No doubt, 2020 has been dominated by the presence of COVID-19 and its impacts. However, we mustn’t disregard the problems that have remained unsolved for ages. Yes, we are talking about environmental problems here. The glaciers are still melting, air quality is still getting worse and ecosystems are still depleting.
As the world economy suffers from the pandemic, accounting firms have been pushed to move to the remote setup. While accountants were moving into their newborn remote setups, it occurred to them that they could do much more with this new way of working. It has given accountants an opportunity to reimagine their work setups and has propelled them to adopt long-lasting sustainable habits. Habits that help their firms grow and protect the environment as well.
Here we have listed down a few benefits that an accounting firm can reap by taking the sustainability route:
Perks of Being a Sustainable Accounting Firm
One can experience greater operational efficiencies after implementing more sustainable business practices. The intent for better conservation and utilisation of resources in a more streamlined method leads to a decrease in costs and increase efficiency.
People intend to work with companies that stand for a cause. According to Adecco, an international HR company, 52% of employees are more willing to work with a firm that is environmentally aware. Employee recruitment and retention take fewer efforts for firms that adopt sustainability habits.
Choosing sustainable methods have an added advantage of not only being eco-friendly but people-friendly as well. Engaging with a socially responsible firm always gives the clients a better experience and builds stronger relationships.
Social & environmental risks can easily convert to financial risks. The pandemic is an example of the same. Keeping this interconnected relationship in mind, a sustainable approach can be helpful in managing contingencies arising in the future.
People are now more inclined towards engaging with firms that pay attention to sustainability. Being responsible for the environment is actually a good competitive strategy. It positions your practice as a socially responsible entity.
Sustainability promotes greenery of two kinds- Monetary & Environmental. Making sustainability an integrated part of your business increases the possibility of generating new sources of revenue.
Firms that regard the environment garner often receive higher consumer attraction. Clients prefer associating with green firms and be a part of their sustainability mission. It helps you get that competitive advantage.
When a business evolves, it breeds innovation by updating technology, approaches and processes. When an accounting firm chooses to use sustainable methods, it drives technological and organisational change.
For example, Ernst & Young – Diegem, Belgium switched to 100 percent green energy by outfitting solar panels on the office property and adding a water recycling system to cool the building. Also, they added 800 movement sensors to regulate the temperature of individual rooms.
Towards a Greener Accounting Firm
Not one, but many accountants are keen on going sustainable. Here are some ways on how to convert your green dreams into reality:
Outsourcing is Your First Step to 'Going Green'
Cost reduction is the strongest driver for accountants that outsource. From handling all the cumbersome procedural compliances of maintaining the books to payroll processing to filing tax returns, an offshore team saves you from all the grunt work. But what we miss out on noticing is that they also make you sustainable.
With dependable IT infrastructure, the entire collaboration takes place in the virtual space. From data collection to processing to creating reports, everything is digital. Not only meeting your sustainability goals, but outsourcing also fills the gaps caused by technological inefficiencies and financial inadequacies.
Here’s are different ways of how outsourcing can help your firm become sustainable:
How Outsourcing Can Aid to Your Firm's Sustainability Goals
An outsourcing firm well-equipped with the right infrastructure and effective technology ensures maximum productivity with lesser resources. With technologies that aim at speeding up the accounting process, you can achieve faster turnaround and make room for contributing to other things. It allows business expansion and formulating a sustainable strategy for your firm.
Is your staff in-house pre-occupied with the groundwork for most of the workweek? With a strong investment in personnel, an offshore team has the right knowledge to provide guidance and advice on making improvements to the accounting processes and make it more effective so it prevents repetition of efforts, therefore, saving resources.
Outsourcing frees up your time and resources so that you can use them to upscale your firm or develop as a full-blown advisory model. Being an advisory firm empowers accountants to consult their clients on implementing sustainability models, advise more small business clients to be sustainable and create a ripple effect of being a ‘business for good.’
Top Tip: Pick Partners Who Share the Same Belief
When planning to collaborate with outsourcing firms, choose a provider that shares the same beliefs as you in meeting the sustainability goals. QXAS has joined hands with a Singapore-based charity B1G1, where we get a chance to do our bit for those who need an opportunity to learn, grow and sustain their progress. The money raised is used to provide clean water and fresh vegetables to the underprivileged kids. Collaborations like these not only help you achieve your sustainability goals but also allow you to associate your firm to a greater cause.
Continuing on with the Work-from-home Model
The onset of the pandemic has laid the foundation for adopting more sustainable ways of running firms. Now, almost a year into the pandemic, it is safe to say that many accounting firms have settled down in their remote setups. Along with the benefits of flexibility in working hours, it helps protect the environment. It saves immense amounts of resources like electricity consumed in running an office and the fuel used for commuting.
Post-Covid Sustainability Tips
If you choose to revive your office setup, you must focus on using the least amount of resources. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Going paperless is one of the simplest ways to reduce environmental impact. It saves tremendous amounts of paper, keeps the data safe, and that makes it easier to transfer documents to the team members or clients. With PDF editors easily available online, one can easily toss out the fax machines.
Accountants are already making optimum use of accounting software, using soft copies instead of hard-copies is a convenient step to transition into a greener workplace.
In 2019, 34% of greenhouse emissions came from transportation in the UK. Accounting Firms can choose to cut down their contribution by introducing measures that allow their employees to commute without leaving any carbon footprint.
Office spaces are a witness of massive consumption of resources. A switch to sustainability can reduce wastage can bring a massive change. To start with, replace plastic glasses near the water filter to bottles or mugs. Using greener electronics, non-toxic highlighters, and refillable ink cartridges can help in avoiding a lot of unnecessary waste.
If you wish to implement a plan of a greater magnitude, it’s advisable to seek professional consultancy. There are counselling firms like A4S dedicated to assisting companies actualising their sustainability plan into action. They allow companies to drive towards resilient business models which are profitable and green.
To a Profitable & a Socially Responsible Accounting Firm
The future is green and it must be. Small steps towards protecting the environment can help reap greater benefits. Just a few steps and you can easily improve your environmental footprint. Save nature and help your firm grow. A win-win situation. Don't you think?
Note from the Editor: Stay tuned for much such articles and updates. For discussing your outsourcing strategy, you can call our tax experts.