ICAEW: Accountancy profession can help UAE achieve sustainable development goals

Thursday 28 February 2019
Michael Armstrong FCA and ICAEW Regional Director for Middle East, Africa and South Asia
Dubai - MENA Herald:

The “SDGs in Action” forum during the recent World Government Summit in Dubai, has brought into focus the need for governments to harness innovation and technology to accelerate the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Global accountancy and finance body ICAEW says the accountancy profession can also contribute massively to this acceleration.

Commenting on the topic, Michael Armstrong FCA and ICAEW Regional Director for Middle East, Africa and South Asia said: “The year 2030 carries great significance as it is the deadline set by the UN for implementation of the its 17 SDGs, aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring all people enjoy peace and prosperity. This is an extremely difficult task and we applaud the UAE’s initiative in actively creating a framework towards meeting the SDGs. Leadership plays an important role in the development of policies that lead to achieving SDGs. The UAE is a great example of visionary leadership – the formation of a national committee on sustainable development highlights the nation’s devotion to sustainability.

“We believe the accountancy profession also has a huge role to play in helping to realise the goals, especially our ICEAW members. Our ACA certified members sit on the boards of 80 percent of FTSE 100 companies. This brings a great opportunity for influence and leadership.

“Successful implementation of the SDGs will require governments and corporations alike to audit their commitment to global sustainable development. As shareholder pressure to address sustainability and disclose non-financial metrics increases, companies are going to have to start measuring their performance on a much more complex range of indicators from income inequality to carbon emissions. Chartered accountants should be able to rise to this challenge and help clients to measure and audit their own performance on SDGs.

“While most chartered accountants do not yet have the required experience to undertake this type of work, they can definitely learn to apply their audit knowledge to the SDGs. The next generation of accountants will certainly be more interested in global sustainability. Adjusting the curriculum of accountancy training to reflect the sustainability goals, gives them enormous scope to shape solutions to sustainable development challenges and influence corporate behaviour for the better.

“We see this becoming a necessary evolution of the accountancy profession and a great opportunity to shape our future whilst acting in the public’s interest.”

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