Accountancy and finance professionals are at the forefront of the transition to a sustainable future according to the latest research by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). Finance professionals from around the world shared their views, resulting in our new report Accounting for Society’s Values.

Organisations need to transition to a sustainable future that embraces the economic, environmental and social aspects in combination. Society faces long-term challenges from social injustice, with stakeholders and regulators increasingly focusing on the social implications of the actions of organisations. That’s why defining and measuring the return to society by an organisation’s activities is becoming as important as the financial objectives themselves. 

The accountancy and finance profession needs to see this as an opportunity to define its future role and put the social agenda at the core of the profession. 

Three key messages from this report: 

1. The profession’s future embraces sustainability through social equity and protecting the environment. 

2. Measuring the social agenda is difficult, but we must act. 

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3. There is a strong business imperative to embed this agenda into strategy now. 

Commenting on this, ACCA chief executive, Helen Brand, said: “The social agenda is a broad one and requires organisations to act now. Without the valued and proactive input of the accountancy and finance profession, the goal of reaching sustainability for all organisations will be unattainable. The profession has an opportunity to play its full part in enabling the just transition, not least the social aspect – one that it cannot afford to shirk.” 

ACCA report author and senior insights manager, Clive Webb, added: “Whilst the emphasis for many organisations may have become focused on the environmental aspects of a just transition it is important to ensure that nobody is left behind. The social agenda is a vital element of the transition and whilst it may present challenges in readily measuring progress this cannot be an excuse for a lack of action. Accountancy and finance professionals need to be at the forefront on ensuring that their organisations measure and report performance in this area if we are to be a just society.”