Symposium on the Impact of Technology on Ethics, Professionalism and Judgement in Accounting

Announcement & Call for Papers
2019 Ethics Symposium

The Impact of Technology on
Ethics, Professionalism and Judgement in Accounting

April 25-26, 2019
CPA Canada, 277 Wellington St. W.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The University of Waterloo Centre for Accounting Ethics in partnership with the University of Waterloo Centre for Information Integrity and Information Systems Assurance, CPA Canada and the Journal for Business Ethics is proud to bring together thought leaders from academia and business to explore and discuss the influence of technology on all aspects of the accounting profession and its practice. The Thematic Symposium seeks to understand and highlight the ethical consequences of technology on the accounting profession, accounting professionalism and recipients and users of all accounting services. This event will provide an opportunity to interact and share ideas throughout the symposium.


Introduction to the Thematic Symposium

Increasingly technology is being adopted in order to enhance the effectiveness and accuracy of accounting decision making. Some reports in the media have suggested that soon between 40 and 90 percent of all accounting functions will be replaced by technology. This Thematic Symposium seeks to identify the extent to which technology influences both technical and ethical/professional decision making in accounting. What are the threats and the advantages of relying upon technology for the accounting profession and the public whose interest it is intended to serve? Themes of this special issue include:

  • How does technology affect the ethical responsibility of accountants and auditors?
  • Does technology impact ethical decision making by accountants (for example, the amount and types of data recorded, the types of analyses produced, the channels through which information is shared, and so on)?
  • What is the influence of software robots/technology on professional judgement?
  • Do ethical considerations enter into the creation of decision rules used in software (for example, considerations about privacy, abuses of investigative power, data linkages across organizational units that are supposed to be separate, and so on)?
  • How does the use of network based teams located in different jurisdictions with potentially different cultural norms affect ethical decision making of accountants and auditors?
  • Does changing technology play a role in teaching accounting ethics?

A more extensive list of topics can be found at:
https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-accounting-ethics/symposium/call-papers/information-call-papers

Accountants and auditors have increased the use of technology in decision making in an effort to standardize and control the flow of information in the firm, as a response to the increased globalization of their clients, and, at times, to affect cost savings through the use of off-shore employees. Technology has benefits but it also has consequences. Of particular concern is what has become known as a responsibility gap; specifically, does technology result in the abdication of ethical responsibility for the consequences of decisions by real people, here accountants (Johnson 2015)? Such a position ignores the role audit and accounting firms play in the development and deployment of technology (PWC 2016). Who is responsible for decisions, are ethical/professional considerations considered in devising what appear to be purely technical processes? If they are not, should they be and how should this happen?

The goal of the Thematic Symposium is to help business ethics as a field think systematically about the full influence of technology on all aspects of the accounting profession and its practice. The Thematic Symposium seeks to understand and highlight the ethical consequences of technology on the accounting profession, accounting professionalism and recipients and users of all accounting services.


Types of Submissions

Contributors should consider important issues in accounting ethics from a broad range of perspectives. Interdisciplinary work may lead to particularly rich understandings and approaches. For example, management information systems, computer science, law, philosophy, science and technology, information studies, media studies and political science disciplines (amongst others) may all enrich submissions for this call. We seek papers that are explorations of the intersection of how the increasing reliance on technology will influence accounting professionalism, accounting ethics and the accounting profession from a theoretical or empirical perspective.

Submissions that are accepted for the Symposium may be considered as submissions to the Thematic Issue of the Journal of Business Ethics.

Submission deadline for consideration for the Waterloo Symposium is December 1, 2018.

The special editors of the Thematic Symposium will also consider submissions from authors not wishing to be considered for presentation at the Waterloo Symposium.

Submission deadline for submissions to the Thematic Issue of the Journal of Business Ethics only is March 1, 2019.

For more information see: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/applied+ethics/journal/10551.

Questions about expectations, requirements, the appropriateness of a topic, etc., should be directed to the guest editors of the Thematic Symposium: Sally Gunz, sgunz@uwaterloo.ca or Linda Thorne, lthorne@schulich.ca.

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