The importance of environmental sustainability is being recognised by mainstream business practices in many sectors. Challenges relating to resource depletion and the production of green house gases are attracting increasing attention owing not least to regulatory, supply chain, reputational and consumer pressure. While there is evidence of some awareness and good environmental practice among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this segment of the business community remains notoriously difficult to influence. Given that the vast
majority of private enterprises are small and mediumsized (with 250 or fewer employees), and that they are responsible for well over half of employment and business turnover, we can ill-afford to neglect their practices.
The ‘most trusted adviser’ for SMEs is their accountant (Bennett and Robson 1999; Blackburn et al. 2010). This status has been understood to be a primary reason why, in addition to their financial services, small and mediumsized accountancy practices (SMPs) routinely give advice to their SME clients on a wide range of topics, including taxation, financial management/budgeting, succession
and debt administration (Marriott and Marriott 2000). There is also some evidence of and interest in the provision of advice on more general business topics such as administrative routines; organisational issues; human resource management; salary administration and training; marketing and strategic planning; and health and safety (Gooderham et al. 2004; Dyer and Ross 2007;
Blackburn and Jarvis 2010; Hasle et al. 2010; Jarvis and Rigby 2011).
This research study investigated the potential for further widening SMP advice provision to include the topic of environmental sustainability. This is of interest because sustainability and corporate social responsibility have been identified as emergent key issues for the accountancy profession, alongside the importance of
addressing SME needs (IFAC 2010, 2012).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages40
ISBN (Print)978-1-85908-479-3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Accountants
  • Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • Trusted advisors

Cite this