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Small business ‘should bite the sustainability bullet’

Business

Embrace the opportunity to get involved and add it as a service, says CA ANZ reporting and assurance leader.

By Philip King 10 minute read

Small business should embrace sustainability and it represents an opportunity for accounting firms to expand their range of services, according to CA ANZ reporting and assurance leader Amir Ghandar.

Speaking on a special Accountants Daily podcast to mark Auditor Proud Day this week — which this year has sustainability as its theme — Mr Ghandar said assuring environmental claims would be a central theme for the future.

For those small businesses wondering how to get started, CA ANZ had put together a brief playbook, he said.

“It’s aimed at the smaller and medium firms, and we’ve tried to lay out some really practical steps as to how they can start thinking about and then upskilling and actually bringing this in as one of their services,” Mr Ghandar said.

“If you’re new to this conversation, the guide provides some practical steps.”

One advantage of getting involved was the appeal of sustainability issues to the younger generation, who were looking for meaning in their work.

“So the first step is to make someone in your firm accountable for investigating, educating the firm and themselves on the opportunities and the conversation here,” Mr Ghandar said.

“This is a great opportunity for someone in the firm, perhaps mid-career or even early career, to have something that they can really get their teeth into.

“What I’m talking about here is really just being accountable in the firm for making sure that this conversation is on the agenda and actually getting out there and talking to people.”

Many practices would be surprised how quickly the topic had become current.

“Step two is having gained that knowledge, speak to your clients and find out what they think about this. You might be surprised by how much they are thinking about it,” Mr Ghandar said.

“A lot of people think that sustainability is for the very big end of town, but more and more there is the need for medium-sized and even smaller businesses to have sustainability credentials.

“You see the local café with the sign on the door that says. ‘We are carbon neutral’. How do you provide some credibility around that?”

He said even family-run businesses or start-ups could very quickly scale or become part of a supply chain for larger businesses that were already focused on sustainability reporting, so it was never too soon to bite the bullet.

“The next three steps are around just assessing what the capabilities are within your firm, looking at how you might upskill but then also thinking about partnerships with other firms that you work with,” Mr Ghandar said.

“Those key stages where, you know, you would have identified some needs within your client base. And you’re thinking about, well, how do I go about sort of meeting those needs?

“And finally, maximising the impact and the value of those skills and services that you’ve brought into your firm.

“There’s a labyrinth online on this topic. We’ve tried to put it all in one place.”

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Philip King

Philip King

AUTHOR

Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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