Role of Accountants on Sustainability

The article, What is the Accounting Profession’s Role in Accountability of Economic, Social, and Environmental Issues? by Anna L. Lusher, states that “The Big Four Accounting Firms have developed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) frameworks that encompass community, environment, marketplace, and workplace issues for companies that desired to provide more comprehensive reports to their stakeholders” (14). Moreover, some organizations are now voluntarily producing CSR reports as it enhances their reputation, create consistent frameworks across global networks, reduce operating costs and etc. However, neither International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) nor US Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (GAAP) provides a framework for preparing corporate sustainability reports. Should a common set of principles, standards and procedures be set for green accounting, or is it the responsibilities of the accounts to influence companies into voluntarily integrate sustainability into every facet of the organizations?

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2 Responses to Role of Accountants on Sustainability

  1. arielyardeni says:

    I think that a common set of principles, standards, and procedures should be set for green accounting. The question stated at the end of the article is:
    Is it possible that full accountability will not be achieved in this movement until quantitative measures are created that permit organizations to assign relevant costs to the social and environmental components of the Sustainability Framework and the Integrated Reporting Model?

    I believe that if these standardized quantitive measures that are created so organizations can assign relevant costs to social and environmental components of their business, then businesses will finally be held fully accountable for their influence in either component. A common set of principles , standards, and procedures, established by a group with less bias, and not established by businesses themselves, will really be what makes green accounting hold businesses accountable for their actions. The idea of businesses voluntarily integrating sustainability into every facet of their organizations sounds ideal, and better than using a cookie cutter model, but not every business will comply or be fully honest in the way they report things.

  2. Eleni Efstathiadis says:

    The IFRS and GAAP most certainly should provide a framework for corporate sustainability reports. Companies need guidelines and rules to follow, to make sure reports are adequate. There is no wiggle room when there are set rules- the company either meets them or they don’t. It is much more black and white, and easier for a company to comply when everything is spelled out for them. Being realistic, every business will not honestly comply with integrating sustainability in all aspects of their organization. If certain components are not made mandatory, they will most likely not be a priority.

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