Accounting for Energy Efficiency: A roadmap for transition
ARIES has partnered with the Macquarie University Faculty of Business and Economics to drive sustainability in the business sector by educating accountants on the energy efficiency incentives available to their clients, as well as best practice measurement and reporting. Energy efficiency in business will also be embedded into core units at Macquarie University.
We thank the NSW Government Office of Environment and Heritage for funding this project as part of their Energy Efficiency Training Program, Higher Education - Accountants and Business Managers.
Extensive research (including a previous ARIES project on Sustainability in the Key Professions) has identified a large gap between the current level of energy efficiency skills and the level expected by both government and the community. This gap is especially acute in small to medium enterprises (SMEs), which account for significant energy use. Accountants act as trusted advisors to SMEs but education in energy efficiency is currently missing from accounting professional development programs.
A second area of need relates to assisting larger organisations under pressure to improve their energy efficiency measurement and reporting. As mandatory (e.g. NGER) and voluntary (e.g. the GRI, GHG protocol and the Carbon Disclosure Project) reporting codes are evolving in relation to scope and sophistication, developing training for accountants on these codes, together with managing energy efficiency across the supply chain, is required.
Finally, undergraduate accounting students are not typically exposed to energy efficiency, but will require these skills in the future.
Three proposed courses
Course 1 - Making energy efficiency pay for your clients Training for practising accountants with SMEs and personal clients, delivered via CPA Australia.
Course 2 - Improving GHG measurement and reporting Training for accountants in larger energy users, delivered via CPA Australia.
Course 3 – Undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Macquarie University Integration into core and elective accounting units.
The first two courses will be delivered by CPA Australia as part of their continuing professional development program.
The project team
Lorne Cummings, James Hazelton and Zoe Wong (Macquarie University Faculty of Business), Nick Ridehalgh (former sustainability partner PWC), Andrew Petersen (CEO Sustainable Business Australia and former legal partner at PWC and Dunnhill Madden Butler), Stephen Beletich (Beletich Associates), and Jessica North (ARIES).