ICAS, CPA Canada, IFAC and IESBA have published the fourth and final paper in their ethics and technology series: Mindset and enabling skills of professional accountants – a competence paradigm shift
ICAS, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) have released ‘Mindset and enabling skills of professional accountants – a competence paradigm shift’, the final publication in a four-part series examining the impact of rapid technological change on ethical leadership and the accountancy profession.
The need for the accountancy profession to fundamentally shift its focus to thrive and stay relevant as the world changes is presented by the authors of the report. The publication asks if the profession’s evolution should include broad technological literacy, and hone the professional and human skills that set Chartered Accountants apart from the machines they will work collaboratively with, rather than continuing to emphasise the core traditional technical areas that most accountants train in.
A profession changing at pace
The report recognises that the accountancy profession is changing at pace, and our increasingly data-driven and AI-enabled world – as well as a greater societal focus on ethics and sustainability – offers huge opportunity, but also obstacles to overcome. While the technical skills and ethical focus of chartered accountants will remain relevant in the future, the profession must continue to adapt and embrace uncertainty – and strive for agility and resilience. As the paper demonstrates, chartered accountants need to adopt a mindset that welcomes change and challenges, and build new skills in areas such as data analytics, business technology and sustainability. By becoming more agile in their approach and mindset, chartered accountants will continue to meet the needs of society and add value in this increasingly changing environment.
Completing a four-part series
The paper completes a four-part thought leadership series stemming from a collaborative exploratory paper and global roundtable event – Ethical Leadership in an Era of Complexity and Digital Change – jointly hosted by ICAS, CPA Canada and IFAC in 2021. The content of the publications reflects the wide ranging discussions which took place at the event which involved experts from not only the accountancy profession but also from other disciplines.
The other three publications in the series are:
- Complexity and the professional accountant: Practical guidance for ethical decision-making
- Technology is a double-edged sword: Opportunities and challenges for the accountancy profession
- Identifying and mitigating bias and mis- and disinformation.
The paper that was produced for the event held on 2 February 2021 can also be viewed at:
‘Ethical Leadership in an Era of Complexity and Digital Change’.
In a related matter the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) is currently consulting on proposed changes to its International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) on which the ICAS Code of Ethics is substantively based. The proposed changes are designed 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 behaviour 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. The consultation closes on 20 June 2022.