Murray State University

Poster Title

What is Missing in Data Governance? Regulation, Board Oversight, and a New Role for Accountants

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Accounting/Information Systems

2nd Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

2nd Student Major

Accounting/Information Systems

2nd Student Minor

Psychology

Institution 22-23

Murray State University

KY House District #

270

KY Senate District #

270

Department

Department of Accounting

Abstract

By 2025, the world will produce 163 Zettabytes (ZB) of data on an annual basis. Data is displacing oil as the most productive commodity. However, poor data quality costs the U.S. economy $3.1 trillion annually. Data must be properly managed through data governance. A strong data governance program does not only maximize the value of the data resulting in optimal decision making, but also minimizes risks of data breaches, lawsuits, and reputational costs. In our research, we conducted a content analysis of the data governance literature by considering both professional and academic literature.

Our results showed that the U.S. does not have comprehensive legislation for data governance. First, legislative and regulatory progress has been lagging behind data security and individual rights. Second, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a new regulation, “The Cybersecurity Risk Management”, in 2022. It did not take a holistic approach in considering an overall data governance framework that firms should follow. Third, our content analysis revealed that the companies’ boards have not yet embraced a data governance culture. The boards have to customize and implement data governance frameworks comprised of policies, processes, roles, and responsibilities. Fourth, we found that the accounting profession has an important role in data governance. In order to play that role, it has to reinvent itself by developing new skills, especially digital skills.

Our study provides several public policy implications. First, legislative bodies, including the SEC, need to set forth a holistic approach for data governance regulations. Second, the SEC needs to set a requirement for public companies to identify that component of the board of directors responsible for data governance. Third, accounting educators at universities should revise their academic programs in a way that prepares accountants for data governance roles.

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What is Missing in Data Governance? Regulation, Board Oversight, and a New Role for Accountants

By 2025, the world will produce 163 Zettabytes (ZB) of data on an annual basis. Data is displacing oil as the most productive commodity. However, poor data quality costs the U.S. economy $3.1 trillion annually. Data must be properly managed through data governance. A strong data governance program does not only maximize the value of the data resulting in optimal decision making, but also minimizes risks of data breaches, lawsuits, and reputational costs. In our research, we conducted a content analysis of the data governance literature by considering both professional and academic literature.

Our results showed that the U.S. does not have comprehensive legislation for data governance. First, legislative and regulatory progress has been lagging behind data security and individual rights. Second, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a new regulation, “The Cybersecurity Risk Management”, in 2022. It did not take a holistic approach in considering an overall data governance framework that firms should follow. Third, our content analysis revealed that the companies’ boards have not yet embraced a data governance culture. The boards have to customize and implement data governance frameworks comprised of policies, processes, roles, and responsibilities. Fourth, we found that the accounting profession has an important role in data governance. In order to play that role, it has to reinvent itself by developing new skills, especially digital skills.

Our study provides several public policy implications. First, legislative bodies, including the SEC, need to set forth a holistic approach for data governance regulations. Second, the SEC needs to set a requirement for public companies to identify that component of the board of directors responsible for data governance. Third, accounting educators at universities should revise their academic programs in a way that prepares accountants for data governance roles.