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The green watchdog: why the accountant plays a key role in sustainability reporting

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) has a number of important goals. Most importantly, the aim of the new regulations is to make sure that sustainability reporting will become more transparent, trustworthy and allows for easy comparison between companies alike. To make sure that the information that is disclosed is relevant and valid, accountants will play a key role in the CSRD.

Limited assurance is a central element of the CSRD. This means that all sustainability reports will be checked by an accountant in a way to make sure that risks are decreased to a reasonable level. This implies a new role for the accountant. Most accountants are  currently actively preparing for this new role.

When does the accountant get involved?

It is recommendable to team up with your accountant in an early stage of CSRD preparation. The accountant namely not only will check the outcomes in your report, but also the process of how you have developed your statements. Therefore, checking once or twice with your advisor on the steps that you take is advisable.

For example: the CSRD has set out regulations on how you perform the double materiality assessment. The accountant will check whether your materiality assessment has followed the defined steps and whether your results are valid. The results of the materiality assessment define the basic structure of your report. Therefore, finding out whether your work has been done well is useful in an early stage.

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Also, the accountant will determine the trustworthiness of the data that is disclosed. For example, it is important to identify where the information has been gathered and what the quality of the data is. Setting up a good infrastructure to gather ESG information is therefore vital. Ecocharting can help with this.

Our advise: start early with performing the double materiality assessment and let the account verify your process and outcomes. Once this is established, you can start collecting information and data on the material ESG topics. In case you need help, do not hesitate to contact us or reach out for a demo of our intuitive CSRD software.


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