The accounting profession has always known when it needs to support clients and employers by expanding its knowledge and services into new areas. Time and again, we’ve proven our flexibility, adaptability, and forward-looking approach to business problems. You need only look to our recent performance during the pandemic and, preceding that, the wise path that many firms took on digital transformation and embrace of the cloud.
We’re at another inflection point now, this time with the rapid evolution of business reporting and how investors, lenders, and the public perceive enterprise value. The marketplace – and increasingly, regulators-- are demanding organizational information on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics that’s consistent, comparable, and credible. No profession is better suited than ours to fill that need, whether it’s reporting, advisory services, or assurance.
To hold up our end of the bargain, though, we need to commit to broad upskilling on ESG matters. AICPA & CIMA have made it one of our highest priorities to provide tools and resources for this category. Recent offerings include:
A Fundamentals of ESG Certificate program, launched last week, that gives accounting and finance professionals foundational knowledge in this area. It’s the first step in a learning journey we’ll be building out for accounting and finance professionals.
A free, CPE-eligible Nov. 15 webcast on sustainability disclosure priorities for 2023.
The AICPA & CIMA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments, to be held Dec. 12-14 in Washington, D.C., with panels on ESG-related topics, including one I’ll lead.
Much more is in the works. I urge you to keep current at aicpa.org/esg.
One closing thought: ESG is, of course, not just a business opportunity. It’s a facet of the public interest work we do, providing an independent review of critical business information to build trust. We know younger workers are looking for more purpose-driven careers. A pulse survey we conducted last month found that 41% of university students were at least somewhat more interested in a career in accounting because of ESG concepts, so it’s good from both a perception and pipeline standpoint. In other words, ESG represents a win on many levels for the profession – and it’s our space to own.