The Edinburgh Group in collaboration with the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), The Federation of Mediterranean Certified Accountants (FCM), The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), will host a three-part webinar from 2 to 4 February 2022 to spotlight the need for sustainability in small-to-medium accountancy practices (SMPs) and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). The sessions will run from 14:00 to 16:00 SAST (GMT +2) daily.
“The event will address topics that are key to these entities thriving in a world disrupted by the pandemic, digital transformation, and global economic and environmental uncertainty,” says Shahied Daniels, the Group’s Chairman and SAIPA Chief Executive.
The Edinburgh Group is a coalition of 16 international accountancy bodies that champions the interests of SMPs and SMEs, professional accountants in business and especially developing nations within the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). This webinar series is presented in partnership with PAFA and FCM.
The theme of the webinar is “SMP & SME – Renewal and Resilience” with each day focusing on a critical area of concern.
The first session will contemplate disruptive conditions these enterprises and their professional accountants face, with a presentation on mental health and wellbeing, as well as a panel discussion on how SMEs can recover post pandemic and manage disruption.
The second session will focus on digital transformation and the competencies needed to succeed in an automated marketplace. A keynote speech on the SMP’s role in facilitating digital transformation within SMEs will be followed by a panel discussion on digital competency in SMEs and enhancing audit quality through digital transformation.
The final session will consider SME sustainability reporting in both the keynote speech and panel discussion. A significant feature will be the SMP’s role as a business advisor in promoting sustainability reporting and integrated decision-making to facilitate a meaningful economic rebound in SMEs.
“This information is absolutely critical for SMPs and SMEs to rise out of survival mode and operate effectively in a world in a collective quest for global equilibrium,” says Daniels.
SME Sustainability Reporting
Sustainability reporting and integrated thinking is not restricted to big businesses and smaller organisations will have to adopt at least some form of them to remain relevant.
“As government regulations, societal pressure and strategic prudence drive larger enterprises to adopt these practices, the demand to emulate them will trickle down recursively to vendors-of-vendors,” says Daniels.
Sustainability reporting merges corporate financial progress with what accountants now call the triple bottom line – people, planet and prosperity. This holistic view of the business elevates decision-making above mere profitability goals, integrating these extended concerns deeply into corporate strategy.
Apart from the pressure to conform, embracing this reporting approach voluntarily can help SMEs develop integrated decision-making internally and stay abreast of the needs of their larger customers and clients.
Their professional accountants must therefore prepare themselves to not only implement the systems and processes required for sustainability reporting but also to provide non-financial assurance on the methodologies and information on which it is based.
“This is more than a new disclosure requirement; it is a radical shift in mindset that will increasingly affect an SME’s competitive advantage and its prospects for business development, and that makes this webinar ‘essential viewing’,” says Daniels.
Attendance to the series of webinars is limited, please register at https://saipa.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMkc-2srjspHtUqZUFZwUT9TnIzVbTc4eb9