The future of sustainability and accounting

Everywhere you look people are talking about sustainability, Net Zero, reducing carbon emissions and being ‘eco’ or ‘green’. It’s no secret that we all play our part in creating a lasting future for everyone on our planet. As many have said – there is no Planet B.

What is sustainability?

‘Sustainability revolves around the idea that, as the human population and demand for food and finite natural resources grow, in order to ensure our own survival and that of future generations, we need to recognise and adapt our behaviours so their impact on our natural environment is minimised,’

Elaine Conway, senior lecturer in accounting and finance at the University of Derby.

What’s this got to do with small businesses?

Did you know…

“Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) make up over 90% of businesses in most OECD countries and are estimated to employ two billion people worldwide”.

SME Climate Hub

Therefore, it’ll come as no surprise when we say, small business owners can have a huge impact on the World and all those who inhabit it (people and animals included).

Sustainability isn’t just better for the planet though, it’s better for people and better for businesses. Companies who don’t consider the future of their industry will be at risk of becoming obsolete. Business owners need to start thinking about how the World’s climate agenda will affect their business long-term. We all have this great opportunity to review, adapt, change and grow to create long-lasting, planet conscious businesses we can be proud of.

Increasingly, organisations are collating and publishing sustainability data alongside their accounts. This can cover a huge range of topics from information about their suppliers to their energy consumption, waste management to carbon footprints and more.

At the moment, there’s no legal requirement for this data to be collected, let alone published. However, that’s likely to change in the future and it won’t just be large organisations that are expected to get involved. No doubt small businesses will also need to play their part.

What’s accounting got to do with sustainability?

It’s inevitable really that there will come a stage where businesses, large and small, will be required to collect data about more than just how much money they make and spend. At that point we think it’s likely that accountants will play a key role in how that works.

Accountants like us are already used to collecting, interpreting, managing and filing a vast amount of data for clients. We produce numerous reports for business owners including those which enable them to make decisions about their business.

We’re also submit legally required information and documentation to government bodies on the regular. Therefore, should there become a requirement for climate related information to be submitted, we think we’d be pretty good at it.

Traditionally, accountants would just run the numbers once they’d happened but times have changed. We’ve become vital allies to business owners, providing them with the detail they need to manage the potential of their business.

We don’t just crunch the numbers, we predict them, we manage them and we support our clients to make important decisions that affect the future of their business and everyone in it.

That’s why we believe accountants will play a key role in the sustainability agenda in the coming years.

Want to talk about this more?

Maybe this has got your cogs turning and you’d like to chat about it over a coffee? Drop us a message and we’ll be more than happy to oblige…

Share this post