Note by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida
Social accounting is a fairly broad topic. According to Estes, stakeholder accounting might be a better term for the concept because it involves the interests of employees, customers, suppliers, financial investors, neighboring communities and society at large.
Social accounting includes pollution and environmental issues as one might expect, but many other issues as well. Some of these issues include:
unsafe products and work places,
cost padding and fraud in defense contracting,
corporate bulling of communities,
racism, and the exploitation of women and other groups.
Although accounting has generally ignored non-stockholder stakeholders, many organizations produce reports about corporations. I have included a few of these groups in MAAW's Social Accounting links section. According to Estes, the movement toward a new social accounting is needed and underway, but few accountants are involved. However, accountants have the potential to lead the way and create a new accounting for stakeholders. The accounting profession can rise to its potential and make a real contribution to society, or sink into irrelevancy.
For more on this article See Velynda Wickerson's Summary.
English, D. M. and D. K. Schooley. 2014. The evolution of sustainability reporting. The CPA Journal (March): 26-35. (Summary).
Esquire. 2015. America: These are your choices. Esquire (December/January): 149-153, 160-161, 164, 168. (Summary - This is a summary of ten questions related to the most critical choices for America based on information from the Brookings Institution).
Gleeson-White, J. 2015. Six Capitals, or Can Accountants Save the Planet?: Rethinking Capitalism for the Twenty-First Century. W. W. Norton & Company. (Note).
Handy, C. 2002. What's a business for? Harvard Business Review (December): 49-55. (Summary).
Johnson, H. T. 2006. Sustainability and "Lean Operations". Cost Management (March/April): 40-45. (Summary).
Johnson, H. T. 2012. A global system growing itself to death - and what we can do about it. The Systems Thinker (May): 2-6. (Summary).
Jones, A. III. and G. A. Jonas. 2011. Corporate social responsibility reporting: The growing need for input from the accounting profession. The CPA Journal (February): 65-71. (Summary).
Martin, J. R. Not dated. Russell Ackoff: What is a system? Videos. (Note).
Schooley, D. K. and D. M. English. 2015. SASB: A pathway to sustainability reporting in the United States. The CPA Journal (April): 22-27. (Summary).