IPA Short Course: Accounting for Sustainability

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About the course

It is increasingly becoming an expectation from stakeholders that organisations, including SMEs, publicly report information about their significant social and environmental impacts (both positive and negative), and about the initiatives undertaken by the organisation to address these impacts. The public reporting of social and environmental/sustainability-related performance information is now accepted as an important aspect of managing an organisation, with a failure to do so putting an organisation at a competitive disadvantage.


Accountants need to play a key role in assisting their employer/clients to understand the benefits associated with collecting, analysing and reporting information associated with various aspects of social and environmental performance, as well as identifying and engaging with those stakeholders with an interest in sustainability-related matters. Any quest towards sustainable development - including addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - cannot succeed without the participation of the accounting profession. All accountants, whether working with large or small organisations, have a role to play in encouraging organisations to embrace sustainability-related accountability.


Key Information

Date: 30 May - 27 June 2022

Duration: 5 weeks 

Time: 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Presenter: Craig Deegan Professor of Accounting - The University of Tasmania

CPD Hours: 10

Member: $499

Non-Member: $699


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Focus of this course

This course will focus on various issues associated with the external reporting of information about an organisation's social and environmental impacts (positive and negative), and management of those impacts. It will provide practical knowledge to those individuals seeking to develop reports for their own organisation or for clients (whether the organisation is small, medium, or large in size), an also to those individuals interest in understanding the evolving practice of sustainability reporting. There is no expectation of prior knowledge in relation to sustainability reporting. What will be made clear is that organisations of all sizes should embrace some form of 'accounting for sustainability'.

The learning objectives include:

  • Understand the meaning of 'sustainability' and 'sustainability reporting'.
  • Be aware of different perceptions about the 'responsibilities' of business organisations, of how perceptions of responsibilities in trn influence perceptions about 'accountability', and of how perceptions of 'accountability' in turn impact the 'accounts' that should be prepared.
  • Understand the extent to which organisations currently disclose information about their sustainability-related performance.
  • Be aware of an 'accountability model' and understand how that model can be applied to explain or inform organisational reporting.
  • Be aware of various perspectives about 'why' organisations present sustainability-related information.
  • Be aware of various considerations that influence decisions about 'to whom' organisations present sustainability-related information and about 'what' sustainability-related information organisations will report to their various stakeholders.
  • Unerstand some of the different ways in which sustainability-related information can be reported and be aware of some of the various frameworks for reporting, including those linked to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Understand the meaning of 'externalities' and how to account for them.
  • Understand the critical nature of climate change and modern slavery and be aware of some accounting and reporting implications associated with both.

Learning outcomes

The expectation is that participants will gain sufficient background knowledge to enable them to identify, prioritise, and report various aspects of an organisation’s social and environmental performance. Participants will learn that all organisations (large and small) can, and should, embrace some form of sustainability-related responsibility and accountability. It will be emphasised that this form of reporting does not need to be overly complicated.


At the end of each workshop, participants will be asked to apply (between the workshops) what they have learned from that workshop to an organisation of their choice, and we will commence the next workshop with a short recap and discussion of how participants applied that knowledge to their chosen organisation. Between each workshop, specific practical tasks will be completed by students so that students can see the ‘real world’ applicability of the material being covered.


Competency Area

  • Verified Management & Professional Skills

The course is comprised of 5 modules, each of two hours' duration.