The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has announced that it has agreed to participate in a forum hosted by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on "Accounting for Sustainability: Decision-Making and Reporting in a Resource-Constrained World." The forum will be held December 17th in London at the Royal Family residence at St. James's Palace.
The Prince of Wales established Accounting for Sustainability in 2004 to research and develop systems that will help public and private sector organizations account more accurately for the wider social and environmental costs of their activities. Accounting for sustainability seeks to connect these costs with businesses' strategy and financial performance.
"The global accounting profession is an essential voice on the issue of business and sustainability," said Barry Melancon, AICPA president and CEO, who will attend the forum. "Ultimately, any integration of sustainability into businesses' operations will have an impact on the bottom line and communications to stakeholders."
Bob Laux, Microsoft Corp. senior director of financial accounting and reporting and a member of the AICPA's board of directors, is participating in the Prince's forum along with 200 other professionals representing the accounting profession, global corporations, investors, the public sector, academia, and NGOs. AICPA has been working for the past year on accounting for sustainability with Miami University professors Brian Ballou, Ph.D., and Dan Heitger, Ph.D., co-directors of the Center for Business Excellence at Miami University, who will represent the AICPA. All three will participate in a panel discussion titled "Connected reporting – a mechanism for change." Their presentation will explore the U.S. perspective on:
- How can connected reporting that links strategy and financial and sustainability performance be developed that will change behavior and decision-making?
- How can organizations overcome the barriers that hinder them from effectively implementing a connected reporting approach that aligns sustainability initiatives to strategy?
- What influence can connected sustainability reporting have on investors' decision-making and to what extent will regulatory enforcement be required to drive change?
"It's critical that we understand how sustainability intersects with strategy and financial reporting," said Laux. "We have to look at the way we do business reporting and look beyond the short-term. When you consider long-term strategy, sustainability fits well, because it's a long-term issue."