Verdant Vocations: An Accountant?

Here's the third in a series of posts about that third of our day spent beavering away at our chosen craft.

[Verdant: green, lush, rich
Vocation: calling, life's work, mission, purpose, function; profession, occupation, career, job, employment, trade, business, line, line of work, métier.]

A Green Accountant (or as we read somewhere, a Mung Bean Counter) might:1. offer pro bono or volunteer accounting services to not-for-profit organisations. (imagine it, Accountants for Humanity, CPAs Without Borders, ...)
2. direct clients towards ethical investing
3. support the notion of lower personal income tax, offset by higher 'polluter pays' carbon taxes
4. ensure all office computers are Energy Star accredited and with flat panel LCD screens, and that all printers and photocopiers are turned off at night
5. encourage staff to print four pages to a sheet and double sided (a 40-page document then fits on five sheets.)
6. identify hidden costs to a business or household, like water and energy use, so clients can take steps to reduce their use
7. allow flexible work attire for staff to suit weather conditions, reducing office energy use of air conditioning and heating
8. buy preloved or refurbished office furniture
9. know what you are on about if you mention Triple Bottom Line (TBL) accounting, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Global Reporting Initiative
10. have read books in the vein of Small Is Beautiful : A study of economics as if people mattered (by E. F. Schumacher), Ethics in Finance or Ethical Obligations and Decision-Making in Accounting

We must admit, Green Accountants did not suddenly appear on trees during our investigations. We did find one, the Eco CPA, making the right noises, but their website held scant information.

However they are out there. One even wrote an article in the Journal of Accountancy as published by The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which began thus: "My company has gone green—and as its controller, I've helped its management and customers recognize that the tax benefits, rebates and lower utility costs of being environmentally friendly add up to a real bottom-line reward for doing the right thing." And this caused another to write in a follow up letter, "CPAs should be leading the business community when discussing the problems of the economy, including the environmental impact of conducting business."

As Ernst & Young's Garry Fowler, an apparent expert in sustainability reporting explained it, "The profession needs to market itself as being able to provide assurance on triple bottom line matters and dispel some of these myths that we're accountants and we can't do social and environmental stuff." We can but live in hope.

See also previous Verdant Vocations: Dentists and Electricians.

Try also other links for greening your vocation:
TreeHugger's How To Green Your Work Guide
Green@Work Magazine
The upcoming book: True Green at Work: 100 Ways You Can Make the Environment Your Business. [Australian version here.]

Tags: Activism