The stance and initiatives of the Australian accounting profession on CSR

Discuss the stance and enterprises of the Australian accounting profession on corporate societal duty ( CSR ) and sustainability. Include your positions on the function of accounting and the professional comptrollers on CSR and sustainability.


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In the current concern universe sustainability plays a really of import function. ( Langfield-Smith, Thorne, & A ; Hilton, 2012 ) Sustainability is based on the definition given by the United States which is as follows:

“sustainable development implies run intoing the demands of the present without compromising the ability of future coevalss to run into their ain demands, should go a cardinal steering rule of the United Nations, Governments and private establishments, organisations and enterprises”( United Nations, 1987 ).

Organisation’s impact on the planet, people and the hereafter is one of the factors involved in the construct of the sustainability. ( ICAEW, 2004 ) All the concerns and societies are affected and besides the administrations are challenged by sustainability to believe in different ways and move more responsibly.

Accounting profession plays a greater function in back uping sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility ( CSR ) . Global Reporting Initiative ( GRI ) which is a non for net income administration has developed a construction that is widely discarded around the universe so that it can be measured and show a study on four cardinal countries ( Global Reporting Initiative, 2013 ) :

  1. Sustainable Economy ;
  2. Sustainable Environment ;
  3. Sustainable Society ; and
  4. Corporate Administration.

In the past 10 old ages, there has been increase in the consciousness about sustainability among the stakeholders in the concerns. However, accomplishing sustainability has to bear some environmental and societal costs. Often concerns face complications in finding the costs and benefits related with sustainability. Accountants have taken important stairss in accounting and describing procedure in order to work out societal and environmental issues.

Stance and Initiative of the Australian Accounting Profession on CSR and sustainability

The on-going committedness and consciousness of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia ( ICCA ) , CPA Australia and the Accounting profession in general has influenced and persuaded others to put importance on CSR and Sustainability.

The GRI was introduced to guarantee dwelling coverage and to offer planetary guidelines for the coverage of societal and environmental information. In Australia, GRI was developed in 2003 by Environment Australia to steer ternary bottom line. ( Adams & A ; Frost, 2007 ) Organisations are able to understand the bigger images sing sustainability and they are besides cognizant about the fact that the little alterations can travel long manner in assisting protect and prolong the environment for future coevalss. GRI is considered as the most successful effort boulder clay now for equilibrating the coverage of societal and environmental information worldwide. ( Adams & A ; Frost, 2007 ) In 2008, CPA Australia became the first professional organic structure to supply a sustainability study utilizing the GRI guidelines.

CPA Australia had issued on their web site, database of more than 160 companies throughout the universe that delivered the fiscal every bit good as sustainability studies. This databases were created in order to raise consciousness sing the issues of CSR and Sustainability and besides to supply a better cognition of the application of sustainability rules within Australia and besides worldwide. ( Barrett, 2005 ) The importance of this types of studies and the values that can set up the repute of administrations are shown by the CPA Australia by prosecuting in the sustainability rules.

ICCA has besides played indispensable function in increasing consciousness to issues of Sustainability. Administrations have switched to low degree C economic system utilizing C mechanism implemented by authorities. ( ICCA, 1972 ) Furthermore, induction by ICCA in ’20 Issues on constructing a sustainable business’ is the resource that is provided to the members to assist better the sustainability of administrations. ( ICCA, 2012 ) This resource goes through the stairss involved in implementing a sustainability program and suggests how to outdo implant these thoughts into an organisations’ concern scheme.

In add-on to the professional accounting associations, most international public accounting houses have besides now created a sustainability division to present accounting services to clients prosecuting to get down CSR coverage. For an case, Ernst and Young have established a Climate Change and Sustainability Services subdivision, and Price Waterhouse Coopers ( PWC ) lists a Sustainable Business Solutions squad as portion of client services. Another illustration could be for KPMG, as stated on their international web site, that they are committed to CSR, categorizing it into four chief classs – people, clients, communities and efficiency. KPMG specifically offer services in this country, and have a trademarked ‘Global Sustainability Services’ , which defines CSR as ‘incorporating environmental, societal, ethical and economic issues in the scheme development processes. ( Tilt, 2009 )

Role of Accounting and Accountants on CSR and Sustainability

Many newsmans believe that accounting related professional service houses are offered with significant chances and challenges by sustainability. Companies are presenting new methods and patterns in their fiscal statements as to print studies about chief activities and their consequence on economic and societal environment. Due to which all the stakeholders, providers and authorities organic structures have a better cognition of the companies are pull offing their capitals to get sustainable development.

Therefore, accounting and comptrollers develop tools and techniques such as Environmental Management Accounting ( EMA ) to accomplish its sustainable ends. ( IFAC, 2005 ) . EMA comprises life rhythm costing, environmental cost accounting, environmental public presentation steps, appraisal of environmental benefits and strategic planning for environmental direction. Financially-Oriented EMA and Physically-Oriented EMA are the two types of techniques used by EMA. Accountants play an of import portion in the effectual application of EMA systems. These accomplishments include mensurating, entering, monitoring and verifying fiscal information.

Besides, harmonizing to ICAEW, accounting profession helps the concern to pass on to internal and external stakeholders about their values of sustainable schemes and activities. It besides provides confidence to the clients that their sustainability activities are assessable and verifying. ( ICAEW, 2004 )

The major function of Accounting in CSR and Sustainability is advancing sustainable study which is a concern study that provides the information about the ternary underside line ( Social, Economic and Environmental factors ) . Administrations must guarantee a healthy system for sustainability direction and describing with respect to: Transparency, Traceability and Compliance.

Accountants have links with a broad scope of industry and economic activities to do certain that the direction accounting and coverage has an immediate impact on sustainability. ( Martin & A ; Steele, 2010 ) Furthermore, due to their right to utilize to organisation’s pecuniary information, they have the ability to progress and legalise the quality of such information and pattern their accomplishments in utilizing that information to assist do complete concern determination in countries such as investing assessment, budgeting and strategic planning.

Similarly, the function of the comptrollers can be categorized into three countries: fiscal comptroller, direction comptroller and hearer. But, there is a current position that the involvement of comptrollers is really extended due to the new degree of importance placed on CSR and Sustainability Accounting. Not merely this, the function of comptrollers is assisting to better societal justness and lending to societal and environmental benefits. ( Reynolds, 2007 ) . There is no denying the fact that Accountants are good equipped to play a strong function in explicating company policies, developing concern instances for action and pull offing the impacts of sustainability issues in an incorporate manner. This is likely to widen to placing ; mensurating and pull offing concern hazard and assisting companies navigate the new universe of increased transparence.

Hence, Sustainability presents some cardinal challenges and opportunities for comptrollers and Accounting. Accountants are considered drivers of alteration and hence, they need to prosecute more in issues of sustainability if they want to broaden their engagement and function in sustainability accounting. Sustainability requires an on-going procedure of larning which supports adaptative administration and leading for sustainability thought in administrations. ( Martin & A ; Steele, 2010 ) . Accountants will necessitate to prosecute in professional development and direct their acquisition and application to increasing their cognition and accomplishments in the countries of CSR and Sustainability.


Hence, Sustainability presents some cardinal challenges and chances for comptrollers and Accounting. Accounting has played of import function by developing tools and techniques such as EMA to back up the administrations in accomplishing sustainability aims. It has incorporated societal and environmental factors in the determination doing procedure of the administrations. Furthermore, one of the major accomplishments in sustainability coverage is the debut of incorporate coverage model. Therefore, accounting organic structures ever encourages the administrations to hold sustainability studies. Both CPA Australia and ICAA are working for advancing sustainability and supplying aid sing sustainability coverage.


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Barrett, P. ( 2005 ) . Sustainability Reporting – The Role of Auditors.Commonwealth Auditors-General Conference.New Zealand: Australian National Audit Office.

Global Reporting Initiative. ( 2013 ) .What is GRI?Retrieved September 15, 2013, from Global Reporting Initiative: hypertext transfer protocol: //

Henderson, S. , Peirson, G. , & A ; Herbohn, K. ( 2011 ) .Issues In Financial Accounting( 14th ed. ) . Frenchs Forest: Pearspm Australia.

ICAA. ( 2012, September 7 ) .Helping you Build a Sustainable Business.Retrieved May 12, 2013, from Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia: hypertext transfer protocol: //

ICAEW. ( 2004, October ) .Sustainability: The Role of Accountants.Retrieved September 2013, from ICAEW: hypertext transfer protocol: // for better markets/IFBM/sustainability.pdf


IIRC. ( 2011 ) .Integrated Reporting.Retrieved September 2013, from Integrated Reporting & lt ; IR & gt ; : hypertext transfer protocol: //

Langfield-Smith, K. , Thorne, H. , & A ; Hilton, R. ( 2012 ) .Management Accounting: Information for making and pull offing value.Sydney: McGraw Hill.

Martin, A. , & A ; Steele, F. ( 2010 ) .Sustainability in Cardinal Professions: Accounting.Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability for the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Humanistic disciplines.

Reynolds, M. ( 2007 ) .Accounting, Communication, Social Reponsibility and Justice – A short Essay on Complexity.

United Nations. ( 1987, December 11 ) .Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development.Retrieved September 11, 2013, from UN Documents: hypertext transfer protocol: //

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