6 2021 ESG Trends for Accounting and Finance Professionals

As traders, buyers and crucial stakeholders carry on to seek out out reliable and transparent data on a wide variety of sustainability metrics, the Association of Worldwide Certified Experienced Accountants (Association) these days shared six environmental, social and governance (ESG) tendencies that will influence the accounting and finance professions in 2021.

The Affiliation also produced 5 techniques firms can get to prepare for ESG reporting and assurance. These tendencies are centered on conversations with Affiliation customers, world wide normal setters and executives at CPA companies and other companies who direct ESG reporting and accounting endeavours.

“CPAs are uniquely certified to assistance companies enhance stakeholder belief and self esteem, this, as our users be expecting the require for ESG-related assurance expert services to maximize significantly in excess of the next a few decades,” mentioned Desiré Carroll, CPA, Association Senior Supervisor – General public Accounting. “ESG matters evidently captivated a ton of interest in 2020, and as demand for firms to report their material ESG-similar matters, so too does the want for that information to be steady, exact and reliable.

Top rated ESG traits currently impacting the accounting career and CPA firms’ customers in 2021:

  • Demand from customers is mounting for ESG reporting, notably under Sustainability Accounting Specifications Board (SASB) requirements and Process Power on Local weather-relevant Economic Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations that a variety of buyers, trader businesses and certain jurisdictions about the globe termed for in 2020.
  • As documented ESG data carries on to make its way into mainstream financial reporting (e.g., SEC Human Capital disclosure demands), duties for ESG reporting are shifting from being the sole duty of sustainability and internet marketing teams to now include accounting and finance pros.
  • Environmental affect is a priority, with companies positioning higher significance on squander and plastic reduction in their source chains and setting bold ambitions with accelerated timelines for accomplishing carbon neutrality.
  • ESG’s social ingredient is also developing, with companies emphasizing variety and inclusion in selecting tactics, all through their provide chain and in equal spend and honest labor methods.
  • Demand from customers for CPA assurance services proceeds to raise as businesses search to enhance stakeholders’ self confidence in the reported ESG facts. 
  • There is continued movement in direction of a world established of sustainability reporting standards.

Methods companies can choose to get all set for ESG reporting and assurance in 2021:

With major trader curiosity in noted ESG info, the credibility and trustworthiness of that information is important. To that end, applying the similar level of rigor to the measurement and reporting of ESG details, as is used to money reporting, is important.  In this article are five techniques businesses can acquire to get all set for ESG reporting and assurance in 2021:

  • Include administration of ESG threats into broader organization possibility administration processes.
  • Identify what crucial effectiveness indicators are most applicable and significant for stakeholders and the sustainability reporting regular or framework that will be utilized for reporting.
  • Assess the forms of data sources and decide whether or not guidelines exist that ensure the data is affordable and exact, arrives in a timely and reputable way and is derived in a way that generates regular and equivalent results.
  • Create ideal Board oversight over vital ESG issues and establish and doc inner controls in excess of the facts accumulating and reporting procedures to be certain precision and completeness of reported facts.
  • Contemplate engaging a CPA agency to perform a readiness assessment to support prepare for an assurance engagement around the described ESG info.

The Association will continue to give schooling and steerage to all areas of the profession. In November 2020, we issued a press release highlighting an ESG roadmap for instruction, methods and guidance for 2021.


For far more details on sustainability methods for the accounting occupation, be sure to check out: