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Digital innovation can lead to more efficient, affordable and convenient services. But it can also lead to consumers worrying about privacy and ethics issues.

That’s why companies in the financial space must consider whether they’re adequately training and supporting employees, and how the addition of new technologies could affect their reputations, finds a survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which is not affiliated with any other CA or CPA organizations. 

The survey looks at six digital themes, and those are:

  • Cyber security
  • Platform-based business models
  • Big data and analytics
  • Crypto currencies and distributed ledgers
  • Automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Procurement of technology solutions

Another reason to focus on ethics and providing high-quality care in the digital age, says the ACCA, is financial professionals may be unsure of how to maintain current standards as the industry evolves. For example, one in five survey respondents reported they have felt pressure to compromise their principles in the last 12 months — they’re referring to the principles established by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants, which encourage accountants to be objective, honest and competent.

The ACCA adds that more than 80% of respondents from around the world say strong ethical principles and behaviour will become more important as companies incorporate financial technology, with nine out of 10 noting ethical behaviour will helps build consumers’ confidence in the industry.

To properly serve clients, says the ACCA, accountants and other financial professionals need to learn about emerging technologies and digital issues. If they understand how to use fintechs and deal with issues, that will reduce the risk and impact of breaches and errors.

For more on fintech developments, read:

Why to be cautious about blockchain offerings

Why fintech adoption is low in Canada — and why that will change

ETF providers want to be your practice consultants

Strengthening fintech must be top priority, says report

About the survey: 10,000 finance professionals and ACCA students from 158 countries were surveyed. Out of that total, about 40% were ACCA members, 55% were ACCA students, 5% were members/students of other professional accountancy bodies, and another 500 were C-suite executives who interact with finance professionals in their organizations. 

Originally published on Advisor.ca
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