EFAA – IFAC Webinar: Sustainability Offers New Opportunities for SMPs


The video of the event is available here

English with simultaneous translation into Spanish and French

Sustainability is not just about the environment. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), defines sustainability as “a commitment to eradicate poverty and achieve a sustainable world by 2030 and beyond, with human well-being and a healthy planet at its core.” Sustainable development is a core principle of the Treaty on European Union and a priority objective for the Union’s internal and external policies.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) collectively account for a significant, if not majority, share of environmental and social impacts by private sector business. Consequently SMEs, and the small- and medium-sized accountancy practices (SMPs) that provide professional services to them, stand to play a vital role in making economies worldwide sustainable. The focus on business resilience and survival has become even more critical due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has also contributed to putting certain social issues further in the spotlight.

It is important for SMPs to continue to focus on practice transformation and providing relevant and value-added services to their clients. Sustainability offers an opportunity to broaden their service provision and help their clients/employers improve the way they run their businesses. Applying the same principles to the practice itself can help accountants improve the way they run their own businesses as well.

This webinar event will cover recent developments focused on SMPs and SMEs and involve a distinguished panel covering how SMPs can get started and examples of those taking action in this growing area.


14:00 Introductory Remarks
Christopher Arnold, Head of SME/SMP and Research, IFAC

14:05 Overview of IFAC’s Publication ‘Sustainability Information for Small Businesses – the Opportunity for Practitioners’
Christopher Arnold
, Head of SME/SMP and Research, IFAC

14:15 Role of SMPs in Sustainability
Salvador Marin
, EFAA President

14:25 ACCA and CA ANZ publication ‘SME Sustainability playbook’
Aleksandra Zaronina, Head of SME Professional Insights, ACCA

14:35 Panel Discussion
Monica Foerster, Partner at Confidor & Chair of IFAC’s SMP Advisory Group
Johnson Kong, Managing Director of BDO Hong Kong and Deputy Chair of IFAC’s SMP Advisory Group
Caroline Harridence, B Leader, Finance Director for Purpose Led SMEs
Sarah Whale, Financial Sustainability Consultant and Founder of Profit Impact
Mark de Lat, Partner at Eshuis Accountants and Advisors

15:05 Questions & Answers (including audience polling)
Paul Thompson, EFAA Director, and Kristy Illuzzi, Principal of SME/SMP, IFAC

15:25 Closing Remarks
Paul Thompson, EFAA Director and Christopher Arnold, Head of SME/SMP and Research, IFAC

Please note that this webinar will be recorded. By attending this webinar, you grant the organizers the right to use the recorded material for non-commercial purposes. If you wish to object to this, please contact the organizers.


Professional Accountants Leading Reporting and Assurance on Sustainability , IFAC
IFAC Urges Stakeholders to Prepare Now for Global Sustainability Standards, IFAC
Practice Transformation Action Plan – A Road Map to the Future, IFAC
SMPs Supporting Sustainability, EFAA


Sarah Whale is passionate about creating long-term value through sustainability. Sarah leads on sustainability matters for ACCA in The Practice Room – global peer to peer community discussions dedicated to supporting small and medium sized practices. She is a member of sustainavistas a network of sustainability professionals committed to generating sustainable impact, and founder of profit impact which helps small and medium sized businesses measure and grow positive social, environmental and financial impacts.

Caroline Harridence is an experienced finance professional with over 25 years’ experience and is a member of the ICAEW and ACCA. Having trained with PwC, she now runs her own advisory firm where she provides portfolio FD services and works with businesses across many industry sectors. As well as acting as a finance director for her clients, she is also very active in supporting businesses improve their social and environmental impact and sustainability. Having taken her own company through the B Corp certification process, Caroline has gone on to train as a B Leader and now supports other businesses and other accountancy practises to achieve their B Corp Status and supports them once they are certified. She also works with organisations to develop and achieve their social and environmental goals.

Mark de Lat is a partner at Eshuis Accountants and Advisors and his mission is to create better businesses for a better world. With his 25 years of experience as a strategy consultant, he helps SMEs with the development of sustainable business models and uses B Corp terminology. Together with his colleagues, he has developed an “impact accounting” service line. Eshuis “impact accounting” offers integrated solutions to fullfil sustainability ambitions of their SME clients, including helping SMEs address the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

Monica Foerster became Chair of the IFAC SMP Advisory Group (SMPAG) in 2017, after serving as its Deputy Chair. A SMPAG member since 2014, she was nominated by Conselho Federal de Contabilidade (CFC) and Instituto dos Auditores Independentes do Brasil (IBRACON). With 20 years of experience in the accountancy profession, Ms. Foerster is a partner at Confidor, an accounting, tax, and law firm with offices in Porto Alegre and São Paulo, Brazil. Monica is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Ibracon Brazil (where she was the SMP Director and coordinator of the SMP Working Group for 6 years). She is the coordinator of the Committee of Audit Studies (“Comissão de Estudos de Auditoria”) from the Accounting Council (CRCRS).

Johnson Kong was appointed as a Member of the Small and Medium Practices Advisory Group in November 2017. He was nominated by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“HKICPA”). He chairs the SMP Business Support Task Force of the SMPAG. Mr. Kong has over 30 years of professional accounting experience and specializes in restructuring, insolvency, forensic and litigation support works. He is the Managing Director of BDO Hong Kong, a Firm which he has been with for over 30 years, and responsible for all its non-Assurance services. He is the Immediate Past President of HKICPA and a Past President of the Hong Kong Institute of Accredited Accounting Technicians and an ex-Executive Board Member of INSOL. He is currently a Council Member of HKICPA and the Chair of its Greater Bay Area Committee. He has also held many government appointments and, amongst others, is a current member of the Securities and Futures Appeals Tribunal and the Operations Review Committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Salvador Marin‘s professional background spans academia, business and practice. As a practicing economist and adviser, he has gained considerable experience in financial economics, financial information and non-financial reporting and extensive national and international experience in strategic consulting, economics, internationalisation, financial and non-financial reporting and the management of SMEs and financial institutions. Presently he is the managing partner of a boutique practice of national and international accountants and advisers, member of the Board of Directors of a Spanish company with responsibility for international affairs, senior advisor in a venture capital Company, and General Coordinator for International Professional Regulation at the General Council of Economists of Spain (CGE). Marin boasts substantial international experience gained through his tenure as CEO of COFIDES, the Spanish Development Finance Institution and member of the Boards of Directors of EDFI, and has held positions in the field of Public Management, having served as a regional government minister in Spain. Author of over one hundred books, articles and papers on financial information and non-financial reporting, Marin has experience as a lecturer at university and at several national and international business schools. Marin holds a Doctorate in Economics and Business Administration, specialising in Financial Information. Marin is a Certified Accounting Expert at the Spanish Register of Accounting Experts.

Aleksandra Zaronina-Kirillova is head of SME professional insights at ACCA. She develops research and advises on policy issues for ACCA related to SME/SMP (Small and Medium Enterprise / Small and Medium Practices). She is the joint author of ACCA’s recent reports on careers opportunities in small practice sector, broader social and economic role of SMPs and new models of business support. Aleksandra is also leading work on ACCA’s global hub with SMP content (Practice Connect) and Global SMP community- the Practice Room. Prior to joining ACCA, Aleksandra represented SME sector at high level international events and developed joint research with the United Nations agencies, Oxford Economics, and Organisation of American States.

Paul Thompson is EFAA Director and a consultant dedicated to thought leadership and development of the global accountancy profession. From 2004 to 2016 Mr. Thompson worked for IFAC latterly as Director, Global Accountancy Profession Support, a role that extended to overseeing the IFAC Global Knowledge Gateway, research and innovation, and activities in support of small- and medium-sized practices (SMP) and professional accountants in business (PAIB). He advises developing professional accountancy organisations in Europe and Asia. Previously Mr. Thompson worked for Touche Ross & Co., London before going on to lecture on corporate reporting and analysis at universities in the UK, Singapore, and Malaysia. He has a number of publications in academic journals and the professional press in the areas of ethical finance, corporate reporting, corporate governance, integrated reporting, practice management and the future of the profession.

Christopher Arnold is the head of SME/SMP and Research at IFAC. He was previously an Audit Manager for Deloitte and qualified as an accountant in a mid-tier accountancy practice in London (now called PKF-Littlejohn). Christopher started his career as a Small Business Policy Adviser at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).