EY Switzerland becomes first advisory firm to accept Bitcoin

25 November 2016 Consultancy.eu 2 min. read

The Swiss arm of Big Four firm EY are set to become the first professional services company to allow clients to settle invoices with cryptocurrency. The group will accept Bitcoin payment options for their consulting work from January 2017 onwards.

In a 2013 report by EY, the professional services giants said that digital currency could bring significant benefits to the financial services industry, as the potentially game-changing technology could drastically cut the costs of maintaining currency systems. For example, managing physical money across access points (ATMs), a costly exercise for banks, could be replaced by a virtual system. This would massively reduce these costs.

EY Switzerland becomes first advisory firm to accept Bitcoin

Now, the firm has opted to put theory into practice, and become what will likely be the only professional services group to accept Bitcoin via its Swiss outfit. Switzerland is becoming a hub for block chain technology applications and many Bitcoin-based start-ups are currently based in the country – meaning EY Switzerland’s decision to utilise the currency could open them up to a plethora of new clients in the region. Bitcoins can presently be bought from railway ticket machines, used to pay for government services and traded on the Swiss stock market.

The company has also installed a Bitcoin ATM in its office building in Zurich, where Swiss francs can be exchanged for Bitcoins and vice versa. The aim is to help familiarise its employees with the block chain technology and cryptocurrency. The ATM is also accessible to the public on weekdays during office hours.

The decision also compliments EY’s wider strategy to promote the developments of digital products based on smart contracts with an aim to lowering transaction costs through automatic processing. However, while the initiative is geared towards changing economic conditions, there are no plans as of yet to roll it across EY branches globally.

According to an EY spokesperson, “To our knowledge, we are the first professional services company in the world to offer this service.”