STAKEHOLDER SURVEY: THE INTEGRATION OF SUSTAINABILITY IN THE EDUCATION JOURNEY OF THE PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANT

Why are we asking you to respond to the survey?

This survey is part of a project of the Accounting Bodies Network (ABN) of The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S). The purpose of this survey is to gather and analyse perspectives of where sustainability is currently present in the lifelong learning of the professional accountant and where the gaps are.

The project is structured in two halves. The first will give us a sense of where the profession is now. The second part is a forward looking exercise to build a vision of the skills, knowledge and experience the professional accountant will need in the future.

This survey is designed to gain the opinions of our stakeholders at every stage of the education of the professional accountant’s career span to identify and evaluate where sustainability is integrated currently. It does not seek to gain your views on what you think should be integrated. 

The second part of the project will be a series of workshops designed to build a vision of what the role of the professional accountant could be in 2030, the year we aim to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What is our position on the integration of sustainability?

As we are asking for your opinion, it seems only fair that we declare our interest and position.  As members of the ABN we have signed up to five principles on sustainability. These principles have formed a centre of gravity for our own separate work streams. 

  1. Influence and inform
    To promote accounting for sustainability and the benefits of “integrated reporting” (reporting that connects an organization’s sustainability with its financial performance more clearly, concisely and consistently)
  2. Lead by example
    To embed accounting for sustainability within our own organizations’ strategy and operations
  3. Drive thought leadership
    To increase understanding of good sustainability practices by commissioning and/or participating in work related to accounting for sustainability
  4. Collaborate through the International Network
    To share learning and experience with the International Network and to work together to advance better accounting for sustainability

Incorporate accounting for sustainability within training and professional education
To incorporate accounting for sustainability in training programmes for employees, suppliers, students, members and others, in professional and academic qualifications and in professional development requirements

These principles make clear that we think the professional accountant has a crucial and central role to play in integrating sustainability into organisations’ main stream decision-making, strategy, investing and operations. Therefore, we believe that sustainability should be integrated into the training of the professional accountant.

By “integrated” in the pre-qualification and qualification phases of education – we mean that sustainability is incorporated into the syllabi and tested in some way, e.g. exams, essays, projects. For post-qualification, “integrated” means incorporated into the post qualification expectations set by the professional accountancy body through CPD/CPE. We recognise that this won’t necessarily be tested.

What do ‘we’ mean by sustainability?

For the purpose of analysing this survey, ‘sustainability’ is defined by the vision of the world to  achieve the 17 UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs). This vision is of a world of prosperous, inclusive and resilient economies, based on fair and just societies, delivered within what nature can afford and underpinned by good governance and strong partnerships.

How can you help?

Please let us know what you think. We would like to hear stories about your experiences, from your own perspective; we value your insights and so we have included optional comment boxes if you would like to tell us more.

To complete the survey, please click here.

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