“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
– Albert Einstein
Einstein, with the uncanny future insight for which he was widely renowned, encapsulated the dichotomy that currently faces the accounting profession – embracing the world’s breathtakingly rapid technological advances without sacrificing the values and ethics that have so long sustained and defined the profession.
The conundrum dominated the Think Tank featuring the second in a series of Conversations around the World hosted by Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday 2 December 2016 at Deloitte’s unique Greenhouse venue. The event was hosted by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).
The Johannesburg debate strove to predict the challenges chartered accountants and business leaders would face in the years ahead, particularly given the speed with which changes to technology are taking place, and identifying potential approaches to those challenges.
The Future CA 2025 debate hosted more than 45 representatives from CAW institutes around the world from leading Chartered Accountant Institutes in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, Ireland, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Scotland and South Africa, all of whom participated in lively, frank and open discussion, creatively recorded in real time on the walls of the Greenhouse.
In addition to the CAW Institute representatives, also participating in the debate were seven members in business, five partners from accounting firms, three members from academia and one from the State’s Auditor- General o ice and diverse views were expressed.
Delegates represented a diverse range of age, expertise and background. In addition to international CAW representatives, the Future CA 2025 debate included business decision makers who traded forecasts with younger accountants, while entrepreneurs swapped ideas with experienced chartered accountants. Business leaders varied from a mammoth health insurer to an advisory firm specialising in exponential technology. The big (and small) accounting firms were well represented, as were accounting academics. The debate was facilitated by the well-known South African business journalist, Bruce Whitfield.