Preparing CPAs to manage the risks of technology

In the first of a new series spotlighting CPA Canada's thought leadership and research initiatives, we look at technology.

To help its members stay ahead of the technology curve, CPA Canada has a group of subject matter experts who provide thought leadership and guidance about information management and technology (IM&T) matters that affect the accounting profession and business community. The 11 volunteer members of the Information Management and Technology Advisory Committee (IMTAC) include professionals from accounting and IT consulting firms, industry, the public sector and academia.

In previous years, the committee focused on assurance, but its focus is evolving. “As unification has occurred, we’re changing to reflect the full constituency of CPA Canada,” says Chris Anderson, chair, who is vice-president, risk, at Rogers Communications. “Our purpose is to help the accounting and auditing side of CPA Canada understand the opportunities and issues related to data processing and information management, and how to manage the associated risks.”

IMTAC’s work includes interpretation of global standards, guidance on Canadian standards, commenting on worldwide IM&T developments, research projects and more. For example, the committee worked closely with Andrea Civichino, research editor at CPA Canada, to develop a forthcoming paper about big data. IMTAC’s work also inspired a session on data analytics at CPA Canada’s The One National Conference in September. IMTAC is also studying cybersecurity for small and medium-sized enterprises, Bitcoin and technology skills for accountants.

“Every business and organization uses technology for accounting and to automate business processes and even manufacturing. Accountants need to be literate in information and automation technology — not experts, but at least able to understand and manage it at some level,” says Anderson. “Financial statement auditing requires understanding how the client’s accounting transactions are created and summarized correctly in the books. As this gets more automated, the auditors have to be able to figure this out as part of their professional obligations.”

What’s next?

IMTAC chair Chris Anderson predicts the tech issues that will be on the committee’s radar soon:

  • adoption of XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) for financial and other types of reporting
  • the Internet of Things (i.e., more objects sharing data with each other and humans)
  • mobile commerce
  • militarization of cyberspace

Recent related CPA Canada publications and research

Brush up on technology issues that affect the accounting profession with these timely resources from CPA Canada.

25th Anniversary Edition of the North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey Results (2015)

Conducted by CPA Canada and the American Institute of CPAs, this report highlights the top 10 tech priorities of accounting professionals in Canada and the US.

The Canadian Privacy and Data Security Toolkit (2015)

This book helps businesses and organizations handle privacy issues and security breaches. 

Coming from CPA Canada: