By David York, head of auditing practice, ACCA
An authoritative global survey of the views of smaller accountancy practices was published in March 2015 by the International Federation of Accountants. The survey concluded that the biggest challenge faced by firms was attracting new clients and half of those surveyed said they were concerned about differentiating their firm from the competition.
One UK firm that has cracked this problem is Green Accountancy. If you call yourselves Green Accountancy the differentiation from competitors is about as obvious as it can get. But what lies behind this is an innovative service that any firm can add to its own service lines to give an edge in attracting new clients. In this case, clients that benefit from it may also get a ‘green advantage’ with their own customers.
ACCA has worked with Green Accountancy to promote this service. We issued detailed guidance in the form of Technical Factsheet 190, which is available as a free download on the ACCA website and crucially it is issued copyright free, to encourage firms, other accountancy bodies, or indeed anyone, to tailor it to their own needs: translate it, change UK to local figures, or include it in their own materials. The service is all about helping smaller businesses measure and reduce their main environmental impacts, so the more accountants that get involved in this the better. To quote ACCA Past President, Brendan Murtagh: ‘ACCA believes that our members’ accounting and financial reporting skills have a key role to play in the transition to, and management of, the low carbon economy. By providing additional green accounting skills . . . professional accountants will have a pivotal position measuring and managing carbon emissions.’
Recently we have released a video to introduce the service in detail and have put a transcript and the slide deck online. There are also short articles that provide an overview: on the IFAC Global Knowledge Gateway as well as elsewhere on ACCA’s website.
The guidance was initially issued as ‘interim guidance’ because we wanted to improve it by responding to feedback from users. It is now (June 2015) due to be updated for 2015 year-end reporting and so, in addition to a feedback request in the factsheet itself (many thanks to those who have already provided their views) we have launched an online survey. The survey is not just for those who have introduced this service; anyone who has read the Factsheet can comment. Please do so.