Can an Accountant Be a Sustainability Advisor?
July 29, 2022
Climate change is the world’s hottest topic these days. As heat waves break temperature records across the globe, responsible industries are doing their part to lower carbon emissions. While the accounting industry isn’t exactly a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, accountants are in a unique position to help small businesses embrace sustainability.
Most small businesses are interested in improving their sustainability, but simply don’t know where to start. Accountants who provide client advisory services (CAS) can help by reviewing the company’s policies, practices, spending and workflow, to reduce waste and improve sustainability.
Here’s an overview of how you can streamline your own accounting practices and create sustainable, scalable solutions.
What is sustainability for businesses?
“Sustainability” is a popular buzzword, as our climate crisis worsens—but what does it really mean?
The term refers to the ability to maintain something continuously, at the same rate, over time. Ecologically, it means avoiding depleting the earth’s natural resources, to maintain balance.
Sustainability for businesses “emphasize[s] the future effect of any given policy or business practice on humans, ecosystems, and the wider economy.” We already know that the way we’re running our industries is causing severe harm to the climate and overall environment. In turn, business owners (including accountants) are in the best position to make lasting change.
The concept of sustainability is broken down into three main areas: economic, environmental and social sustainability—also known as the Triple Bottom Line: profits, planet and people. A company moving toward sustainability should consider their impact on the environment, as well as their impact on society. The goal is to ensure the business can continue operating profitably, while having a net positive impact on either or both the environment and society.
While it may not be possible for every company to do both 100 percent of the time, every business can make sustainable, scalable changes. For instance, lowering energy use, reducing physical waste and cutting emissions all help improve sustainability. Businesses may consider setting specific sustainability goals to guide their company’s practices and future decisions.
What does accounting have to do with sustainability?
Accountants can act as sustainability advisors for their small business clients. As an accountant, you already conduct profitability analyses to identify waste and unnecessary spending. This data can be used to enhance or jumpstart a client’s sustainability practice.
One major problem with business sustainability measures is a lack of input from the finance department. Companies typically create sustainability policies from the top down: owners, CEOs and partners set goals that may not be realistic for the individual business. This can lead to policies that sound great, but ultimately will not achieve their goals.
Accountants are in the perfect position to provide sustainability CAS. An accountant understands how the company works as a whole, and has access to its finances. This allows them to analyze the cash flow to find out where they can reduce spending and waste. For instance, operating remotely and digitizing paper-intensive processes cuts out unnecessary spending—and ultimately helps the business become more sustainable.
Benefits of promoting sustainability CAS
Promoting sustainability CAS adds significant value to your practice. First, it demonstrates your commitment to sustainable practices: as you implement sustainable accounting tools at your own firm, you’ll cut down on your own waste and emissions.
Second, you’ll add value for your clients. As an accountant, you can offer sought-after services like sustainability audits, public transportation policy support, fleet transition assessments and supply chain reviews. Your data collection and auditing skills can be instrumental in helping companies apply for certifications and implement better policies, all while saving them money.
How Veem can help accountants
You may already know that Veem helps small businesses improve their cash flow, just by simplifying the payment process. With real-time payment tracking and affordable and flexible payment options, Veem offers easy small business payment solutions.
Veem saves companies time and waste, thanks to the easy-to-use digital interface. Best of all, our payment tools seamlessly integrate with accounting software. This makes it faster and easier to digitally track your payments and offer flexible, paperless payment options.
We’re especially proud to integrate with companies like Xero. Xero offers cloud accounting software and management tools, with a focus on sustainability, respecting the planet and supporting communities. Veem is a partner in that movement: our tools help move accounting practices and other small businesses to a sustainable, scalable workflow. When you integrate Veem and Xero, you’ll get a two-way sync for easy reconciliation—and it’s all paperless.
Get started with Veem today
Move your traditional payment workflows to a sustainable and scalable solution: Veem! Book a demo to learn more about how Veem can support your practice as you find ways to grow more sustainable.