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Ethics and new technologies

The accountancy profession is well placed to apply ethical thinking to the practical concerns of new technology. Accountants and auditors are increasingly using complex algorithms in performing their work and can use their skills to help organisations build ethical frameworks around the use of technology and help build trust in the use of complex AI systems.

Another important consideration for the profession is how to ensure that the Code of Ethics remains relevant and whether there are particular areas where guidance is needed. For instance, to what extent should accountants be overruling the outputs of AI systems and who is ultimately responsible for any failings.

The articles and reports on this page are dedicated to examining emerging technologies, how they are being used, the ethical challenges and risks involved, how these risks can be managed effectively, and potential implications for the Code of Ethics.

News, opinion and analysis


What is explainable AI?

The artificial intelligence and machine learning boom has led to concerns about ‘black box’ models and systemic bias. A solution to this is to build explainable AI. Technical Manager David Lyford-Smith explores what that means and how it can be done.

Thought Leadership resources and other guidance

Read our latest Thought Leadership, other reports and technical helpsheets concerning technology, the risks around ethics and accountability.

Risks and assurance of emerging technologies

Cognitive and automation technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) have drawn a great deal of interest, but also concern about the potential for bias and misuse. ICAEW’s Tech Faculty examines the risks associated with the adoption of emerging technology and how these risks can be tackled through internal controls and assurance.

Frameworks on ethical use of AI

A selection of frameworks produced by other organisations.

The Deloitte machines with purpose paper

New technology offers many opportunities for professional services to improve their operations; yet has the sector been at best reactive to previous waves of innovation?

The PwC practical guide to responsible AI

Amid this promise, the rapid pace and significant scale of change resulting from ever smarter AI systems and increasingly pervasive human/machine interactions are also giving rise to markedly differing concerns among business leaders and consumers.

The Machine Intelligence Garage framework

The responsible use of algorithms and data is paramount for the sustainable development of machine intelligence applications, Digital Catapult's Ethics Committee has created an Ethical Framework consisting of seven concepts, along with corresponding questions intended to inform how they may be applied in practice.

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.

ICAEW Ethics CPD Course

This free course helps you apply the Code of Ethics to everyday situations, uphold the highest standards of professional conduct, and satisfy your ethics continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.