The Role of the Accountant: Including Sustainability to their consultancy services
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Focus on sustainability is present and increasing worldwide. The more focused companies andpeople are to act sustainable and fulfil the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) that arerelevant for the environment they are in, the more focus it brings to transparency on the topic.For transparency the need for sustainability reporting arises.The Nordic Accountant Federation has published the first report out of three in 2021, and thegoal is to develop Nordic standards for sustainability reporting for small and medium sizedenterprises (NSRS).The NSRS report concludes that the accountant will play a major part in the consulting onsustainability reporting for their clients.The NSRS report is the background for this thesis, in addition to an extensive literature searchabout the accountant’s role in sustainability consulting.We performed a survey amongst accountant firms in Kristiansand to investigate the currentlandscape on sustainability reporting and the knowledge on NSRS and SDG. Telephoneinterviews were performed amongst 57 accountant firms in Kristiansand during March 2022.The majority of the accountants in Kristiansand do not consult on sustainability reporting fortheir clients, and the majority have knowledge of the SDG but not NSRS. The result of thissurvey is that the accountant’s attitude towards sustainability and the assumption of thestakeholder’s expectation are factors that influence the accountant to consult on sustainabilityreporting. Most of the accountant firms that do consult clients on sustainability also consult onsustainability reporting for their clients.Age of firm and gender distribution of the firms did not have any effect on consulting the clientson sustainability, but there er is a tendency that the larger firms consult more on sustainabilitythan smaller accountant firms.The NSRS report concludes that the accountant is a natural partner for their clients onsustainability reporting, but the majority is not prepared for the role. For the accountants inKristiansand, we come to the same conclusion.