Holistic measurements help business leaders to make better decisions in product development and innovation, Stephanie Hime, KPMG sustainability service manager, told The Accountant , on the back of the World Forum on Natural Capital, recently held in Edinburgh.
The "true value" of a product or programme can be discovered through natural or social capital accounting, but this atypical service must be considered in a truly professional context with the appropriate "caveats" in place, Hime warned.
"From a management accounting perspective, this is about looking at the environmental and social impacts associated with a particular decision", Hime explained.
"Questions such as "what’s the value to you" or "can you put a number on it" starts to enable firms to achieve a true sense of how much a given product, programme, or resource means", Hime said.
"Client’s sometimes want to alter their business model, so they ask for a different type of information to reach that goal."
But Hime warns that not all resources, whether they are inanimate or not, should be monetised: "Everyone assumes that by placing a monetary value on items its true value will be captured. There isn’t someone that can tell you the right value in every context, because values are different. "
Read the full Q&A with Stephanie Hime: The heuristics of social and natural accounting