Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Accounting's role in sustainability

My accounting professor at Bainbridge Graduate Institute (, Dr. Kate Lancaster, PhD, CPA has written a paper with two of her colleagues urging the development of sustainable curriculum for university finance and accounting students, and outlined some specific courses or curriculum modules that need to be created.

Kate asked me if I would write a few sentences about why it is important to include sustainability in finance and accounting curriculum. Here is what I wrote:

"The shift towards sustainability will be a significant business driver over the foreseeable future. An emerging and evolving set of metrics beyond traditional financial measurements will provide guidance, scoring, comparability and accountability for sustainable business practices.

Who better to measure, report, analyze and interpret the data than accountants? It is vital that students learn the thinking and tools they'll need for jobs in the 21st century."

Sustainability offers significant opportunities and challenges for both internal and external reporting. In a sustainable economy, everyone will be on board. It is a hopeful sign when even traditionally conservative professions like accounting begin to see the light.

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