Audit and assurance
The assurance provider
This is a specialised branch of external audit, whereby assurance is provided over the sustainability/ESG (environmental, social and governance) reports produced by the organisation.
This requires knowledge of the key (non-financial) reporting frameworks, such as GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), TCFD (Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures), CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), GHG (Greenhouse Gas Protocol), as well as experience of undertaking audits in line with ISAE 3000 and ISAE 3410 (International Standards on Assurance Engagements).
The associate will work in a team, to provide assurance on the information provided in the ESG report of the organisation's financial statements. Their work will be monitored and reviewed by the manager, but they will work as part of the wider team.
Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:
Increasingly, global governments are requiring the larger companies to report on 'non-financial data' in their annual reports. In some territories, carbon reporting is a legal requirement. For example, the UK, EU, Japan, North America and Australia all require Mandatory Green Gas reporting (GHG).
An increasing number of territories have national carbon pricing ('carbon tax'), such as Canada, Chile, the EU and UK, and New Zealand. Therefore, it is essential that the reporting is accurate as financials will be directly impacted.
In the UK, all premium-listed companies are required to state in their annual report whether their disclosures are consistent with TCFD recommendations. The US requires certain public companies to disclose certain ESG information, and the EU is proposing further requirements with its proposed Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which will require 'limited assurance' by an external party. This is a role and a requirement that will continue to develop over the next few years.
An accountant in training (or recently qualified) with an interest in sustainability and environmental issues. Ability to demonstrate excellent numerical skills (in analysis) and strong technical reporting skills (such as preparing strategic, analytical and statutory reports to internal and external stakeholders). As this is an area which is developing rapidly, the drive to keep up to date with technical developments (both in sustainable reporting and accounting and auditing requirements).