ACCA's Helen Brand: Accountants Must Lead the Sustainability Drive

Equipping professional accountants through the education and training the ACCA provides enables them to directly embed and support sustainable practices in the organisations they work

ACCA's Helen Brand: Accountants Must Lead the Sustainability Drive

Global ACCA chief executive, Helen Brand OBE, called on businesses in Malaysia to ensure qualified finance professionals are placed at the heart of their sustainability agenda.

Addressing senior representatives of some of the country's most significant employers during a visit to Malaysia last week, Helen Brand set out the vital role of the finance function in delivering climate change targets and building the prosperous, sustainable economies of the future.

"When we speak to business leaders and members in the region[1], a common concern is that responsibility for climate risk and ESG is too far removed from financial decision makers – this has to change urgently if we're to tackle the very real threats these risks pose.

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"When organisations are driven by the short-term thinking that quarterly results reporting and limited five-year timescales cultivate, true long-term, sustainable prosperity is harder to achieve. Not only does is make business sense to ensure professional accountants drive the agenda, but when facing a shortage of skills and talent, employers that can show they are driving positive change are much more attractive to potential new staff,' she says.

Measurement, accounting, reporting and verification form an important part of achieving climate change targets and the ACCA Qualification integrates sustainability as a core capability. ACCA also offers CPD and training to its members on all of these issues.

Sustainable Businesses and Economies

Equipping professional accountants through the education and training the ACCA provides enables them to directly embed and support sustainable practices in the organisations they work, with as well as shape policy, regulation and standards.

Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad FCCA, chairman, CIMB Group, also voiced his support for the ACCA's call to action, commenting: 'Accountants are trained to see the long-term value of pivoting established business models, when they are at the heart of organisations, sustainable businesses and economies, then they can make a real difference. If they use their ethics, responsibility, and knowledge, they really can help save the world.'

The ACCA maps its own strategy to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and supports the Malaysian government's targets of significantly increasing its population of qualified accountants by 2030.

[1] Climate action and the accountancy profession: building a sustainable future  /PRNewswire/