In a matter of weeks, artificial intelligence took over the world in a way unseen before. With the launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI in November 2022,
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On Wednesday, November 30, we were once again able to join the Class Theatre for the twenty-first edition of Accounting Insight. Starting at seven in the evening, the doors opened for guests. The guests, whether students, working professionals or professors, were able to meet here while enjoying a cup of coffee, tea or a soft drink. The themes of this evening were: Fraud, Data Analysis and Sustainability. After last year’s edition unfortunately could not take place due to measures, the themes were moved on to this year. Under the motto: ”Improve today to advance tomorrow” we asked our speakers to explain from the different themes how we can improve accountancy now, so that we can advance in the future. This edition was also the first edition of Accounting Insight to be held entirely in English.
After the guests had half an hour to chat, it was time to enter the auditorium. With nearly one hundred guests, the room was quite full. After a word of welcome from the chairman of the committee, Bas Penders, and the introduction by the chairman of the day, Margreeth Kloppenburg, it was time for the first proposition: ”Auditors are not equipped with a critical mindset to detect fraud.” This proposition was explained by two speakers, Marianne van Kimmenade of the NBA and Don Raaijmakers of the AFM. Marianne has thirty years of experience at EY, having also been a partner there. After her brief retirement, she became a policy advisor on fraud at the NBA. Don Raaijmakers himself worked for fourteen years at KPMG, then five years at EY, where he was a college graduate of Marianne. After this, he has been working at the AFM as a team leader for fifteen years. Don and Marianne together came to the conclusion that auditors are sufficiently trained to detect fraud, but that the critical eye of especially young auditors is not used enough when conducting an audit. Therefore, they would like to see auditors take a critical look, and not let their biases be a factor in conducting an audit.
The second topic of the evening was Data Analysis, with the proposition: ”For a future accountant, it is better to study physics as opposed to business economics.” For this thesis, Theo-Jan Renkema and Ferdy van Beest were the speakers. Theo-Jan Renkema has worked at Rabobank for 24 years, currently as Chief Innovation and Technology Auditor, and is also a professor at Tilburg University. Ferdy van Beest has been working at Nyenrode Business University for seventeen years, where he is currently Associate Professor. He also works at Flynth as Director of Data Propositions and Integrated Reporting. So two experts in the field of Data Analysis. Theo-Jan Renkema argued that auditing uses more and more data and its analysis, so that in the future he indeed sees mathematicians as auditors, instead of business economists. Ferdy responded that yes, data is being used more and more, but that the auditor is a bridge between the audit and the business, requiring the human touch that business economists have. Together, the speakers agreed that business economics still remains important within Audit, but that there is going to be more and more specialization, with a lot of help from mathematicians. After this substantive discussion it was time for and break, during which guests could discuss afterwards while enjoying drinks and snacks
After the break, it was time for the third and final topic of the evening, Sustainability. The thesis of this theme was, ”The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the future is the Chief Value Officer.” Under this theme, Nicolette Loonen and Ferdy van Beest discussed. Ferdy van Beest has already been introduced at the previous theme. Nicolette Loonen worked at KPMG for 15 years, after which she held all different jobs. She is a co-founder of Tribe of Sustainability Change Agents (TOSCA). The discussion began with Nicolette explaining that the CFO needs to change to the CVO, because there is a need to look more at the long term, and then also how to do business responsibly. Ferdy disagreed, because he thinks that the duties of a CFO are going to be different in the future, and this includes a long-term view. He doesn’t think the position should be renamed for this. In the end, the speakers agreed that the CFO should think about the long-term vision of a company, but the disagreement was mainly in the name of the position.
After another great edition of Accounting Insight, the speakers and partners were thanked by the chairman of the committee, and the chairman of the day closed. After this the guests could have a drink at the company market, where KPMG, EY, PwC and ABAB had set up a stand, all our other partners were fortunately also present. While enjoying a beer, soda, and plenty of snacks, the participants were able to get to know each other, or their future employer, for a while.
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