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Risks and assurance of new tech: the next phase

26 August: ICAEW Chief Executive Michael Izza reflects on the Tech Faculty’s recent work on emerging technology and calls for potential partners to help with the next steps in our work.

Cognitive technology has already begun to transform business, offering unprecedented opportunities to automate business processes and analyse business data. However, this technology has also brought with it new and unfamiliar risks.

In June, our Tech Faculty launched their latest report, Risks and assurance of emerging technologies. The report outlines how these risks – from problems with automation similar to those experienced in the manufacturing sector, to wholly new threats – can act as barriers to our ability to fully embrace the opportunities that these powerful technologies offer.

The report also suggests how companies can begin to respond to these risks – such as through creating design principles for how they will create and implement cognitive automation, through controls over the operation of such automation and buying in assurance. ICAEW Chartered Accountants are uniquely placed to aid in these endeavours, whether working in industry and helping their organisations plan and consider the risks or developing new assurance offerings in practice.

With the report now published, we are looking for partners to help us bring to life the next steps in our examination of this important topic.

Currently, AICPA’s SOC 2 is often used when planning assurance of controls, but it is not designed specifically to address tech risks. We are looking to discover if a specific methodology framework for providing assurance over emerging technology and its associated risks would be of value to auditors working in this sector, and if so, to partner with one or more organisations to create such a framework.

We are also interested in helping businesses who are currently using or considering using these technologies, to assess the risks and their responses to them in a structured and accessible way. Our proposal is to work with one or more partners to create a “conversation pack” for Board-level management, to guide a discussion around identifying and considering the technology risks that the organisation is exposed to and how it is responding to those risks.

If your organisation would be interested in partnering with us on one of these initiatives, please contact David Lyford-Smith, our Technical Manager for Tech and the Profession, at David.Lyford-Smith@icaew.com.