Sustainability in key professions: Accounting
The business world is under growing pressure to institute various forms of corporate sustainability, and a key strategy of the Australian Government's National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability is to foster sustainability in business and industry through education and learning with a focus on Sustainability in the Key Professions.
In support of this strategy, and because accountants provide such a crucial range of advisory, regulatory, reporting and financial services to the business world, the Australian Government Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts funded ARIES to work with the accountancy professional associations, accountancy schools in universities, key government departments, leading accountancy firms and other stakeholders to foster change towards sustainability in this profession.
The overarching research question for this project was: What are the drivers and barriers to progressing the integration of sustainabiity into the accounting profession?
What this program has achieved
Through the medium of the Business and Higher Education Roundtable (BHERT) network, ARIES, in conjunction with Macquarie University and the University of Technology Sydney, hosted the first of a series of forums titled Sustainability in the Key Professions — a high level Roundtable involving representatives of the accounting profession, industry leaders and the universities — to better articulate the nature of the ‘soft skills’ which need to be incorporated into professional education to better equip accountants for the future and to develop ongoing networks for dialogue. ARIES also conducted baseline research aimed at determining what sustainability content is already provided in accounting courses Australia wide.
As a result of the Roundtable discussion a working party has been set up with the intention of extending the use of this model for dialogue between industry and higher education stakeholders in other key professions.
Citation: Martin A and Steele F (2010) Sustainability in Key Professions: Accounting. A report prepared by the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability for the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.