As part of the process to better sustainable reporting which is tipped to become a vital topic in 2024, verification and improvement of collected data come at hand.
Accountants play a role in the verification, which supports building trust in reported sustainability-related information.
According to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, it is imperative to address the quality of reporting across all stages of the sustainability reporting cycle.
Internal and external assurance plays a major role in supporting the oversight by those charged with governance. as this will pave the way towards continual improvement in the quality of reported sustainability-related information.
To better work on this, the ACCA suggests focusing on the following areas:
In the process, accountants should:
- Consider the type of assurance, whether limited or reasonable.
- When selecting assurance providers, check, among other criteria, their credentials, competence over relevant sustainability-related matters and connectivity to financial information, experience, and compliance with regulation and code of ethics.
- Expand the audit committee’s role to include monitoring of the integrity of sustainability reporting, to the same extent as financial reporting.
Metrics for continual growth
Accountants must also set specific metrics to monitor continual growth and improvement in sustainable reporting. Such metrics for assessing the organisation’s continual improvement could include:
- quality of data over time
- stakeholders’ feedback on value of sustainability-related information
- dissemination of sustainability knowledge in the organisation and its retention, and
- integration of sustainability-related information in strategic, managerial, and operational activities.