Over the past few months, we’ve looked at the coming changes to the accounting profession. We’ve also looked at the changes to sustainability reporting. But for accounting professionals need to be ready for the new landscape, education needs to focus on the combination of these two initiatives.
Sustainability Reporting is an Emerging Issue: How Are We Teaching It?
As discussed in a recent article on the CPA Journal, the AICPA is looking to incorporate sustainability reporting into the curriculum, helping professionals to understand the process of disclosing economic, environmental, and social impacts caused by its everyday activities.
Though the SASB was launched to address this, the field is yet to be covered in the CPA exam nor required reporting by the SEC. Add this to the lack of education both in college and after it, and those in the accounting field need to understand not only what is and will be expected of them in the coming years.
Resources for Sustainability Reporting: Where to Start
After all, future stakeholders, media organizations, and activists will expect you to deliver this information. Understanding where to find information can help you avoid issues in the future, and fortunately, there are ways to incorporate sustainability reporting into your business.
AICPA’s Sustainability News Repository
With sustainability initiatives considered a larger part of the company, the AICPA has recognized this and released a dedicated website focused on sustainability. The AICPA sustainability news repository delivers fee-based and free resources for delivering information to stakeholders.
From the SASB field guide to the Global Reporting Initiative Standards, you can find a variety of resources for success here.
SASB Knowledge Hub
One of the leading voices in the sustainability reporting field, the SASB was created to connect businesses and investors on the financial impacts of sustainability. With SASB standards, companies can benefit from greater transparency, better risk management, improved long-term performance and stronger, more valuable brands — while providing investors a more accurate picture of their sustainability performance.
The SASB Knowledge Hub provides webinars, case studies, and other resources to help accountants understand and use the standards.
SASB Materiality Map
Another excellent tool is the SASB Materiality Map, which identifies sustainability issues that are likely to affect the financial condition or operating performance of companies within an industry (https://materiality.sasb.org/). Using the Materiality Map in auditing lectures can stimulate expanded discussions regarding materiality, which may lead to a greater understanding of the concept.
Global Reporting Initiative Resource Library
Since 1997, GRI has pioneered sustainability reporting. GRI’s database includes more than 30,000 reports published by companies that share information regarding their impacts on a wide range of sustainability issues. From their resource center to their interpretations, you can find a lot of information on the GRI site.
International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Knowledge Hub
The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) is a global coalition of regulators, investors, companies, standard setters, the accounting profession, academia and NGOs. The coalition promotes communication about value creation as the next step in the evolution of corporate reporting.
The IIRC’s long term vision is a world in which integrated thinking is embedded within mainstream business practice in the public and private sectors, facilitated by Integrated Reporting () as the corporate reporting norm. Offering a variety of insights on their knowledge hub, the IIRC can help you understand expectations and learn the value of an integrated reporting initiative.
Discuss Sustainability Initiatives with Your Peers: Controllers Council
There are many paths to better business, but one of the most effective ways to learn more is to discuss initiatives with your peers. The Controllers Council was launched to help controllers across the US and around the world to improve skills and discuss changes. Out members-only forum and frequent events will share with you all the latest. Click here to learn more about the benefits of membership.