Financial accounting has been around for as long as we can remember - internal accountants, external accountancy firms, financial ERPs and now the use of process automation and AI to drive the right information and reporting that companies and investors expect.
Step up sustainability reporting/accounting and the need to follow fast to meet both investor and consumer scrutiny. The need for trustworthy data and clear insight is imperative.
This is where we all have an interim challenge:- whilst there are lots of financial accountants around (financial accounting was people led initially and then technology helped drive improvements), the volume of experienced sustainability resources is no where near on the same scale and so companies are rightly leveraging the maturity of AI and technology led data collection to provide the service.
Clearly the answer to tech or people is that you need both - to scale the visibility and accuracy of sustainability reporting to meet our customer and end consumer expectations, sustainability reporting will need to learn from the robust financial reporting and KPI models in place, but will also need to use tech and AI to accelerate in a timeline that financial reporting didn't have to worry about.
It's a fantastic period of time for our business leaders to be tech led - to enable the expertise from the sustainability specialists to scale, using the data harvesting and analytics which modern technology provides.
Even better is that if any of us find we are missing, or short on, either the people sustainability expertise, or the technology knowhow, then there are partners who can help us scale to meet our sustainability reporting needs and vision.
Step forward the bots. According to recent research by U.S. tech giant Oracle, more than 93% of business leaders would trust artificial intelligence more than a human to make a sustainability decision.