www.lexisnexis.ca Vol. 32, No. 11 Mid-September 2016
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Mathematical clues to who wields power in great game

Accountants who are avid watchers of Game of Thrones can justify their fandom and many hours spent in front of the television by saying it’s work related.

Well, sort of.

A pair of U.S. mathematicians decided to turn the Game of Thrones books into a pet project using network science, a branch of applied graph theory that uses several disciplines, including economics, sociology and computer science, to examine how information flows from one entity to another.

‘Disruption’ new norm for audit committees

The demands on audit committees have never been heavier as the scope of their responsibilities has widened to include cybersecurity and technological disruption in general, economic volatility — particularly in the oil and gas sector — and expanding global political and regulatory risk. A lengthening slate of risk issues is having big impacts on today’s corporate boards, with risk oversight for both financial and other disruptors increasingly filtering down to the audit committee.

According to a new research report from KPMG, Audit Trends 2016: Targeting Transformation, disruption on multiple fronts is putting audit committees on high alert. With this unprecedented wave of change leaving organizations in a seemingly perpetual state of transition, audit committees are dealing with a mandate that is constantly in flux, demanding more attention, more time and more thought than ever before.

The consent model, the cornerstone behind the federal legislation that governs how private sector organizations may collect, use or disclose personal information in the course of commercial activities, is under the microscope after the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) recently published a consultation paper that examines its viability in today’s digital information ecosystem.

The mind-boggling pace of technological advances and the advent of cloud computing, big data analytics and the Internet of Things has spurred the collection of
such unprecedented amounts of personal information — often shared among invisible players — that it has placed the consent model under strain.

When Betty Xin put down her pen after the third and final day of writing the accounting profession’s Common Final Examination (CFE) this past spring she was just hoping for a passing grade.

“I did well on a couple of the days but the second day of the exam was tough because I second-guessed myself,” the 24-year-old says. “You had to go very in depth on one of the subject areas.

“I gave it my best shot, though, and just basically wrote as much as I could. I wrote non-stop.”

Turns out, Xin’s best shot was good enough to not only pass, but also win the Governor General’s gold medal and a cash prize of $5,000 from CPA Canada for the highest exam mark in Canada.