Monday 18 December 2017

Technology raises questions over human accountants - global head

Developments in technology raise questions over the role of human beings in accountancy
Developments in technology raise questions over the role of human beings in accountancy
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Developments in technology raise questions over the role of human beings in accountancy, according to the head of the International Federation of Accountants.

Fayezul Choudhury said advances in data-processing capability raises questions about the role human beings will play in future.

"The effect of technology on all professions, including the accountancy profession is going to be very profound. Because if you have that much processing capacity, than arguably artificial intelligence becomes much more realistic, indeed likely," Choudhury told the Sunday Independent.

"Given that one of the hallmarks of a profession is the exercise of judgment, you can have the technical rules, but where you add the value is the exercise of the technical judgment. So certainly you can put a lot of the technical rules into technology, you can do that today. But if artificial intelligence can start to exercise judgment... that diminishes the role of the human being.

"Changes are underway and trying to identify the issues and how to be ahead of it is obviously important."

Choudhury was in Dublin at an event linked to the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland's (CPA Ireland) 90th anniversary. He said globalisation is also having an effect on the profession.

"When we look at globalisation, the days when the person in Dublin, or New York, or London is going to sit and provide all the capacity and technical support that's needed in the various globalised elements of their business, that's gone. You've got to build up capacity within countries all around the world, firstly just to make for efficient and orderly capital markets, but also just to create sustainable organisations and strong economies within the country."

He said the accountancy profession has an important role to play in the debate about where multinationals should pay their taxes.

"When you've seen the issues on the ground, you're in a very good position to advise the powers that be... at a more granular level of what the issues that need to be addressed are, and what effective means of addressing them are.

"I would like to think that the accountancy profession is, and will be, seen to be part of the solution."

Sunday Indo Business

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