app) enabling them to pay for products and services using bitcoin. The firm said that the digital wallet will offer excellent protection against unauthorized access within the EY system environment and can be topped up by employees very easily on their company smartphone.
Part of an internal EY Switzerland digitalization program, the new ATM is intended to make employees more familiar with the concepts of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. The firm is not only digitalizing itself but also advises and supports clients across various sectors in implementing their own digitalization processes.
?We don?t only want to talk about digitalization, but also actively drive this process together with our employees and our clients. It is important to us that everybody gets on board and prepares themselves for the revolution set to take place in the business world through blockchains, smart contracts and digital currencies. Blockchains are a very quickly developing technology that can permanently change many sectors. In Switzerland?s role as an important financial and industrial center and to further its development as a digital hub, it is essential that it be a pioneer in this area,? says Marcel Stalder, CEO of EY Switzerland.
Daniel Haudenschild, EY Partner Advisory Financial Services, explained that the development of digital products based on blockchain and smart contracts is being carried out at its ?EY Garage Lab?, in cooperation with its clients.
?In combination with digital currencies, the benefits of such products, including low transaction costs and automated processing, can be fully realized,? Haudenschild added.
EY Switzerland is a founding member of digitalswitzerland, a Swiss initiative for digitalization and innovation supported by several sectors. EY is also co-sponsoring the FinTech satellite at the WorldWebForum 2017 in January in Zurich, where EY will also present its own blockchain solutions. Furthermore, EY Switzerland has set up a research partnership with the University of St. Gallen and the ETH Zurich with the title ?Redesigning Financial Services?, which aims to develop innovations with the potential to revolutionize the financial industry.