Accountants Must Play an Important Role in the Adoption of Artificial Intelligence
As artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more mainstream, the role of the accountancy profession becomes extremely critical with regards to leading the way in adopting it as part of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).
A new report issued by ACCA in collaboration with CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand) emphasizes the need for the accountancy profession to take necessary steps for making Artificial Intelligence (AI) a part of its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting.
The title of the report in question is Ethics for sustainable AI adoption: Connecting AI and ESG. The said report states that it is highly critical that AI adoption and its ethics are connected to a company’s ESG.
The research on which the report is based included 5,700 participants from 21 countries. The report revealed that 43% of the respondents believed that the impact of AI on their individual rights, such as personal security and safety, as well as levels of transparency, choice, and fairness, will be positive. In the case of participants from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 51% have the same view.
Finance and accounting professionals, with their clear commitment towards ethical standards, are well-placed to help businesses in AI adoption by leading the process in this regard, according to CA ANZ and ACCA.
As per the report, 68% of UAE finance and accounting professionals, including bookkeeping firms, believe that their company leaders value ethics as high as profits, while globally 66% also had the same view. It was also revealed that 51% said that AI would help in improving society’s standard of living. Globally, 64% said that AI would help in improving the overall standard of living in society.
The head of ACCA Middle East, Fazeela Gopalani, has said that this can be taken as a wake-up call for the accountancy professions to play an important role in leading the way in connecting AI with ESG and therefore becoming the connectors needed for ensuring an ethical approach. Their management of the transition to AI in a responsible and ethical manner is highly important if a sustainable long-term value is to be secured from this adoption.
There are nine recommendations given in the report and one of the recommendations is about setting the tone at the top level on the adoption of AI by establishing and prioritizing an approach/ strategy that is consistent with the entity’s core values. It is important for organizations to consider the impact of AI on their employees and also be transparent with their employees and customers regarding the use of AI.
The chief executive of ACCA, Helen Brand, said that the adoption of AI must consider the needs of all, especially those that are vulnerable and under-represented in society. This is why one of the recommendations given in this report is to use professional judgment as AI adoption may create unseen situations.
The chief executive of CA ANZ, Ainslie van Onselen, said that in order to adopt AI in a sustainable manner, companies need an effective governance system/mechanism. This begins with setting the right tone at the top and covers different areas from monitoring and delivery procedures to data governance and regulation. It’s very important to obtain knowledge and develop skills at the intersection of AI, ethics, and sustainable development. This aligns very well with the accountancy profession that can play an integral role in ensuring the proper adoption of AI.