USER EXPERIENCE: Gerald D. Trites, IT/Accounting Expert


Project Director for XBRL Canada

“The Canadian Security Administrators have started up their voluntary program, where you will be able to file financial statements in extensible business reporting language (XBRL). I have been doing a lot of work with that group. In order for people to file with the program or use XBRL at all, they need a good taxonomy, and one that incorporates generally accepted accounting principles. We did release a taxonomy but it had gotten a few years out of date, and there have been big changes in the GAAP over that time, and to financial instruments standards. What’s missing in that is a taxonomy for notes to the financial statements. We are hoping to have that finished by the end of May.

“XBRL has lead to some significant changes in the reporting environment, simply because of the potential for increased availability of data and better access to data, and different kinds of data.”

Professor of Accounting and Information Systems from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish

“I’ve retired a couple of times. I still teach a little bit online. I was the first one to do that combination of accounting and IS. At the time, they had a separate department of information system that was unrelated to business administration. Because of my skill sets and interests, I kind of forged a link between the two. I taught some IS courses and some accounting courses. I worked both sides. In conjunction with chair of the IS department, I helped to organize a program where we had SAP brought in and were able to develop the use of SAP in the IS program, and we developed a majors stream in ERP. Now students at St. FX can get a BIS degree with a major in ERP.”

Partner in accounting and assurance as well as IS at KPMG for 17 years.

“When I first started with KPMG I was entirely the accounting and auditing practice. Although I did have a technical bent, pretty much the get-go I started off in their national research department, which involves standards training and then moved over to quality control. I worked in that area for a long time, reviewing work that was done and making sure the standards were met. Over the years as tech began to intrude into the organization with PCs, I started getting into that because in the audit practice, they were getting more concerned about controls and management issues with regards to the new PCs. This was a very big shift from the old mainframe, glass-house days. As auditors and accountants we had to concern ourselves with that a lot.”


Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, York University.

“I had no separate IS training. I took the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). I had to write an exam for that. Most of my experience has been on the job.”

Career Objective

“People don’t always understand up front just how pervasive and radical the changes are and are going to be coming out of technology. Look at the reporting process, the impact of XBRL. Some people look at that and say it’s just bringing in a new technology, that it’s no different from software. But when you look at it, there is a big deal because it changes the way in which people can access information. That leads to changes in the kind of information they get and the timing of the information, the quality of information. All of that has major implications for the system. It leads to new demands. Accountants have got to respond to those demands. I don’t know how I existed before computers came along.”

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