Professional accounting will be transformed by AI, machine learning, blockchain and big data. Much of the traditional accounting work can (and will) be done by AI and machine learning. Blockchain has the potential to become a new accounting technology replacing double-entry accounting. There is a new role that will emerge for CPAs: the need to understand and manage the application of these technologies in finance and accounting and to provide the necessary oversight and governance. This will require a CPA who has a profound understanding of these technologies and who can speak to technology professionals with confidence, possessing the requisite knowledge and competencies.
CPAs needs to engage if an entrepreneurial-like pivot. One component of such an effort would be to engage in a detailed foresight study in regards to the application of technology to the profession, leading to the ability to detect clues concerning emerging events and adapt in a pre-emptive manner to challenges before they fully emerge.
The legal profession is also experiencing rapid transformation as the result of technology. Ryerson and the legal profession has established the Legal Innovation Zone which seeks to provide leadership in the development of advanced technologies to legal practice. The Creative Destruction Lab at Rotman focuses on technology start-ups. It is time for the CPA profession to take a similar initiative. Ryerson or another university could be the location of an accounting and finance innovation zone. CPAs need to take ownership of these technologies in relation to finance and accounting.
The new Ryerson law school program includes a mandatory course in coding and a technology bootcamp. The education of CPAs must be similarly transformed. I would propose a similar mandatory course in coding and a technology bootcamp for CPAs.
I have an MBA, an MSc (Business and Management Research) and a Doctor of Business Administration degree from Henley Business School (University of Reading UK). My doctorate dissertation Integrating the Intuitive into User Acceptance of Technology Theory was elected one of the top ten best theses in the European Doctoral Programmes Association in Management and Business Administration (EDAMBA) 2017 Thesis Competition and I have published in a number of international publications related to my research. I am also a member of the ACM, the world’s most prominent academic computer technology association.
Together with Omar Ha-Redeye, a Toronto lawyer and Ryerson educator, I have published several articles on the application of the emerging advanced technologies to legal practice. I have also made presentations on blockchain to several CPA groups. I was employed for twenty-one years at Do Process LP, a national provider of technology to the legal profession where I specialized in technology for corporate, estate, and Will practice. I played a prominent role in the development of an application specific to fiduciary accounting. I am presently a sole practitioner with a focus on fiduciary accounting. Given my qualifications and experience I feel I can help CPA Ontario seize the day, and set the course for the future.