2023 Symposium

The Centre for Information Integrity and Information Systems Assurance at the University of Waterloo (UWCISA) held its 13th Biennial Symposium on Information Integrity and Information Systems Assurance from September 28th-30th, 2023. The symposium ran in a hybrid format, with online sessions and in-person sessions at CPA Canada in Toronto.

Our symposia are recognized for the extensive interaction between practitioners and academics. Workshops, expert panels and research presentations were presented by academics and practitioners addressing risks, controls, assurance and emerging issues. 


Power BI

Presented by Edbert Oey, UW SAF

In this workshop, participants gained a foundational understanding on how to use Power BI through a product overview of Power BI Desktop and review of all the components and features of Power BI. Then they discussed what makes Power BI a compelling data visualization and business intelligence software Key concepts such as data visualization best practices, dashboards, and data models were introduced.


Presented by Giselle Obendorf, UW SAF

Alteryx is a low-code, drag-and-drop tool that can automate data preparation and analytics on large data sets. It has applications spanning descriptive, prescriptive, and predictive analytics. This workshop, was a collaboration between UWCISA and Haventree Bank. It provided a hands-on demonstration of how to use Alteryx to provide insights in an internal audit context focused on internal controls and fraud detection.

Explainable AI

Presented by Abigail Zhang, University of Texas at San Antonio

The workshop began with an overview of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), explaining the fundamental concepts and principles behind these cutting edge technologies and their practical applications in accounting and assurance services. The focus then shifted to Explainable AI (XAI), an essential aspect of AI development that promotes transparency and interpretability. Participants gained an understanding of the significance of XAI in building trustworthy AI systems and the benefits it brings to various industries.

SQL for Data Analysis

Presented by Edbert Oey, UW SAF

In this workshop, participants learned how to use Structured Query Language (SQL) for data analysis. Given the rise of big data and the establishment of data warehouses across organizations, SQL is an important programming language to learn how to extract, load and transform data.


Generative AI: an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of Large Language Models (and their image counterparts)

Featuring panelists Eric E. Cohen, Cohen Computer Consulting, and Malik Datardina, Auvenir
Moderated by Keehyung Kim, UW SAF

The stunning emergence of AI-powered tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E in late 2022 sparked overnight adoption and fierce debate. In this session, Eric Cohen and Malik Datardina highlighted how the profession, accounting research, and education may be transformed by these rapidly-evolving large language models and creative image generators. The potential benefits and limitations of tapping into these AI systems to aid practice, summarize research, generate test questions, enhance lectures, and improve student learning outcomes were explored.

Building Digital Trust in the Age of Cyber Threats

Featuring panelists Chris Dimitriadis, ISACA, Terry Grafenstine, PenFed Credit Union, Ramsés Gallego, OpenText Cybersecurity, and Asif Mohammed, Richter LLP
Moderated by Frank Yam, Founder & CEO of Focus Strategic Group Inc

With the increasing number of cyber threats and data breaches, building digital trust has become more important than ever. Consumers and businesses alike need to feel confident that their data is secure and that they can trust the digital systems they use. This panel explored the challenges and opportunities associated with building digital trust in today's cybersecurity landscape using the latest tools and techniques available.

Featured research report: ISACA’s 2023 global research report on the State of Digital Trust

Usefulness of Real-Time Information & Table Talks

Featuring panelists Mark Aleksanyan, University of Glasgow, Miklos Vasarhelyi, Rutgers University, and Gerald Trites, ThinkTwenty20
Moderated by Sepideh Ebrahimi, UW SAF

Miklos Vasarhelyi argued that corporate and investor decision-making needs real-time not anachronistic and biased information. His presentation and discussion presented a framework and ideas for real-time entity information. Mark Aleksanyan summarized and discussed findings from a recently published study on potential usefulness of, and demand for, real-time information as perceived by professional investors and sell-side analysts. Gerald Trites weighed in on the need for real-time reporting in today’s world.

Featured research report: Usefulness of real-time information

The ethical implications and potential job replacement associated with AI Large Language Models

Featuring panelists Maura Grossman, UW Cheriton School of Computer Science, Mei Nagappan, UW Cheriton School of Computer Science, and Cathy Cobey, EY
Moderated by Theo Stratopoulos, Associate Director of UWCISA

This panel session focused on generative AI, specifically on Large Language Model (LLM)-based approaches. Tailored for accounting professionals and academics, this discussion unraveled the intricate nuances of AI in its generative form, including potential contributions, challenges, dynamic shifts, and profound implications for academia, the accounting profession, and society in general.

Research Presentations

Board Roles Required for IT Governance to become an Integral Component of Corporate Governance

Presented by Carla Wilkin, Monash University
Featuring discussant academic Sepideh Ebrahimi, UW SAF
Featuring discussant practitioner Douglas Johnson, Haventree Bank
Moderated by Brad Pomeroy, UW SAF

The Marketing by the Big 4 of Big Data Analytics in the External Audit: Evidence and Consequences

Presented by Michael Alles, Rutgers University
Featuring discussant academic Erica Pimentel, Queen's University
Featuring discussant practitioner Melissa Robertson, CPA Canada
Moderated by Adam Vitalis, UW SAF

Does cybersecurity maturity level assurance improve cybersecurity risk management in supply chains?

Presented by Ju-Chun Yen, National Central University
Featuring discussant academic Chris He, Marquette University
Featuring discussant practitioner Robert Reimer, The Petals Group

The Impact of Cybersecurity Risk Management Strategy Disclosure on Investors’ Judgments and Decisions

Presented by Jiehui (Annabella) Huang, University of South Florida
Featuring discussant academic Stephanie Walton, Louisiana State University
Featuring discussant practitioner Chris Anderson, Castlekeep Inc.
Moderated by Alec Cram, Associate Director, UWCISA

Permission Blockchain in Action: Multiple case studies with Early-Adopters

Presented by Mélissa Fortin, Université du Québec à Montréal
Featuring discussant academic Brad Pomeroy, UW SAF
Featuring discussant practitioner Malik Datardina, Auvenir
Moderated by Tim Bauer, Associate Director, UWCISA

The Effect of the Remote Workforce on Firms' Cybersecurity Risk Disclosures and Incidents

Presented by Qingman Wu, Rutgers University
Featuring discussant academic Lei Gao, University of North Florida
Featuring discussant practitioner Marc Y. Tassé, Strategic Advisor on Governance, Ethics and Financial Crime
Moderated by Adam Vitalis, Associate Director, UWCISA

The Costs of Disclosing Firm-Specific Cybersecurity Risk Disclosures

Presented by Arion Cheong, Stevens Institute of Technology
Featuring discussant academic Jiehui Huang, University of South Florida
Featuring discussant practitioner Donald McColl, Deloitte
Moderated by Alec Cram, Associate Director, UWCISA

You posted what? Analyzing determinants of social technology risk prevention

Presented by Diane Janvrin, Iowa State University
Featuring discussant academic Uday Murthy, University of South Florida
Featuring discussant practitioner Jerrard Gaertner, Managed Analytic Services Inc.
Moderated by Adam Vitalis, UW SAF

Development of a Framework of Key Internal Control and Governance Principles for Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Presented by Marc Eulerich, University of Duisburg-Essen
Featuring discussant academic Razvan Ghitam, University of Southern Denmark
Featuring discussant practitioner Gus Leite, PwC Canada
Moderated by Adam Vitalis, Associate Director, UWCISA

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Assurance: Audit Adoption and Capital Markets Effects

Presented by Thomas Bourveau, Columbia University
Featuring discussant academic Chelsea Anderson, University of Arkansas
Featuring discussant practitioner Jerrard Gaertner, Managed Analytic Services Inc.
Moderated by Tim Bauer, Associate Director, UWCISA

Research Reports

All discussions were moderated by Miklos Vasarhelyi, Rutgers University

Artificial Intelligence Co-Piloted Auditing

Presented by Hanchi Gu

Fair value measurement of cryptocurrency: maximizing observable inputs with exogenous variables

Presented by Guangyue (Maria) Zhang

Empirical Analysis of Liquidity Demographics for Crypto Assets

Presented by Sheng-Feng Hsieh

Government ESG Reporting in Smart Cities

Presented by Steven Katz

2023 Symposium Sponsors

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