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 instill 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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About ACCA: ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global professional body for professional accountants.

We’re a thriving global community of 241,000 members and 542,000 future members based in 178 countries and regions, who work across a wide range of sectors and industries. We uphold the highest professional and ethical values.

We offer everyone everywhere the opportunity to experience a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. Our qualifications and learning opportunities develop strategic business leaders, forward-thinking professionals with the financial, business and digital expertise essential for the creation of sustainable organisations and flourishing societies.

Since 1904, being a force for public good has been embedded in our purpose. In December 2020, we made commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals which we are measuring and will report on in our annual integrated report.

We believe that accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society and is vital helping economies, organisations and individuals to grow and prosper. It does this by creating robust trusted financial and business management, combating corruption, ensuring organisations are managed ethically, driving sustainability, and providing rewarding career opportunities.

And through our cutting-edge research, we lead the profession by answering today’s questions and preparing for the future. We’re a not-for-profit organisation. Find out more at

About EY

EY exists to build a better working world, helping to create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets.

Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate.

Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today.

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