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‘Ethical crossroads’ for accountants in AI push, CA ANZ finds

‘Ethical crossroads’ for accountants in AI push, CA ANZ finds

Accountants will be at the forefront of ethical decisions arising from the increase of artificial intelligence, according to a new report by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ).

Business Jotham Lian 30 July 2018
— 1 minute read

The report looks at the ethical considerations around AI and machine learning, and possible implications on society, business, regulators, individuals, and the accounting profession, calling for codes of ethics, or updated governance guidelines, around what their AI programs can and can’t do.

Accordingly, the report notes the infiltration of AI in the accounting profession through software solutions, and the need for accountants to ask the right questions to ensure ethical standards are upheld over the use of data.

“While the increasing volume of data allows for more robust analytics and greater monetisation potential, it comes with increased ethical accountabilities around how this data is being handled and, for what purposes it is being used and by whom,” the report said.

“As well as helping businesses connect to big data and leverage of the business opportunities it presents, accountants can assist with setting the boundaries for how amassed data can be collected and used. 

“The accountancy profession will therefore continue to play a pivotal role in ensuring business information is sound and business decisions are in step with wider societal values, demanding a considered balance between what is good for business and what is good for society.”

CA ANZ business reform leader Karen McWilliams said the report comes at a time where there are no commonly agreed policies or accountability frameworks.

“In our world of fake news and privacy concerns, we are currently at an ethical crossroad where we need to determine the right direction for the development of machine learning and AI,” said Ms McWilliams.

“By setting the right ethical framework now, we have an opportunity to design a new AI-enabled world, which could create a more inclusive global society and sustainable economy than exists today.”

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‘Ethical crossroads’ for accountants in AI push, CA ANZ finds
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