Prince Charles asks for help from U.S. accountants

The Prince of Wales has called on the U.S. CPA profession to take a leading role in helping develop the tools and information necessary for companies to embed sustainability issues effectively in their day-to-day operations and decision-making and to report sustainability performance in a more clear, concise and connected way.

"We have to ensure that we are not battling to meet 21st century challenges with, at best, 20th century valuation, decision-making and reporting systems,"  Prince Charles said in a 10-minute videotaped address to the governing Council of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which gathered in Las Vegas for its fall meeting.  "It is the accountant's role and responsibility to show that acting for the long term, and in the best interests of communities and the environment, is also the right financial approach and not just an expensive luxury to be discarded rapidly in times of economic downturn.

"Who better to take the lead and set an example than the accountancy profession which is, in so many respects, the engine room of the corporate world, and indeed, government?"

The Prince of Wales acknowledged the AICPA's membership in his Accounting for Sustainability Project, saying it is one of the 16 accounting bodies around the world to "recognize formally that sustainability is an issue of global concern and to commit to the principles developed by my project." In connection with his message to Council, the AICPA announced the launch of its own effort to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability among the U.S. accounting profession.
AICPA leadership will attend The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Forum in the United Kingdom in December.  Institute leaders, including President and CEO Barry Melancon, attended last December's Forum at St. James's Palace in London.

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