EFAA Article: The role of small‑ and medium‑sized practices in the sustainable transition of SMEs

By Esther Ortiz (EFAA Special Advisor), Salvador Marín and Paul Thompson

European and global economies are committed to accelerating their sustainable transition. An important goal in realising this transition is to get robust corporate sustainability reporting. In this way, this paper focuses on the recent European developments setting new legislation and standards. Specifically, a survey questionnaire from a focus group of accounting experts examines the future role of small- and medium-sized accountancy practices (SMPs) in enabling this transition. The experts are all members of the European Federation of Accountants and Auditors for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (EFAA). With its focus on SMPs, this paper performs a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the responses obtained. Finally, it explores the influence of years of experience on the practices´ opinions. The findings indicate that SMPs are ready to fulfil this emerging role, which will demand significant reskilling. Also, the more experienced the SMPs, the more likely small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are to seek their advice, are more conscious about sustainability practices, and advise their SME clients accordingly. As a theoretical contribution, this manuscript fills a noticeable gap in the research literature. The background mainly focuses on large companies and lacks a study of the essential role SMPs can play in the European sustainability landscape. As a practical contribution, the need for the support of professional accountancy organisations to help SMPs in this significant reskilling can be highlighted.

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