Triple bottom line reporting - a new challenge for accounting education

  • Joseph Michael Bruce Vallentine

    Student thesis: Professional Doctorate - CDU


    Businesses are expanding their reporting practices to include the reporting ofenvironmental and social performance, as well as financial performance, in keeping with the increase in societal interest in sustainability. Sustainability reporting, the reporting of these three elements of performance, has become known as Triple Bottom Line Reporting.

    Traditional reporting by businesses has focused on reporting the financial effects of transactions between entities. Recently there has been a shift in business reporting to the incorporation of social elements.

    It is pointed out that accountants have a major part to play in Triple Bottom LineReporting. This led to the investigation into the level of preparedness of accountants for the challenges of Triple Bottom Line Reporting.

    The thesis examines the education programs for aspiring accountants in Australia. It also examines the continuing professional development/education programs for existing members of the Australian professional accounting bodies.

    The importance of sustainability and its implications for Triple Bottom LineReporting and the relevance of the financial reporting framework to Triple Bottom Line Reporting are addressed.

    In addition to identifying the requirements of Triple Bottom Line Reporting and the role of accountants in the process, the thesis identifies and discusses the responses of accounting educators and the professional accounting bodies to environmental and social accounting issues, such responses being the inclusion in (or exclusion from) education courses/programs of topics relevant to Triple Bottom Line Reporting.

    The principal findings of this research are that:1. The education process for aspiring accountants is such that, as part of theirstudies, many graduates from the process will have had minimal or no exposure to environmental and social accounting and reporting issues.

    2. The professional accounting bodies are offering little or no assistance to existing accountants with regard to the environmental and social performance reporting elements of Triple Bottom Line Reporting.
    Date of AwardApr 2001
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRam Vemuri (Supervisor)

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