Accounting Standards

ACCA publishes guide to sustainable capital management for auditors

The guide outlined why internal and external auditors should consider ESG information as part of their remit when dealing with financial reports

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), alongside the European Confederation of Institutes of Internal Auditing (ECIIA) and Deloitte, has published a new guide to natural capital management for auditors.

The guide outlines why audit and assurance services are an important step in enhancing an organisation’s sustainability content and data, emphasising why internal and external auditors should consider ESG information as part of their remit when dealing with financial reports.

Ahead of COP 26, the group of accounting professionals has developed the key principles that should govern the natural capital internal audit assignments with sustainability in mind.

Sharon Machado, head of business reporting at ACCA and lead author of the guide, said: “This new guide for internal and external auditors is part of a series produced by ACCA under the heading professional accountants changing business for the planet that helps professional accountants – and in this guide, auditors – serve their public interest remit.

“It outlines the practical application principles, supported by examples, that underpin the achievement of relevant and reliable natural capital management audit, advisory or assurance.”

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She added: “Many of these principles can equally be applied to other sustainability and non-financial information work. The guide draws on the recommendations from, and is intended to complement the IAASB and European Commission initiatives.”

Julien Rivals, Deloitte France’s Sustainability Practice co-lead, said: “ESG Information has become as important as financial information, therefore raising the question on how to ensure its reliability and give confidence to decision makers and other users of this information.

“External assurance is part of the answer, but we need to ask ourselves: Why do we want assurance? What do we want to assure? How do we want to provide assurance so that we avoid an expectation gap?  And who will provide the assurance?”

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