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How Accountants can Drive Sustainability

Business Sustainability

There’s a lot going on in the world of sustainability. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng recently called on every small business in the UK to take small, practical steps to cut their emissions and improve business sustainability as part of the UK’s journey to net-zero by 2050. This plea also comes as the UN Climate Summit COP26 in Glasgow looms, with the set November date just around the corner.

There’s been a whole lot of advice circulating of late from installing energy-saving light bulbs and switching to electric vehicles to looking at environment-friendly packaging options and introducing cycle to work schemes for employees. But with so much to do on a daily basis, many companies are turning to accountants for practical help and advice.

So with this in mind, how can accountants drive sustainability?

Long-Term Financial Planning

Accountants can assist with the short and long-term financial planning of a business, helping managers to make the best decisions possible for their business. With decisions around sustainability becoming increasingly important, accountants can work out the cost of each environmentally-friendly move, whether it’s creating a digital-only workspace, switching to local suppliers or transitioning to remote working. This can all be reported professionally, helping to entice investors looking to make futureproof decisions.

Let’s look at things logically. If a company needs to expand their vehicle fleet, would it be financially beneficial to invest in electric vehicles with a potentially long and efficient lifespan or to try and cut corners with a selection of pre-owned runners? An accountant can look at the business outgoings of each situation and calculate the best move, not only for a company’s long-term bank-balance but for their ongoing environmental commitment.

Factor in Time for Topics Like Climate Change

Running a business takes time and energy. You might not have a minute to factor in topics such as climate change into your business day – but an accountant can. Climate change is a real issue. We’re experiencing stranger weather patterns such as extreme heat waves as well as natural disasters such as forest fires which are causing devastation globally. Climate change could therefore impact your business. For example production facilities or supply chains might be impacted by floods or other severe weather events. Similarly, the cost of insurance might rise to make a business unprofitable. Hiring a professional accountant is a great way to protect your business from any previously unforeseeable issues. Being proactive is better than being reactive after all.

Identify Transition Risks

The government has its eye firmly on the environmental impact of businesses. Therefore it’s likely that new rules will come into force that drive sustainability and it’s important to identify any transition risks. For example, will current products, services or systems still be viable, or will they look significantly different in the future? Could the government bring about fines or additional charges for businesses that don’t meet certain eco-friendly criteria? Looking to the future is a must, as is budgeting so that you’re ready for any situation down the line – and that is where the expertise of an accountant can help.

When it comes to issues of sustainability, it’s unwise to struggle alone. Seek professional assistance and make your business both futureproof and better for the environment.