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UK’s policymakers urged to accelerate creation of a trustworthy AI ecosystem


ACCA/EY joint response to UK government sets out key role accountancy profession can play in AI regulation

The UK government needs to work fast on the detail of regulating artificial intelligence (AI) to give business the certainty it requires. At the same time, the UK should work to secure international co-operation and interoperability, while ensuring that on the domestic front there is a high level of joined-up thinking across sectors and stakeholders (government, business, regulators and civil society) to avoid duplication or things falling into gaps between different regulators.

These recommendations from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and EY – the global professional services firms – form part of a joint response to the UK government’s AI white paper, A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation.

The response, Building the foundations for trusted artificial intelligence, strongly supports the pro-innovation approach. However, it also makes clear that AI impacts the lives of all citizens. Involvement and feedback are needed across the whole of the socio-economic spectrum, and across all sectors, industries and sizes of business. AI development cannot be confined to a narrow coterie of influencers.

Helen Brand OBE, chief executive, ACCA, says:

‘AI features strongly in the public consciousness due to its potential to introduce both new opportunities and previously unseen risks. We support multi-stakeholder feedback – such as capturing the voices of SMEs and UK regions – and the desire to build bridges internationally. While more prescriptive guidance may be required in some areas to clarify accountability, we agree with a flexible approach to manage the fast-paced development of AI.’

The response also called for the creation or reinforcement of pathways to enable sharing knowledge, tools and experience.

‘As policymakers in the UK and across the globe are confronting the challenges of formulating a regulatory approach for AI, this report highlights the need for reporting and oversight approaches that operate in a global market and that will instil confidence in AI,’ said Ansgar Koene, EY Global AI Ethics and Regulatory Leader. 

The UK has an opportunity to champion an ecosystem for trustworthy AI. ACCA and EY note in their response that the accountancy profession has a key role to play in AI regulation, drawing on its skill in assessing risk and controls. Properly leveraging the capabilities in the sector would boost the UK’s global reputation as a trusted home of responsible AI. 

Professor Michael Mainelli FCCA, senior alderman below the aldermanic chair, City of London Corporation, who contributed to this response, says:

‘Those of us with decades of experience in the fields of AI have long recognised the need for standards. This paper notes the opportunity to use such standards, particularly existing ISO standards, for inspection and testing to provide appropriate assurance on AI products and services.’

Read Building the foundations for trusted artificial intelligence

Read A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation

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