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December 4, 2015

Stephanie Hime on natural and social accounting

By Franchesca Hashemi

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

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