CPA Canada Opening Research Session

Opening Research Session: 8:30 to 9:30 (CST), Friday, June 5


Setting the foundation for the Future of Accounting - Research can inform our Way Forward 


In these uncertain times, accountants are turning risks into opportunities. Behind each business decision, accountants are applying their skills to help organizations adapt – from governments to provide new services to businesses providing value. With exponential shifts in technology, globalization, business models, geopolitics and societal values, now is the time for transformation.


Join this session to learn how CPA Canada’s Foresight initiative is creating a new strategic direction for the accounting profession and the need for research to inform the Way Forward. Phase 1 consultations identified key workstreams including value creation, data governance, trust, skills and competencies, and stakeholder engagement. Developing research agendas is the focus in Phase 2. Existing research is reshaping our thinking.

We need a broader and deeper understanding to identify the opportunities for accountants and how we can prepare our profession to thrive today and in the future. Presenters will share practice insights on the journey so far, areas where research could shape the future of accounting, and the funding available through the CAAA-CPA Canada 2020 Grant Program.




Michel Girard

Michel Girard

Michel Girard is a senior fellow at CIGI, where he contributes expertise in the area of standards for big data and artificial intelligence (AI). His research strives to drive a dialogue on what standards are, why they matter in these emerging sectors of the economy, and how to incorporate them into regulatory and procurement frameworks. He highlights issues that should be examined in the design of new technical standards governing big data and AI in order to spur innovation while also respecting privacy, security and ethical considerations. in the area of standards for big data and artificial intelligence (AI).

In addition, Michel provides standardization advice to help innovative companies in their efforts to access international markets. He contributes to the CIO Strategy Council’s standardization activities and was recently appointed to the International Electro Technical Commission’s Market Strategy Board, which develops and maintains more than 10,000 international standards for electrical and electronic technologies.

Michel has 22 years of experience as an executive in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Prior to joining CIGI, Michel was vice president, strategy at the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), where he worked from 2009 to 2018. At the SCC, he led the design and implementation of the Standards and Innovation program, the Climate Ready infrastructure program, the Northern Infrastructure Standards Initiative and the Monitoring Standards in Canadian Regulations initiative. He managed the negotiation of standardization clauses in trade agreements including the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the Canadian Free Trade Agreement. Previously, he was director of the Ottawa office at the Canadian Standards Association, director of international affairs at Environment Canada, corporate secretary at Agriculture Canada and acting director of education and compliance at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. He holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in history from the University of Ottawa.

Al Donald

Al Donald

Al is a Senior Partner with Deloitte Canada. He has served large retailers (luxury, department store, drug and food) and consumer goods (food, fashion, apparel, beverage, and media) companies in Canada and with operations around the world. He leads relationships both with major audit and advisory clients. In these roles he has advised executive management, audit committees and boards on governance, audit, finance and merger and acquisition activities.

Al also leads our practice in helping companies understand how to enhance communications with key stakeholders, in particular through enhanced Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A’s) and other disclosure documents.

Al has over 30 years of public accounting experience. In addition to leading services to our clients, Al has served in a number of national and global marketing related leadership roles, which has given him an enhanced understanding of high quality communications.

Al has written and spoken on a variety of topics related to corporate reporting, the future of corporate reporting and the related assurance.

He serves on CPA Canada’s Advisory Group on Value Creation and has worked with CPA Canada in developing its non-gaap reporting framework.

Al is also active in the community. He is a past member of the Foundation Board and Executive for St. Michaels Hospital, he is a member of the Huron University College Executive Board and is a Past President of the Donalda Club.

Al has degrees from the University of Western Ontario, the University of Windsor, he has attended the Stanford University Executive Program (SEP) and is a CPA (Ontario) and a CPA (Illinois).

Gordon Beal

Gordon Beal

Gordon Beal. is the Vice President of Research Guidance and Support for Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada). He leads a team of professionals who undertake technical research to create guidance and thought leadership that help to shape the future of the accounting profession and support CPA members. Research covers a range of issues including strategy, risk and performance management; external reporting and assurance; and corporate oversight and governance. Climate change and broader issues of sustainable development, along with the impact of emerging technologies, are key elements of this work.

Gord leads CPA Canada’s Foresight – Reimagining the Profession initiative which is challenging CPAs and the profession to move beyond traditional roles to ensure a vibrant and successful profession in the long term. He also leads CPA Canada’s work on sustainability and climate change. For 2020, Gord was awarded the prestigious Clean50, an initiative recognizing outstanding contributions in the field of sustainability and clean capitalism in Canada. He is a long-time member of Canada’s National Climate Change Adaptation Platform Plenary, sits on the National Assessment Advisory Committee on Canada in a Changing Climate and Co-Chairs the global Accounting Bodies Network for Accounting for Sustainability (A4S).

Including the past 15 years with CPA Canada, Gord has over 30 years of diverse experience in senior leadership and driving significant organizational change. Prior to CPA Canada, Gord held senior financial and operational leadership roles in Canada’s manufacturing and construction sectors, along with senior experience in audit and advisory services. He also spent time in the Ontario Ministry of Finance in a senior training and organizational development role. He has volunteered as a Director and member of the Governance and Audit Committees on the Boards of several not-for-profit organizations.

Gord is a CPA, CA. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Commerce from the University of Toronto, he holds a Bachelor of Education and Master of Education from Brock University that focused on the role of leadership in organizational learning and adaptation.

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