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May 21, 2013

Editor’s comment: Being responsible

Thank you for the encouraging words Fred. I’m looking forward to the new challenge and engaging more closely with the Advisory Board in helping identify the key issues among networks and associations.

Increasingly financial institutions and business are being told to be more "responsible", not only towards their shareholders, but towards the general public and the taxpayer. High-risk taking and purely profit-driven actions have been frowned upon since the financial crisis and, as public opinion shifts, being accountable and transparent is increasingly important. But how about the long-term responsibility of a business?

The IAB and its sister publication The Accountant conducted a sustainability survey among accounting firms and professional bodies, looking at the role of the profession in steering businesses towards sustainability and CSR reporting. Many say clients still consider such activities a "luxury", and with very few quick financial gains of such actions, clients are not prioritising CSR activities.While the role of the accountant is primarily financial, there is a shift in the profession’s role towards CSR.

CSR reporting is being placed on accounting training curriculums, firms are looking to grow their sustainability service offering, and initiatives such as integrated reporting are being pushed by global bodies such as the International Integrated Reporting Council. Whether this change is happening fast enough is a valid question; however, in the past five years we’ve seen some major changes in the push to make financial institutions and business more responsible and the profession might need to brace itself for greater demand for CSR as the corporate landscape is increasingly susceptible to change. The full survey report here.

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