Building on the February 2020 Phase 1 Report, this report documents the impacts of disruptive and transformative technologies on the work of professional accountants, and provides extensive analysis and insights into the ethical dimension of those developments. The report also discusses the relevance and importance of the overarching principles and specific provisions in the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code) in laying out the ethical guardrails for professional accountants as they face opportunities and challenges in their work as a result of rapid digitalization.
The Report surveys the technology landscape and summarizes the outcomes of the Working Group’s fact-finding into the ethics implications of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing. It explores through the ethical lens various related issues, including data governance, cybersecurity, and reliance on, or use of, experts, and provides insights into those issues and the questions they raise. The Report includes ten recommendations which the IESBA will further consider, some of which it is already addressing in developing technology-related revisions to the Code.