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From Pivot Magazine

‘Every CPA should have a say in shaping our profession’s future’

As we work to build a resilient and impactful profession, we now look to you for valuable input, writes Pamela Steer, CPA Canada’s president and CEO

Over the past few months, I have found myself immersed in inspiring collaborative discussions with global counterparts, with a shared vision to establish a global baseline of disclosure standards that will help to hold companies and nations accountable for their climate outcomes.

It was an honour to represent Canadian CPAs on the global stage at events such as the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai and the GLOBE Forum in Vancouver.

I had the privilege of providing a Canadian perspective on pressing global challenges and was encouraged by the constructive conversations I had with other business leaders in attendance at both events about how sustainable finance and global sustainability standards can drive meaningful climate action.

As a capacity-building partner with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), CPA Canada champions the widespread use and adoption of the ISSB’s standards. At the national level, this support extends to the Canadian Sustainability Standards Board as it works to tailor the standards for the Canadian marketplace.

This month marks the commencement of the CSSB’s public consultations on draft standards, a dynamic initiative rooted in the influential S1 and S2 standards pioneered by the ISSB just last year. As I witness Canada’s unwavering leadership in integrating the ISSB standards into our local fabric, I’m filled with hope that together, we can have a lasting impact on the planet.

CPA Canada has long been a recognized leader in sustainability, committed to providing CPAs, governments, businesses and investors with the guidance and support they need for navigating the new realities of sustainability reporting.

Most recently, our organization has contributed to the IFRS Sustainability Knowledge Hub, formally launched at COP28. With contributions from more than 120 organizations worldwide, CPA Canada’s resources are among the top five most accessed through the platform. This speaks volumes about the value of and trust in our thought leadership.

We are also pleased to facilitate conversations in pursuit of global biodiversity targets. CPA Canada has partnered with the Institute for Sustainable Finance as Canadian co-convenors of the Task Force on Nature Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), tasked with co-ordinating a nationwide consultation group for fostering transparency around nature-related risks and opportunities.

It is important to remember, however, that sustainability extends far beyond the realms of climate change and environmental stewardship.

As CPAs, we must adopt a more holistic approach to sustainability to ensure not only the resilience of our planet, but also the enduring strength and relevance of our profession in an ever-changing world.

In the March-April edition of Pivot, you’ll find powerful examples of CPAs from across the country who are embracing this need for adaptability and agility.

Just as conversations about sustainability involve working through competing priorities and diverse perspectives, so too do discussions on the future of our profession require working across differences to create a sustainable future together.

I wholeheartedly believe that every CPA should have a say in shaping the future of our profession.

We have also heard resoundingly about the value members place on consultation and the importance of our role in supporting the profession. In fact, 91 per cent of respondents to our recent member poll highlighted the desire to be consulted and 89 per cent supported a national accounting body.

Over the coming months, we will enter a period of consultation with members to hear more and to help inform decisions as we work to build a resilient and future-focused organization that best serves members’ interests.

I am amazed each day by the tremendous work being done by members, partners and stakeholders, nationally and internationally, to strengthen our profession and amplify its influence.

Your expertise and dedication to excellence are the bedrock of our profession’s collective success and stellar reputation internationally.

Now, we are asking for your valuable contributions, your expertise and experience, in service of shaping a future-proof national organization that nurtures and reflects your leadership in tackling some of the most important changes impacting society. 

Photo caption: Ninety-one per cent of respondents to CPA Canada’s recent member poll highlighted the desire to be consulted about shaping our future (Getty Images)