Finance leaders provide guidance on accounting for social and human capital

A new guide has been produced by finance professionals for finance professionals to help them integrate social and human capital into their decision making.

The guide is the latest in a series of Essential Guides produced by The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) Chief Financial Officer Leadership Network. It demonstrates how accounting for social and human capital can enhance business decision making, and drive long term commercial and societal value. Alongside providing guidance and tools, it provides practical examples of how organisations are integrating social and human factors into their business processes.

Organizations contributing to the project included: Anglian Water, British Land, Bupa, Burberry, National Grid, Sainsbury’s, South West Water, SSE, The Crown Estate, Unilever and Yorkshire Water.

The guide is designed for finance professionals, and for anyone seeking to understand the key challenges faced by organizations when undertaking social and human capital accounting. Organizations often struggle to place a value on their contribution to society and investment in people, however, taking time to account for social and human capital can reap significant business benefits. Those identified in the guide range from improved reputation, stronger stakeholder relationships, better access to and retention of talent, and cost savings, all of which ultimately enhance business resilience and increase competitive advantage.

Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman, A4S said:

The finance community has a crucial role to play in helping businesses to understand the value of social and human capital to their organisations. It can be a challenge knowing where to start, so this guide is designed to give CFOs and their teams practical advice and tools to account for their impact and dependency on people and society. The case studies in the guide show how organisations have tackled the subject and have reaped the business benefits, while making a valuable contribution to society

Kate Bowyer, CFO, The Crown Estate commented:

As a CFO I don’t want to have to choose between running a successful business and a responsible, sustainable one – they should and can be one and the same. In a world of resource scarcity, changing employment patterns, social polarisation and distrust of business, it is no longer sufficient to assess an organisation’s performance based solely on its financial results

The guide can be downloaded from www.accountingforsustainability.org/social-and-human-capital