In 2013, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) issued a paper that encouraged accountants to use their expertise and skills to “help an organization link sustainability activity to strategies using accounting measures, tools, theories, and techniques” AICPA (Oct. 2013 page 6). Later that same year, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) added “diversity, sustainable development, environmental sustainability, and other emerging corporate and social responsibility issues” to its accreditation standards for accounting programs AACSB (2013). All along sustainability, accounting continued to grow in importance, as evidenced by the percentage of S&P 500 companies that issue sustainability reports, having grown from 20% in 2011 to 92% in 2020, according to Hart (2018) and the Governance and Accountability Institute, Inc. (2021). Thus, accounting programs have been called upon to, and have real-world evidence of the need to, add education in sustainability accounting and reporting to their curriculums. Yet, the research conducted for this article shows that less than 11% of AACSB accredited Accountancy programs are offering even a single course that includes the words ‘Sustainability’; ‘Environmental’; Corporate Responsibility, or ‘Social Responsibility’ in its title at either the undergraduate or graduate levels, as of the spring of 2022. This 11% was an improvement from the 2% noted by Pippin et al. (2016); however, it is still a very low level.
This article goes on to describe, through an analysis of students’ responses to a pre-and post-course survey, how the inclusion of a sustainability accounting and reporting course in a university’s accounting curriculum fostered changes in the students’ appreciation for the different dimensions of responsibilities and opportunities they will encounter as future accounting professionals and society’s future business leaders. This article encourages other higher education institutions (HEI) to add such courses to their accounting curriculum both by showing the benefits experienced by the students and by providing information for such a course’s structure, content, and grading.
Coville, Timothy G.
"The Neglected Need for and the Effects of Sustainability in Accounting Curriculum,"
Journal of Global Awareness: Vol. 4:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholar.stjohns.edu/jga/vol4/iss1/5