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Members needed to shape guidance on AI ethics

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 28 Mar 2024

ICAEW is developing CPD modules on artificial intelligence and ethics – and would like your input on their structure.

Several types of artificial intelligence (AI), from machine learning to generative AI, offer chartered accountants the opportunity to improve the efficiency of their processes and decision-making. However, that opportunity comes with several ethical considerations. 

In a video produced and released by ICAEW last year, several CEOs and CFOs discussed some of the ethical challenges around AI. Danny Ho, CFO for beauty retail group SaSa, pointed out that the human biases that find their way into the algorithms can cause an issue. “We need to remember, at the end of the day it’s people who are making these judgements and setting up these algorithms.” 

AI also runs the risk of making processes less transparent, according to Andrew Horton, Group CEO of QBE Insurance Group. “We need to ensure that we’re keeping humans involved and actually testing the output.” 

With that in mind, accountants must be aware of the limitations of AI and apply their own judgement to the data and results that are being given. ICAEW is therefore developing guidance and ethical principles for them to follow in relation to the use of AI and would like members to contribute to the process.

Following the introduction of mandatory Ethics CPD for its members last November, ICAEW will be launching an AI and Ethics CPD module later this year, to complement existing modules and with a focus on practicality, including case studies.

It will cover the use of AI in organisations, including to support decision-making and judgements, and AI in reporting by accountants, including the preparation of statutory reporting and production of management information. It will look at how AI could be used in data analysis, including audit methodology and data models for audit purposes

ICAEW will be holding a number of round tables and is looking for members to participate in these discussions. The aim of the round tables is to gather information and feedback about the issues that accountants (and professionals in general) are likely to encounter in the use of AI as part of their professional lives. ICAEW wants to know what tools and resources they might find helpful, any specific ethical dilemmas that they might encounter and need to overcome, and broad principles and good practice guidance.

“These round tables are intended to have a practical focus,” says David Gomez, ICAEW’s Senior Lead, Ethics. “AI presents both opportunities and threats to the profession. We want to understand more about the issues that accountants are facing as they increasingly use AI as part of their professional lives. This will allow us to collate case studies and associated guidance, and to share this learning with the profession.”

The majority of the round tables will be held virtually. However, we would like to hold an in-person round table at Chartered Accountants Hall in Moorgate, London (refreshments provided). We plan to hold the round tables within the window of availability below:

  • 17 April 10am-12pm (virtual)
  • 25 April 2-4pm (virtual)
  • 29 April 2-4pm (virtual)
  • 3 May 9am-5pm (room held for in-person meeting)
  • 7 May 9am-12pm (room held for in-person meeting)

Please contact David.Gomez@icaew.com if you would like to attend one of these round tables.

Ethics CPD course

This free course helps you apply the Code of Ethics to everyday situations and satisfy your CPD requirements.

ICAEW's Ethics CPD course is designed to help you apply the Code of Ethics to everyday situations and uphold the highest standards of professional conduct.

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