‘Big 4’ accounting giant PwC accepts Bitcoin payment


An image of Bitcoin. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Global professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) accepted its first payment in digital currency- Bitcoin, last month for its advisory services provided in its Hong Kong office. The move could see it acquire new customers due to its embracement of different currencies.

“This decision helps illustrate how we are embracing new technology and incorporating innovative business models across our full range of services,” said Raymund Chao, PwC Asia-Pacific chairperson, in a statement.

“As the firm works increasingly with companies in the digital asset and cryptocurrency space, it believes that accepting such payments will evolve into an element of doing business in the normal course. It is also an indication that Bitcoin and other established cryptocurrencies have now developed into more broadly accepted forms of settlement.”

For a company operating internationally, accepting payments in different currencies especially one that is not yet regulated by government can be a competitive advantage for PwC.

Also, for companies that price commodities in local currencies, it enables consumers to relate to the company as they are not required to convert the quoted price in order to decide whether to make a purchase or not and they are certain how much it will cost them including shipping.

“Multi-currencies is good for business because it localises the company, making it easier for consumers to relate to the products which is convenient for them, thus it captures a wide variety of customers from various backgrounds and countries,” said Bruce Gumo, a marketing analyst at Biz Trace, a marketing solutions company.

“It is also a form of security and establishes trust with consumers. Most consumers prefer making transactions through a mode of payment that they are familiar with therefore they might refrain from interacting with a company that does not acknowledge their currency.”

In Kenya, for instance in a bid to establish trust with consumers, a company would need to not only price its item is Kenyan shillings but also incorporate mobile money, a popular mode of transaction between merchants and customers in the country or risk suffering losses.

An example of a company that successfully incorporated different currencies for payment and increased its sales is, PhotoBox, a personalised product printing company, operating in 20 countries in Europe. It accepts local forms of payment in 18 countries including Sweden, Germany, Poland and The Netherlands.

READ: Bitcoin plummets more than 12pc to below $15,000

By using Adyen, a multichannel payment solution, the company established trust with consumers and profits increased, according to a case study on the best practices to enhance consumer experience and payment processing conducted by Edgar, Dunn & Company, a financial services and payments consultancy.

“With the Adyen platform, we significantly improved our payment funnel. We achieved a conversion improvement of eight per cent in average in our sales across Europe.

Two main reasons for this are that we now offer all the local payment methods in our 20 markets, and that we have removed two pages from the checkout process,” said Clément Salvaire, Deputy Managing Director in charge of International Development, PhotoBox, in the case study.

Establishing a local payment process in the different countries was critical for the company as research by Adyen revealed that mobile merchants experience a 15 per cent to 20 per cent drop in conversion if they do not offer local forms of payment in Germany and in the Netherlands.

“It is critical to accept relevant payment methods based on criteria such as industry sector, customer segments and payment patterns. Based on research, it is clear that accepting relevant domestic payment methods can unlock specific customer segments and result in incremental sales for online merchants. In other words, merchants need to adapt to consumer payment preferences, not the other way around.”

- African Laughter