CPA Australia hopes environmental and
sustainability reporting could help attract more young people to
the accounting profession, providing one solution to the ongoing
skills shortage

The institute’s president, Alex Malley, said current
environmental issues provide a “great chance to bring some very
different thinkers to the table”.

“I think sometimes the accounting profession needs to talk about
things more broadly, it’s traditionally been a repressed profession
and I think we have got an opportunity to open the windows and
bring some change,” he told The Accountant. “Environmental
reporting and sustainability opens the door to the profession to a
whole new way of thinking. It may well encourage kids who have
never thought about accounting,” he suggested. “We have the skills
shortage and I think we need to tap different talents.”

Malley said the growing sustainability reporting phenomenon
presents a huge opportunity. “You can’t leave environmental
reporting and sustainability in the political arena only, you need
some credibility in how you are going to measure it, how you are
going to capture the information,” he said. “But you need some
imagination on who you are bringing to the table on this; you need
to change the perception of the profession to a broader
market.”

The Australian government plans to implement an emissions
trading scheme by 2010 and the government’s Financial Reporting
Council discussed the critical need for developing a compatible
accounting standard at its June meeting. The council determined
that an international standard on emissions trading would not be
ready in time for the beginning of Australia’s emissions trading
scheme and decided Australia should move ahead with developing a
standard.

It was decided that the Australian Accounting Standards Board,
in consultation with the Treasury, will develop a paper canvassing
alternative options for the standard in the Australian context.