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IESBA Takes Firm Action to Respond to Transformative Effects of Technology

Proposes Technology-Related Enhancements to Global Ethics Code

Feb 18, 2022 | New York, NY | English

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) today released for public comment proposed revisions to the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards).

The Exposure Draft Proposed Technology-related Revisions to the Code seeks to enhance the Code’s robustness and expand its relevance in an environment being reshaped by rapid technological advancements. The proposed amendments will guide the ethical mindset and behavior of professional accountants in business and in public practice as they deal with changes brought by technology in their work processes and the content of the services they provide. 

“Technological innovation is transforming the world of business and professional services in ways we would never have imagined even a decade ago,” said IESBA Chair Ms. Gabriela Figueiredo Dias. “Technology is not neutral, and professional accountants’ working relationship with it must be shaped by ethics. These timely proposals are designed to emphasize and strengthen the ethical principles that should guide them as they navigate the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities created by these developments, recognizing ultimately their responsibility to act in the public interest.”

Among other matters, the proposals:

  • Draw special attention to the professional competence and confidentiality imperatives of the digital age. 
  • Address the ethical dimension of professional accountants’ reliance on, or use of, the output of technology in carrying out their work. 
  • Further enhance considerations relating to threats from the use of technology as well as considerations relating to complex circumstances in applying the Code’s conceptual framework. 
  • Strengthen and clarify the International Independence Standards (IIS) with respect to technology-related non-assurance services (NAS) firms may provide to their audit clients or technology-related business relationships they may enter into with their audit clients.
  • Explicitly acknowledge that the IIS that apply to assurance engagements are applicable to assurance engagements on non-financial information, for example, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures.

The development of the proposals has been informed by extensive fact-finding work and outreach to stakeholders.

The proposed revisions build on the role and mindset changes that became effective last December, and the revised NAS provisions that will become effective in December 2022.

How to Comment

The IESBA invites all stakeholders to comment on the Exposure Draft by visiting the IESBA website. Comments are requested by June 20, 2022.