Why it pays to think green

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Planning for the future is not just about ensuring financial stability – a business can’t grow when the resources it depends on are diminishing.

As professional accountants, we have a key role to play in helping organisations ensure their business is sustainable. We can do this by integrating key performance indicators into our standard systems and processes, and use our accounting skills to collate and analyse data to monitor, manage and maintain sustainable development.

This is just one of many reasons why AAT is involved in the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project. Set up in 2004 by HRH Prince of Wales, the project aims to develop practical guidance and tools to embed sustainability into an organisation’s decision-making and reporting processes.

AAT is representing the voice of small business in developing this reporting process to ensure it is practical for all organisations regardless of size or turnover. In addition, we see our role as educating our membership and providing guidance to the wider SME community.

We believe this process is so crucial that the AAT is fully committed to embedding sustainable development and integrated reporting into the qualification and educational process.

As an organisation, AAT is also playing its own part in the journey towards a sustainable business model. Last year, AAT’s Council set up a working group to research the best way to achieve this and sustainable development is now a key part of our business plan.

Over the last few years, more and more of our services have been moved online meaning a reduction in printing and postage but also greater efficiencies for the membership. We also reduced our carbon footprint in late 2007 by moving from premises split over eight floors to one and a half floors decreasing our square footage by over 3,000ft.

Sustainable development is really about making the best use of what resources we have available – rather than wasting them now at the expense of future growth. We fully believe sustainable development should be at the heart of every organisation in order to secure its future.

Tom Kelman is AAT’s former Director of Finance and Corporate Resources.

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