CPA.com, the business and technology subsidiary of the AICPA, and Good.Lab, a leading provider of environmental, social and governance (ESG) software and consulting services, today announced a new ESG practice development program that will enable accounting firms to respond to growing client demand for ESG advisory services.
The program launched with an initial cohort of five firms from the AICPA Major Firms Group who are receiving high-quality educational content, hands-on training, enablement tools and timely insights developed by CPA.com and Good.Lab.
CPA.com, as it has done with other practice areas like client advisory services (CAS), is spearheading efforts to support firms with strategy and business model design around ESG. Approximately 86% of S&P 500 organizations already issue some kind of ESG-related report and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Proposed Rules to Enhance and Standardize Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors2 will hasten the requests for and standardization of ESG information.
The increase in customer and supply chain expectations is creating a new frontier in ESG measurement and reporting, and middle market, private organizations will need to address heightened ESG expectations from customers, employees and investors. While some of the new or proposed rules and regulations have a singular focus on climate change issues, others address sustainability more broadly, but all require that businesses address ESG with the same metrics-based rigor as is applied to financial reporting.
“We’re excited to build on our partnership with CPA.com, as we continue to deliver on our vision of an end-to-end ESG solution for midmarket companies,” said Andries Verschelden, co-founder & CEO, Good.Lab. “Accountants are becoming the trusted advisor for ESG and with the advent of global disclosure standards from the International Sustainability Standards Board we expect demand for ESG services from accounting firms to further accelerate. This program will enable CPAs to not only perform ESG data assurance, but also meaningfully expand their practices to advise on ESG strategy, reporting and disclosure, performance data measurement and related tax and technical services.”
Good.Lab was a participant in the 2022 AICPA and CPA.com Startup Accelerator program and has extensive experience in developing and implementing the sustainability programs at Fortune 500 companies, and its work integrating ESG factors into the business strategies and operations of midsize clients across multiple industries. Training and enablement will focus on building a revenue-generating practice and defining service offerings, sales approach, revenue model, how to engage with existing clients on the topic, and client delivery tools.
“The increasing market demand for ESG services is providing significant opportunities for the accounting profession,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO, CPA.com. “Similar to programs we have rolled out with firms in other practice areas like CAS, we know there is more to driving large scale adoption than simply identifying the right technology solution. Technology is a key component; however, business model strategy, training and awareness are just as critical to firm success. We partnered with Good.Lab, a trusted ESG expert, to develop a holistic program to accelerate firm’s expansion of services into the category.”
The ESG Practice Development Program builds on CPA.com’s ongoing support to help firms understand the ESG landscape and embrace the opportunities it presents for the profession. Additional initiatives and resources include:
- An ESG-focused cohort was part of the 2022 AICPA and CPA.com Startup Accelerator to support the development of ESG technology tools for the profession.
- Second annual AICPA and CPA.com ESG Symposium on Sept. 13 will bring together top ESG leaders to exchange ideas and discuss the accounting profession’s critical role within the ESG category.
- Special report: ESG drivers & evolving strategies
- AICPA & CIMA ESG Resource Center
A second cohort of firms for the program is planned for late fall. For more information, visit cpa.com/esg.