New Concepts in Accounting Training â Preparing for a Low-carbon Future
Career Path : Accounting
Forward-thinking students of accounting training may soon demand that more accounting schools offer courses on carbon accounting, so that graduates can better help organizations navigate a carbon-constrained future, i.e., a world in which companies have no choice but to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, with those that reduce the most enjoying a competitive edge. Business colleges must enable accounting students to help organizations measure, reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions. They must equip accounting grads to take environmental science and law into consideration when making financial decisions.
Measuring your organizationâs emissions: determining a baseline
Before an organization can reduce its carbon emissions, it must determine a baseline emissions rate. This means taking into account all areas of activity â travel, transport, heating, etc. â that emit greenhouse gases. Increasingly, it is graduates of accounting training who take responsibility for measuring these emissions.
Understanding what activities generate emissions
Accounting schools and business colleges must give students an understanding of what kind of business activities are responsible for generating emissions.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â heating
-Â Â Â Â Â Â freight transport
-Â Â Â Â Â Â business travel
-Â Â Â Â Â Â diesel used to power machinery
Differentiating between types of emissions
As more and more business colleges are teaching in their accounting training programs, carbon emission can be divided into two categories, direct and indirect:
-Â Â Â Â Â Â direct emissions are carbon emissions generated directly by your organization, e.g., the diesel burned in your companyâs fleet of delivery trucks
-Â Â Â Â Â Â indirect emissions, in accounting training, are carbon emissions associate with imported utilities, e.g., the electricity used to power a companyâs factory, or the gas used to power a hired car that drives an executive to an out-of-town meeting
Reading financial documents with an eye to reducing emissions
To measure these emission, students of accounting training rely on many of the same documents that they would have traditionally learned about in accounting schools: energy bills, etc. But business colleges of today must teach students to read these same documents in a different way. Instead of focusing only on the expenses incurred, or the value for the dollar, accounting professionals must take into account the environmental impact of the product consumed.
A new role
New emissions-related tasks for todayâs graduates of accounting training therefore include:
-Â Â Â Â Â Â identifying activities that are responsible for emissions
-Â Â Â Â Â Â using free emissions calculators to determine current emissions rates
-Â Â Â Â Â Â arranging emission audits
-Â Â Â Â Â Â setting emissions reduction targets
-Â Â Â Â Â Â measuring emissions reduction progress
-Â Â Â Â Â Â reporting on emissions reduction progress to management, customers and shareholders (annual reports are said to be getting longer as they extend to include carbon reporting)
Accounting schools and business colleges must adapt their accounting training to reflect a new reality in which accounting professionals will be called upon to help organizations embrace the new low-carbon economy.
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