Global Ethics Board Releases Report Exploring the Ethical Implications of Technology for Accountants

Feb 27, 2020 | English

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) today released its Phase One Report exploring the ethical implications of technology on the accounting, assurance, and finance functions.

The report is the culmination of the first phase of fact-finding work the global ethics standard-setting board initiated in recognition of the pace and magnitude of change caused by disruptive technological innovations. The initial phase of the initiative was led by the IESBA’s Technology Working Group (TWG).

In its findings, the TWG concluded that, generally, the IESBA’s International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code) currently provides high level, principles-based guidance for most technology-related ethics issues that professional accountants and firms might encounter. However, the report cites various findings and sets out recommendations grouped into five key topical areas where material in the Code could be enhanced.

“Over the last few years, the pace, significance and complexity of technology advances, such as machine learning, have given rise to new opportunities and challenges for the accountancy profession,” said Dr. Stavros Thomadakis, IESBA Chair, adding “The effective organization and delivery of services are already undergoing major change. The global accountancy profession will have to recognize and address new ethical challenges in a rapidly changing technological environment. The IESBA Technology Working Group has delivered a comprehensive and informative report in this strategic area. This lays the groundwork for our substantive and timely response to ethical and public interest challenges posed by radical technological change.”

The report also includes other recommendations for the next phase of the initiative, including that the IESBA conducts additional information gathering with respect to the ethical implications of other technological developments such as blockchain, cybersecurity and Internet of Things.

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