ACCA: The accountancy profession has a vital role in meeting the green finance challenge

ACCA: The accountancy profession has a vital role in meeting the green finance challenge

Professional accountants must help drive the migration to sustainable economies and businesses by becoming experts in green finance, according to the latest report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) — Green finance skills: the guide.

At a time when access to cheaper capital is more vital than ever to an organisation’s long-term survival, access to green finance can be a lifeline to businesses. However recent research by ACCA and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) revealed that business say they’re underinformed on climate finance opportunities and climate risk management. Of respondents to the Global Economic Conditions Survey Q2 2022, 59% said they are not considering using green finance products — an opportunity that must be addressed.

With lenders increasingly offering attractive ‘green rates’ to organisations able to meet sustainability requirements, green finance is cheap capital that can keep businesses in business. Professional accountants’ ability to understand the green finance options needed for the transition to net-zero is key to equipping organisations with this expertise.

Having the skills to consider non-financial as well as financial business drivers will also leave the profession well placed to lead in training staff and developing the talent needed for enabling transformation and embedding sustainability.

Report author, ACCA senior subject manager — sustainability, Emmeline Skelton, said: “Green finance is part of the fundamental narrative of ACCA’s research programme on net zero transition and the role of the accountancy profession.

“In a world where key stakeholders are demanding more from companies and their net zero objectives, green finance is fast becoming the hot topic for the finance profession as it explores financing options.

“The profession needs upskilling, especially in volatile times, where access to capital including green finance is crucial for an organisation’s long-term survival.”

John Lelliott OBE FCCA, non-executive director of the Environment Agency and ACCA Sustainability Global Forum chair, said: “The accountancy and finance profession’s knowledge and skills in evolving market trends, stakeholder requirements and regulatory changes, will be key to transform organisations to operate in a net zero economy.”

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