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Accountants delivering a better future

The sustainability of our planet is the most urgent challenge humanity is facing, but the solution is clear: we must change the way we live and do business.

Markets drive both positive and negative change. On the plus side, labour conditions and wellbeing are improving in many parts of the world. On the minus side, natural resources are being depleted and income inequality is growing. As the most powerful driver of change, markets are also the path to sustainability.

Accountancy can make a difference. Measuring, disclosing and certifying have been the core business of accountants for centuries. Many factors are necessary to achieve sustainable finance, and corporate reporting is one. Financial performance alone is no longer enough to determine if a company will survive in the long run. Professional accountants can help companies integrate non-financial and financial information to address the needs of investors and other stakeholders based on long-term performance.

Creating a business landscape that keeps SMEs thriving supports a strong European economy. In 2017, SMEs accounted for 99.8% of all non-financial companies. They are vital for economic wealth, innovation, job creation and social inclusion in the EU. However, in the sustainability debate – as in many others – SMEs are often left behind.

Professional accountants are the trusted advisors of SMEs. They provide direct advice tailored to the specific needs of SMEs, which help them survive the first crucial years and gain a foothold as viable businesses. Professional accountants are the SME business enablers. Accountancy Europe shares best practices and raises awareness of the accountant’s role in supporting SMEs. We also help shape a better EU regulatory environment for SMEs and their sustainable growth.

For decades, people have complained that taxation is a burden, but taxes are fundamental to our society. They support many of the institutions that make our lives better. Those benefits need to be made more transparent, and it is high time that we made our tax systems suitable for a world of technological disruption, environmental degradation and social unrest.

Professional accountants facilitate compliance with tax laws and, unlike any other profession, they do so abiding by a global code of ethics. Their expertise and field experience contribute to the establishment of tax systems that enable environmental sustainability and social cohesion. Our planet is burning. We need to act now to mitigate the damage. Professional accountants are ready to take up the challenge and help bring a more sustainable future.

By Olivier Boutellis-Taft, CEO, Accountancy Europe

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