A new guide from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) recognises the vital role SMEs play in the value chains of all organisations globally. Entitled “Sustainability reporting – SME guide”, it supports them to create the sustainability-related information that regulators and stakeholders increasingly demand. 

Professional accountants are integral to helping SMEs when it comes to sustainability reporting and access to data. By enabling more transparent access to data, reporting is clear and SMEs are supported in accessing better business practices, opportunities and development.  

ACCA head of sustainable business and report co-author, Sharon Machado, commented: “The creation and use of sustainability-related information helps SMEs, their advisers and stakeholders to see and take advantage of their opportunities and manage their risks. This will put SMEs in a much stronger position financially – making it easier to attract investment and obtain preferential terms of trade with suppliers. In the battle for talent, it will help them recruit and retain high-calibre employees.”

As the demand for sustainability-related information increases, all organisations must be ready to provide information related to their approach and progress in managing sustainability-related risks and opportunities. This demand extends beyond the organisation to its value chain and comes from regulators, investors and many other stakeholders. SMEs are in scope because they comprise 90% of all organisations globally, and so are an essential part of the value chain. The enablers to better business that result from communicating and using sustainability-related information may help SMEs gain new competitive advantage. 

ACCA head of corporate reporting insights and report co-author, Aaron Saw, concluded: “Although SMEs may consider these demands challenging, especially at times of significant financial pressure, evidence suggests the effort is justified. Therefore, we encourage all SMEs to take small first steps and do what’s possible in communicating sustainability-related information with a view of becoming better businesses.”

The guide is the latest instalment in a series of sustainability reporting guides from ACCA.

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