Global accountancy bodies come together for net zero

Thirteen professional accountancy bodies from around the world - including AAT, ACCA, ICAEW, ICAS, and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants - have joined forces to fight climate change by committing to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The accountancy bodies are part of The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) Accounting Bodies Network. This network represents more than 2.5 million professional accountants and students, who work with businesses and governments in 179 countries.[1]

The bodies have committed to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible and will publish plans to do so within the next 12 months and report annually to show progress.[2]

Accountants are well placed within their organisations and with their clients to drive action on the climate crisis. The bodies have therefore also committed to provide their members with training, support, and resources to help them create their own net zero plans and reduce their emissions.

In addition, the bodies have pledged to provide advice to help governments create the policies and infrastructure necessary for transitions to net zero economies. The profession is already at the forefront of helping societies adapt by using accounting practices to help governments adjust economic policy in ways that minimise climate change.

Heather Hill, AAT President, said: 'Following the 2020 call to action by the professional accounting bodies, AAT is pleased to support this statement of commitment to net zero. Climate change is an existential crisis and every one of us, as individuals and organisations, has a part to play in driving the effort to achieve net zero. At AAT we will continue our organisational activity to improve our carbon footprint, but to also help equip our members to engage in this crucial collective effort, and to bring our influence to bear on the government where appropriate.'

Helen Brand OBE, ACCA Chief Executive, said: 'Making these commitments is important to create positive business change – and professional accountants are core to this. They are in a unique position to drive good business decisions with positive impacts on sustainability, including on climate action, in the organisations they lead and work for. ACCA is proud to support these commitments and play our part.'

Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive, said: 'The fight against climate change requires urgent global action, so we were pleased to join our fellow bodies from around the world to confirm our commitment to a zero-carbon society.

'We were the first major professional body to become carbon neutral and have brought in measures to help us reach net zero, such as setting up carbon-reducing projects. We will continue to look for ways to minimise our carbon footprint, guide our members on their own net zero journeys and support global action.'

J Bruce Cartwright CA, ICAS Chief Executive, said: 'ICAS is proud to be a signatory to the Accounting Bodies Network commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions and to commit to provide training, support and resources to help our members establish their own net zero pathways based on our experience. The accountancy profession can be a key enabler in the transition to a net zero economy. I believe that if we pool our collective efforts and resources we can achieve our climate change ambitions and make the creation of a healthy and sustainable planet a reality for future generations.'

Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, CEO at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing AICPA & CIMA, said: 'Over the past decade, we have been witnessing the direct and indirect impact of environmental-related risks on our communities. It is now abundantly clear that to address these risks and achieve climate-goal ambitions, we must work together and lead the accounting profession by example. Public and management accountants have an important role to play improving an organisation’s integrated thinking and decision-making capabilities to promote responsible and sustainable business practices. They have the necessary skills and expertise to help effect meaningful change in this area. As an organisation, we are fully committed to doing our part and will continue to help our members, their organisations and their clients across the globe support with this mission.'

ENDS

1.    The accountancy bodies that have signed up to the commitment are: AAT, ACCA, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Chartered Accountants Ireland, Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori commecialisti e degli Esperti Contabili, CPA Australia, CPA Canada, ICAEW, ICAS, Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland e.V. (IDW), Regnskap Norge, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (JICPA).

2.    The commitment is available to view at: www.accountingforsustainability.org/abn-net-zero-commitment

About AAT: AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) is the UK’s leading qualification and professional body for technical accountants and bookkeepers, and has around 125,000 members and students in over 100 countries. We have been helping people enter and develop their skills within the accounting sector for the past 40 years.

We offer a range of qualifications that are open to all regardless of previous education or age, such as the AAT Accounting Qualifications that provide a non-degree route into chartered accountancy, and the AAT Bookkeeping Qualifications that can support business growth through accurate and up-to-date financial records. Students encompass a wide range from school and college leavers, to older people hoping to change their career or learn the skills to run their own business.

An AAT Accountant is a qualified accounting professional with the practical and technical skills needed to support businesses with their accounting activities. Typical job roles of an AAT Accountant include: Financial Accountant, Commercial Analyst, Senior Finance Officer, Payroll Manager, VAT Accountant and Tax Supervisor. An AAT Accountant in the UK can sign off the accounts for small companies that meet two out of three of the criteria of turnover less than £10.2 million, total assets less than £5.1 million and less than 50 employees. Currently over half a million businesses trust AAT Accountants and AAT Bookkeepers to service their accounting requirements.

AAT awards around 80% of all technical qualifications in accounting in the UK, and generous exemptions are provided by many of the senior UK bodies including ACCA, CIPFA, ICAEW, CIMA and ICAS. As part of our ongoing commitment to service excellence, we're proud to be a member of the Institute of Customer Service, the independent professional body for customer service.

AAT's qualifications are internationally respected. AAT works hard to raise the profile of accounting technicians worldwide and their role in building stronger economies. Globally, in select economies, AAT plays a role in establishing, maintaining and raising professional standards of accountancy practice. See our international page for more information about options for international students.

About ACCA: ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global professional body for professional accountants. We’re a thriving global community of 233,000 members and 536,000 future members based in 178 countries and regions, who work across a wide range of sectors and industries. We uphold the highest professional and ethical values. We offer everyone everywhere the opportunity to experience a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. Our qualifications and learning opportunities develop strategic business leaders, forward-thinking professionals with the financial, business and digital expertise essential for the creation of sustainable organisations and flourishing societies.

Since 1904, being a force for public good has been embedded in our purpose. In December 2020, we made commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals which we are measuring and will report on in our annual integrated report. We believe that accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society and is vital helping economies, organisations and individuals to grow and prosper. It does this by creating robust trusted financial and business management, combating corruption, ensuring organisations are managed ethically, driving sustainability, and providing rewarding career opportunities. And through our cutting-edge research, we lead the profession by answering today’s questions and preparing for the future. We’re a not-for-profit organisation. accaglobal.com

About ICAEW: There are more than 1.8m chartered accountants and students around the world and 186,500 of them are members and students of ICAEW. They are talented, ethical and committed professionals, which is why all of the top 100 Global Brands employ chartered accountants.*

ICAEW promotes inclusivity, diversity and fairness. We attract talented individuals into the profession and give them the skills and values they need to build resilient businesses, economies and societies, while ensuring our planet’s resources are managed sustainably.

Founded in 1880, we have a long history of serving the public interest and we continue to work with governments, regulators and business leaders around the world. And, as an improvement regulator, we supervise and monitor over 12,000 firms, holding them, and all ICAEW members and students, to the highest standards of professional competency and conduct.

ICAEW is proud to be part of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, a global network of 750,000 members across 190 countries, which promotes the expertise and skills of chartered accountants on a global basis.

We believe that chartered accountancy can be a force for positive change. By sharing our insight, expertise and understanding we can help to create strong economies and a sustainable future for all.

*Source: CAW, 2020 – Interbrand, Best Global Brands 2019

About ICAS: ICAS is a professional body for more than 22,000 world class business men and women who work in the UK and in more than 100 countries around the world. Members have all achieved the internationally recognised and respected CA qualification (Chartered Accountant). ICAS is an educator, examiner, regulator and thought leader. Almost two thirds of ICAS' working membership are in business; many leading some of the UK's and the world's great companies. The others work in accountancy practices ranging from the Big Four in The City to the small practitioner in rural areas.

ICAS was the first accountancy institute in the world to sign up to HRH The Prince of Wales’ ‘Terra Carta’ – a charter that aims to put sustainability at the heart of the private sector. The Terra Carta, which forms part of HRH’s Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) and launched in January 2021, provides a roadmap to 2030 for businesses to build a sustainable future.

About the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, and AICPA & CIMA:  The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants® (the Association), representing AICPA® & CIMA®, advances the global accounting and finance profession through its work on behalf of 696,000 AICPA and CIMA members, students and engaged professionals in 192 countries and territories. Together, we are the worldwide leader on public and management accounting issues through advocacy, support for the CPA license, the CGMA designation and specialised credentials, professional development and thought leadership. We build trust by empowering our members and engaged professionals with the knowledge and opportunities to be leaders in broadening prosperity for a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient future.

The American Institute of CPAs® (AICPA), the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, not-for-profit organisations, and federal, state and local governments. It also develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination and builds the pipeline of future talent for the public accounting profession.

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants® (CIMA) is the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants. CIMA works closely with employers and sponsors leading-edge research, constantly updating its professional qualification and professional experience requirements to ensure it remains the employer’s choice when recruiting financially trained business leaders.

About The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S): Our aim is to make sustainable business, business as usual.

HRH The Prince of Wales established A4S in 2004 to work with the finance and accounting community to:

·         Inspire finance leaders to adopt sustainable and resilient business models

·         Transform financial decision making to reflect the opportunities and risks posed by the climate crisis and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues

·         Scale up action to transition to a sustainable economy.

A4S has three global networks:

·         Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Leadership Network - CFOs from leading organizations seeking to transform finance and accounting

·         Accounting Bodies Network (ABN) - members comprise approximately two thirds of the world’s accountants

·         Asset Owners Network - Pension Fund Chairs who integrate sustainability into investment decision making

"Making these commitments is important to create positive business change – and professional accountants are core to this. They are in a unique position to drive good business decisions with positive impacts on sustainability, including on climate action, in the organisations they lead and work for. ACCA is proud to support these commitments and play our part."

Helen Brand OBE, chief executive - ACCA