Episode 52

Umar on Launching the Crypto Accounting Academy

Umar on Launching the Crypto Accounting Academy

What You Can Learn in This Episode

The Crypto Accounting Academy is a 6-week course, ​​brought to you by experts in the web3 industry, to give you the practical knowledge of running a business on crypto. 

After the course, you will be equipped with the knowledge to be hired at a web3 company as an Accountant, Financial Controller and/or CFO.

Learning crypto accounting by yourself involves months of frustration, as having an understanding of how to import 100% of transactions from block explorers is not straightforward. 

Through a 6-week cohort, we’re bringing the following instructors to get you crypto-ready; 

  1. Christophe Lassuyt - CEO & Co-Founder of Request Finance
  2. Tarun Gupta - CEO & Founder of Coinshift 
  3. Mackenzie Patel - CEO & Co-Founder of Hashbasis
  4. Mo Yang - CEO of Convoy Finance & CFO at Fuel Labs 
  5. Richard Pasquin - COO & Co-Founder at Cryptoworth
  6. Nik Pletikos - Head of Treasury at Sweat Economy 
  7. Michael Cieri - Accounting Manager at Polygon Labs 
  8. Umar Mallam Hassam - Creator of The Accountant Quits
Connect with
Umar Mallam Hassam
CEO & Founder @ The Accountant Quits

[00:00:00] Umar: Welcome to a very special episode today. A rare solo episode that I've done. Because today I've got some special announcements for you guys. There's not even an episode intro today. I just have some notes here, lying in front of me. 

[00:00:15] Umar: Are you ready for it? Well, it's already in the title of the episode. So I'll cut to the chase. 

[00:00:21] Umar: Today, The Accountant Quits, a project I started more than two years ago to help accountants understand the impact of blockchain in accounting is launching its Crypto Accounting Academy . 

[00:00:33] Umar: Which I believe will be a game changer for accountants looking to learn Crypto Accounting. This project has long been coming. I've been pondering about it, to be honest, ever since I launched the podcast. But due to life circumstances, I felt I was not in a place to fully focus on materializing it, until now. 

[00:00:55] Umar: Because after recording more than 50 episodes with Founders of crypto accounting tools, thought leaders and CFOs, who've been trailblazing, a new way on how to set up the finance function of companies is in crypto. I've been able to dissect the elements and accountant needs in order to learn crypto accounting. This will be the first course, which will give you the practical knowledge of running a business using crypto. 

[00:01:24] Umar: After this course, I guarantee that as an accountant, you will be equipped with the knowledge to be hired at a web3 company or perhaps, or web2 company who has to service crypto clients. 

[00:01:39] Umar: So over the next 10, 15 minutes, I want to take some time to go through what is this course about? Who is it for? What are we going to teach in this course? And something I'm so excited to share is the instructors we have who have actually answered the call to come and help you guys. I'm going to tell you a little bit more about these instructors. A lot of them you're already familiar with. 

[00:02:05] Umar: Now for those of you who are listening and you've self-taught yourselves, crypto accounting, first, I'm going to say I've got a lot of respect for you guys. I've spoken to a lot of CFOs, Financial Controllers and Accountants who have transitioned from web2 accounting firms and TradFi into web3. And there's something that is unanimous among everyone I speak to, which is learning crypto accounting is complex. 

[00:02:33] Umar: Of course it does involve some months of frustration because there's not a place where you can go to learn about it. So for someone who perhaps has never worked in crypto accounting, let us try and understand how bookkeeping usually works. Under accrual accounting, you'd be booking your movements into your general ledger, be it your revenue, expenses and what not, and then reconciling it to your bank statements, right. Or let's say you have investments in your balance sheet, you'd be taking a custodian statement to report the movement in positions, the dividend and interest income, right. 

[00:03:15] Umar: But right now, given there's no intermediary like a bank or custodian. That means you have to import transactions into your financials directly from the blockchain, right. Also called block explorers. So one of the big challenges with being a crypto accountant is knowing how to aggregate data from these block explorers and ensuring that they are complete and accurate. Also like each blockchain will have its own nuances around its block explorer, right. 

[00:03:48] Umar: Some of these explorers cannot even explore large numbers of transactions. So that is quite problematic. Some of them, they don't even have good pagination techniques. So, if you have to retrieve a transaction, let's say from 4 or 5 years ago, it's like an infinite scroll going down that rabbit hole. So we cannot assume that all accountants will have the nerves to go through this laborious process. Until now being a crypto accountant, meant having an insatiable level of curiosity and spending hours figuring everything out by yourself. 

[00:04:27] Umar: So, this is the reason why I wanted to launch this Crypto Accounting academy. So, what is it going to be about? It's going to be a cohort course over 6 weeks where each week we'll have live classes, focused on a different module. 

[00:04:44] Umar: So there will be 6 modules and I will list them in their respective order. The first module would be on wallets and custody. I think for anyone who wants to have full ownership of their crypto assets, there's a paradigm shift that needs to happen between,  what you’re currently used to in Web2 and Web3? So that's why I wanted to start with wallets and custody. We'll go through the difference between custodial and non-custodial wallets. We'll go through how to use wallets in a business setting, choosing between a multisig wallet, and an MPC wallet. 

[00:05:24] Umar: The second module will be on block explorers, which for me is the foundation of being a crypto accountant. 

[00:05:31] Umar: Because even if you using a crypto accounting tool to retrieve transactions, you still have to start by learning how to get to the source of truth. If let's say there's an issue with a tool, right. 

[00:05:45] Umar: So here, will give you an overview of different block explorers. We'll start with Etherscan for Ethereum. And once you understand Ethereum, that means you understand all the other EVM compatible chains, all the other Layer-2s block explorers. Then we'll show you also how to retrieve transactions on Solana and Cosmos. We'll go through the different reconciliation exercises with block explorers to ensure that those transactions that you're retrieving are complete and accurate. And we'll also show you different ways to retrieve data other than block explorers, like for example, indexes. 

[00:06:25] Umar: The third module that we'll have will be on accounting for on-chain transactions, where once you have transactions across different data sources like exchanges, wallets, custodians, we'll show you how to document and have a walkthrough for all of these token flows. We'll show you how to configure your main chart of accounts and import those transactions into the accounting software. Also in this module, I want to show you how a crypto sub-ledger can automate all your crypto accounting flows. Which today I think is one of the most indispensable tool for a crypto accountant. 

[00:07:06] Umar: The fourth module that we have in Week 4 is called Cryptocurrency in Business. And here we are focusing on a few different topics. We'll actually have 2 instructors in this week. 

[00:07:18] Umar: So I want to start with Tokenomics. For example, how do you define token allocations for all stakeholders? We'll go through the key principles of treasury management and why it's very important for every crypto project. The other instructor joining here will speak about using cryptocurrencies for payments. He’ll tell us how businesses are doing it today and the different internal controls to have in place when using crypto. 

[00:07:44] Umar: The fifth module will have, will be on tax treatments. Now as an accountant myself, tax is not really my cup of tea. And I know that as a CFO, it's not something every CFO works on. They might be outsourcing this to a tax specialist.

[00:08:00] Umar: But an accountant still needs to understand the tax implications of crypto on his or her financials, right? Like the difference between capital gains tax, income tax, how to track the different cost basis, hot to calculate the realized and unrealized gains and losses. So that's why I've included a module on tax. 

[00:08:22] Umar: The sixth and final module will be on accounting standards and audit. So here we'll go through the difference between IFRS and US GAAP. And I'm sure if you're an accountant, this is like the module that you're most familiar with and that you probably love. 

[00:08:38] Umar: We'll go through also the auditing considerations that you need to know around completeness, accuracy and valuation. I think if you're an accountant and not an auditor, it's always interesting to know what is the auditor actually looking for when they come to audit your financial statements? 

[00:08:58] Umar: Because I've been both an accountant and auditor. And I was an accountant before and after being an auditor and when I was an accountant after, I can tell you like everything I was doing when I was doing my bookkeeping, preparing my financial statements. I was doing it with the with the idea that there will be an audit coming. And I knew exactly what to provide the auditor. 

[00:09:24] Umar: We'll also go through some financial statement disclosures that you need to have when you have crypto on your balance sheet. And also, so we'll have a bonus session. I can already share what it's going to be. I didn't include in the website yet, but we'll have different guest speakers joining, who are currently CFOs at web3 companies. These are people who have already worked at previous accounting, audit firms in traditional finance and they've successfully transitioned. So they will be sharing their experience on how they did it. And I think this is super valuable for you guys to be able to relate to these persons, right. I think if they've done it, why can't you do it? 

[00:10:10] Umar: Now the best part guys, are the instructors who have answered the call to help you. So I've hand picked for you the best instructors in their respective fields. You will be familiar with many of these instructors. Some of them have been previous guests of the show. 

[00:10:28] Umar: So I'm going to start by sharing the instructors who are joining us. I'm super excited about this. 

[00:10:34] Umar: We have Christophe Lassuyt, the CEO and Co-Founder of Request Finance, one of the most widely used crypto invoicing, payroll, and expenses tool, who has processed to this day at the time of recording more than $400million worth of payments. So he'll be joining us for the module on payments and internal controls. 

[00:10:55] Umar: We’ll have Tarun Gupta, the CEO and Co-Founder of Coinshift, a treasury management solution built on top of Safe, who we recently had on this show. Again, they’ve processed more than $250million worth of payments. And he'll be joining us for the first module on wallets and custody. 

[00:11:14] Umar: We'll be having Mackenzie Patel, the CEO and Co-Founder of Hashbasis, a crypto native accounting firm. And you will remember Mackenzie from episode 34. She used to be an accountant at Figment. Figment is one of the largest institutional staking providers. So Mackenzie, what I found very interesting with her is being an accountant at Figment meant she worked on over 50 different blockchains. Today, she's helping companies, irrespective of what blockchain they're on to retrieve all their transactions. So Mackenzie will be joining us on week 2 for the module on block explorers.

[00:11:58] Umar: We'll have Mo Yang, the CEO and Co-Founder of Convoy Finance, another Web3 native accounting firm, and a Fractional CFO at Fuel Labs, who’ll come to teach you guys on accounting for on-chain transactions. We had Mo on Episode 48. Mo started his career at traditional accounting firms like Grant Thornton, BDO. He worked as a capital markets trader. He undertook several CFO roles at Web2 and Web3 startups. 

[00:12:30] Umar: So if you've listened to episode 48, Mo is very knowledgeable about the bookkeeping crypto transactions, and I'm super excited to have him join. 

[00:12:42] Umar: We'll have Richard, the CEO and Co-Founder of Cryptoworth, who will be intervening to show you how to use a crypto sub-ledger and how you can automate all your crypto flows into your financials. 

[00:12:56] Umar: Now Cryptoworth has been very supportive of The Accountant Quits. I have a very good relationship with both of the co-founders, Geeth Jay and Richard. Geeth was a previous guest on the show. Cryptoworth agreed to sponsor the podcast earlier this year. And what I want to mention is this course is not about favoring any of the crypto accounting tools out there. I've spoken with a lot of crypto subledgers, but I thought it was very important to show you in this course being like an indispensable tool for a crypto accountant, how a crypto subledger works. 

[00:13:38] Umar: Next we'll have Nik Pletikos, the Head of Treasury at Sweat Economy. He was previously at Bitstamp, one of the oldest running crypto exchanges in their treasury department. And I will say Nik is today, one of the most sought after Tokenomics Specialists on the market today. He'll be joining us for the module on Tokenomics and Treasury Management. 

[00:14:03] Umar: We'll have Michael Cieri, the Accounting Manager at Polygon Labs and previous Accounting Manager at Kraken, the crypto exchange, joining for the module on tax treatments. 

[00:14:14] Umar: And finally me, the last instructor. So as some of you know, I'm a Chartered Accountant, I've been previously an auditor at Deloitte and BDO, and I'll be taking the module on accounting standards and audit, the topic that I enjoyed the most actually. 

[00:14:33] Umar: Next, I want to tell you a little bit about what is this course not about. It's not about teaching you the basics of Blockchain, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Smart Contract, NFTs. I think there's a lot of courses already available out there on YouTube and other platforms. Like you Udemy, Coursera and what not. 

[00:14:54] Umar: Actually more than 2 years ago, that's how I learnt about blockchain through a course on Coursera. But those courses are not very relevant to give you the practical knowledge on working as a crypto accountant. Like I would not have been able to apply for a crypto accountant or CFO role after finishing that course on Coursera. 

[00:15:13] Umar: So I still expect you to know a little bit about crypto. Like, I mean, you've sent a transaction on Metamask, you know how to set up your Metamask. You've maybe interacted with all the different blockchains. Like just Layer-2s for example. you don't need to know much, but just having this prerequisite knowledge, I think will make your life easier. 

[00:15:41] Umar: Otherwise, if you've never set up like a Metamask account, the learning curve will be a bit steeper. Not because you've never set up a Metamask account, because everything will be so new, right? Like the jargon will be so new to you. I mean, even for someone who has some experience like trading crypto, send a few transactions, obviously a lot of the content here will be very new to you. A lot of the jargon will be very new and you'll have to memorize a lot of things. 

[00:16:15] Umar: Now, who should be joining this course? I have two different categories of people I see enrolling for this course. The first one I have in mind is the accountant working at a Web2 company. Let's say an accounting firm, audit firm like KPMG, Deloitte, BDO, EY, Pricewaterhouse, like any of the accounting firms, who is curious to learn about crypto accounting. Maybe at their company right now, there are opportunities to onboard crypto clients. Or perhaps they want to upskill themselves and have specialist accounting knowledge and basically open up new career opportunities. 

[00:17:00] Umar: The second one I have in mind is the newly hired crypto accountant or CFO, working at a web3 company, but they're looking to fill the gap in their knowledge. Like they don't know everything yet because it takes a lot of time to figure everything out. And why not learn in a cohort with instructors who've been in this field for many more years than them. 

[00:17:24] Umar: Now someone asked me whether they have to be an accountant to do this course, I would say not at all. Like the only module that goes through accounting is, and which accountants are comfortable with, is accounting standards and audit. Everything else would be very new to you. So even if you've never worked in crypto operations, finance and in the accounting department of your company, I don't see how it's going to be a problem and a barrier. 

[00:17:53] Umar: Now of course, depending on your prior knowledge of crypto, the learning curve will be different for everyone. But essentially what I want with this course is I want someone who never worked in crypto before to gain the knowledge they need to be hired and get confident over these upcoming 6 weeks. 

[00:18:12] Umar: What are you going to have access to during this course? So, first of all, you’ll have lifetime access to the videos of the instructors, to the resources that we share, these will be at your fingertips. You can log in onto the platform at any time that you want.

[00:18:30] Umar: We'll be providing you with downloadable templates. So you may have, a competitive edge at work. You'll be having a hands-on experience of using some of the most widely used crypto accounting tools. 

[00:18:43] Umar: We'll be providing you the tutorials and you can do these by yourselves as additional exercises. You'll be joining a Telegram group where you can chat and interact with the other cohort students. Of course, at the end of every module, we'll have quizzes to test your knowledge and you'll obtain a certificate of completion, which she can then proudly share to the world.

[00:19:07] Umar: The classes in themselves will last two hours, but I mean, we require a greater time investment if you want to fully reap the maximum benefit of this course. So I'm expecting between 3 to 6 hours of commitment every week during these 6 weeks. 

[00:19:26] Umar: Now in terms of the price for the first cohort, I want to provide you guys with a one-time offer. the I'm only doing this for the first cohort. So the course will be a $2,000 instead of $4,000. So that is a 50% discount. Now, this is a big responsibility on my shoulders for even seeing this, but I guarantee you that this course will be life-changing for you. It will put you in a very special spot with newly acquired knowledge that companies are fighting for in the web3 jobs marketplace. 

[00:19:59] Umar: I'm working in crypto every day. I see the jobs coming. I mean, with the web3CFO club that I'm managing people are posting about new crypto accounting, CFO roles all the time. And there's just not enough people in the market who have the skills and knowledge to take up these roles. 

[00:20:19] Umar: So the big demand today is not being matched by accountants. And that's why I think there's a huge opportunity for you to tap into. Because every company needs a CFO. a crypto accountant, and we're still very early in this digital transformation. 

[00:20:35] Umar: All of the companies I speak to, they don't even have a CFO. That function is being done by the CEO because the company is just too small right now. But as these companies scale, the CEO will need to hire someone with specialist knowledge on how to set up the financial processes, the internal controls, the treasury management policies, how do you document all the crypto flows into financials. 

[00:21:03] Umar: That's where you will come in. 

[00:21:06] Umar: Now, before I, finished this podcast. I just want to share a little bit about myself. If you've been listening to this podcast for the past two years, so first of all, thank you very much. It's not always easy creating content. But for me, my north star has always been to help accountants navigate through this digital transformation and not become redundant. 

[00:21:34] Umar: I've shared bits and pieces of my career change from being an accountant and auditor to feeling I mean, years ago now I used to feel very anxious about the possibility of me losing my job in the face of all these emerging technologies, like AI, blockchain, big data. But I think technology won't take the accountants job. It's actually the accountants who are not upskilling themselves and just remaining passive, who will lose their jobs. 

[00:22:06] Umar: Honestly, I used to be a very passive accountant and maybe that's why I got even more anxious and frustrated. Because today, no universities teaching you how to do crypto accounting. 

[00:22:19] Umar: A lot of people told me, asked me rather why did I decide to call it The Accountant Quits? I mean, it is about me quitting my job, but it's actually way more than that when I came up with the name. 

[00:22:34] Umar: So, first of all, what I want you to get is, The Accountant Quits is not about telling you to quit your job. What it is, it's a movement to inspire, awaken and prepare accountants for this digital transformation and get ready for the future of work. Some people told me I have to change the name when I launch the academy, because the name has a negative connotation because of the word quits. 

[00:23:00] Umar: But the story of how I came up with the name nearly 3 years ago was after reading the Purple Cow by Seth Godin. I think I never shared this anecdote. So Seth Godin, he argued in that book that safe ideas are not safe at all. They are actually boring. 

[00:23:19] Umar: And he says, imagine driving in the countryside and maybe you're in the passenger seat and you're looking outside the window and suddenly you see a cow. At first you’re excited, but the more you drive and the more cows you see, it starts to get a bit boring, right. And soon enough, you're back to staring at your phone. But imagine that now you see a purple cow. Now that's something that stands out, right. That's something that you've never seen before. And it's actually a story worth sharing to your friends. 

[00:23:52] Umar: I remember reading this and thinking if I come up with the name for this project that I want to do, I wanted something that stands out. So, this was how I came up with the name. Because I wanted to stop accountants in their tracks. And have them wonder what the hell this name is? Why did the accountant quit? Maybe that would make him or her curious to find out more on what I do. And I mean, the name stuck, right? I'm still here 3 years after and it's still called The Accountant Quits. 

[00:24:26] Umar: Lastly before I end the episode. What I want to say is accounting is often referred to as the language of business, meaning it helps you to communicate to all stakeholders about the financial health of the company. That's why I think if cryptocurrencies are set to go mainstream in businesses, for everyday people in our daily lives I think accountants are set to play a critical role for that.

[00:24:56] Umar: Now if you're still wondering whether this course is right for you, you can send me a DM on Twitter @accountantquits. I'm always also reachable on LinkedIN, I’m always posting regularly there.

[00:25:08] Umar: We can hop on a one-on-one call. I want to learn more about your current position and evaluate really whether this course is right for you I'm going to share the meeting link in the show notes.

[00:25:20] Umar: The only condition I have for you to join is this. You need to be serious and committed about transforming your career. There are 8 instructors in total including myself who will be helping you guys. I think this is an incredible opportunity to learn crypto accounting and not spend months figuring it out by yourself. 

[00:25:44] Umar: So I hope you'll check out the website theaccountantquits.com/ cryptoaccountingacademy. You'll think about it and decide whether it's right for you. Bye for now

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