By James V. DeLuccia, PICPA manager of research, publications, and Insights
After a brief hiatus, the PICPA is reintroducing our podcast series in a new form – Insightful. This miniseries takes a deep dive into the cutting-edge issues affecting the accounting profession and are currently being studied by PICPA Insights.
The first episode of Insightful, “The Impact of ESG Reporting and Assurance on Small and Midsize Accounting Firms,” details the current and future impacts of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting on the accounting profession, including increased exposure risks. This episode features R. Charles Waring, CPA, ESG reporting leader and partner, assurance and technology control services, at EisnerAmper, and Christopher Tower, CPA, ESG strategy and services leader, with BDO US. The duo breakdown the results uncovered in the PICPA Insights: ESG Standards and Reporting white paper. This analysis by these two thought leaders is critical and necessary.
Insights surveyed PICPA members in September, six months after its first ESG survey and after the release of the white paper and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC's) proposed rules in this area, and discovered that the level of understanding of these concepts and their impact on the profession remain low. Of the respondents working in public accounting, 58% still express little to no familiarity with ESG concepts (an improvement of just 3% from a March 2022 survey), yet Waring and Tower agree that firms and companies of all sizes have exposure risk, particularly in the supply or value chain. Nearly half of the corporate finance professional respondents are still unfamiliar with ESG concepts, and less than half do not plan to increase their knowledge level of these factors. Further, most public accounting (80%) and corporate finance respondents (78%) revealed little to no familiarity with the SEC’s Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors.
Episode 2, “ESG Assurance and Advisory Services: What Accounting Firms Need to Know” (to be released the week of Dec. 12), details how accounting firms can support companies and organizations of all sizes on their ESG journey and weighs the opportunities and risks. Episode 3, “What Companies of All Sizes Must Know about ESG Measuring and Reporting” (to be released in January 2023), addresses how ESG will continue to impact CPAs working in corporate finance.
Be sure to listen to these programs and stay tuned for the release of more episodes of Insightful in 2023 that delve into the state of Pennsylvania accounting firms and the corporate finance function.
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