Disruptive technologies have significantly impacted the work of accountants, including auditors and those in the finance and advisory fields, especially in terms of the technology and approaches they use. The IESBA has multiple technology-related workstreams.
- First, the IESBA is developing technology-related revisions to the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code). This work is being progressed by the Task Force.
- Second, the IESBA is developing non-authoritative material to respond to immediate stakeholder calls for technology-related guidance to assist professional accountants in business and in public practice, including auditors, to understand how to apply the existing provisions in the Code. This work is being progressed by the Working Group.
In addition, the IESBA is undertaking fact finding and information gathering which includes extensive stakeholder outreach to further understand the broader technology environment. Among other matters, the outcome of this fact finding and information gathering will help inform the technology-related revisions that are being made to the Code. The fact-finding and information gathering activities are being progressed by the Working Group.
Having a dedicated Task Force and Working Group enables the IESBA to accelerate the development and release of technology-related guidance while also progressing the development of technology-related revisions to the Code.
IESBA March 2021 Meeting Highlights
The IESBA considered and agreed to the Technology Task Force and Planning Committee’s recommendation for a short-term deferral of the approval of a technology-related Exposure Draft (ED) from June to December 2021. The deferral will provide stakeholders a period of stability to support awareness raising and adoption of the recently approved NAS and Fees revisions, subject to their approval by the PIOB. It will also allow stakeholders more time to fully consider both the Role and Mindset and NAS revisions as the Technology ED will build on those revisions. The deferral additionally will allow a greater focus on the development of non-authoritative guidance material (NAM) to respond in an agile way to stakeholder requests for, expectations of IESBA leadership in, the provision of guidance. Finally, this short-term deferral recognizes the increased burdens on stakeholders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IESBA also considered and approved the Terms of Reference for its new Technology Working Group. Among other matters, the Working Group will develop, or facilitate the development of, NAM on technology-related topics. It will also undertake research into the impact of technology developments in areas beyond Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data/Data Analytics, such as Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Cloud Computing, on the behavior of professional accountants in both business and public practice. Findings from the research will inform the development of the ED as appropriate.
Finally, the IESBA received a report on and discussed the key messages heard on the two technology surveys undertaken in Q4 2020.
The IESBA will receive a further update from the Task Force and Working Group at its June 2021 meeting.