Experiential Activities

It’s time to progress from our introductory educational activities to our experiential activities. By this time, you should have completed (or should be close to completing) your four hours of reading texts and watching videos.

Please look out for my (i.e. Mike Kraten’s) email outreach later this weekend. I’d like to chat with you by email or by phone (whatever is more convenient for you) about your questions, your interests, and your preferences in regards to our experiential activities.

We continue to receive suggestions from our Certificate candidates about topics for our experiential activities, and — as always! — we welcome all ideas. Thus, please don’t hesitate to let us know if you’d prefer to explore a topic that differs from the four activities that initially inspired our quartet of educational assignments.

Our game plan is to conduct these individual conversations during the next week or two, and then to bring us all together (if possible) for a broader conversation at the end of this month or early next month. After that, we’ll roll up our sleeves and begin our developmental work.

Reviewing Our Options

Please relax! We don’t have any additional reading assignments to peruse this week. Instead, it’s time to look back at the previous four weeks of material and review our options.

Those four topics encompassed The Accounting Framework, Human Capital, Integrated Reporting, and Portfolio Assessment. They represent the four sectors of sustainability that our RISCPA Committee focused on this past year, and thus they were natural choices for our reading assignments.

However, we are not required to follow the same road during the upcoming year. Some of our colleagues, for instance, are suggesting that we merge the Accounting Framework and Integrated Reporting initiatives. And others are suggesting that we add an initiative in support of a sustainable development activity here in Rhode Island.

Before we delve into such new options, though, it would be helpful to reflect on what we’ve read thus far, and identify our interests and preferences. So, for this week, we simply ask that you do so.

To what end? Well, next week, I (i.e. Mike Kraten) will reach out to each of you personally for a conversation about your thoughts and preferences. Then we’ll assess our common areas of interest, and we’ll schedule group conversations to create our collaborative teams for our experiential activities.

In other words, we’re about to shift into a more interactive mode of participation! For this week, though, let’s simply think about our options, and prepare for our conversations with Mike.

Portfolio Assessment

Are you getting a little tired of these one hour weekly reading assignments? Would you like to progress to our discussion of our experiential projects?

Please hang in there! This is the final week of reading assignments. Once we complete it, we’ll possess all the knowledge we need to make informed decisions about selecting our projects.

As you know, during our first three weeks, we expanded our perspective from individual elements of sustainability to a holistic project-wide (or organization-wide) perspective. This week, we’ll embrace an even broader perspective by learning how investors create portfolios of projects (or organizations) that optimize sustainable value.

With this goal in mind, please read an article that our RISCPA Sustainable Value Committee Chair Joy Poland wrote for New Metrics in May 2015. It is entitled Creating More Value, Profit with 21st-Century Financial Statements — and CPAs.

Do you see an embedded photograph in that article? Of a gentlemen named Paul Herman? Paul is also a member of our Committee; his firm rates portfolios of equity investments with sustainability metrics.

Please read an article that Paul co-wrote for Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit entitled How Millennials Are Leading Change in the 21st Century. It discusses the evaluation of 401(k) portfolios with a focus on environmental protection.

Finally, for a glimpse of a nonprofit approach to the portfolio assessment process, please go to the home page of the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) of an organization called Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). Watch the two minute video entitled What Is IRIS?, and skim the text content on that home page.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions about these assignments. And once again, because we value your time, please let us know if this reading activity takes you longer than one hour.

Integrated Reporting

Our first two sets of readings were pretty diverse, weren’t they? Two weeks ago, we read about the valuation impact of the technology-driven Apple brand. And last week, we shifted gears and read about the valuation impact of people-driven human capital.

Now it’s time to pull together these (and other) individual assessments of organizational resources into integrated frameworks of value. After all, without aggregate methods of assessing value, we have no way of understanding the synergies (and trade-offs) that inevitably occur when we allocate our resources among different options.

Because we always embrace the concept of personal choice, we are going to ask you to select one of two different options for this week’s reading assignment. You can read an article that appeared in the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance entitled Intangibles and Sustainability: Holistic Approaches to Measuring and Managing Value Creation. Or you can read an article that appeared in the CPA Journal entitled Sustainability: The Accounting Perspective.

You can access the articles by clicking on the Documents link in our program blog and downloading the PDF document entitled Integrated Reporting. The two articles are saved, one after the other, in that single document.

Each article will give you a clear understanding of various initiatives that are now underway to quantify the aggregate impact of sustainability considerations on organizational value. Although each article tends to focus on a different set of initiatives, they both address the economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainability.

Next week, we’ll take an even broader view of sustainability and consider how such concerns are assessed within portfolios of different capital investments. And shortly thereafter, we’ll come together as a group to discuss our interests, to answer our questions, and to select sub-committees for our experiential activities.

This week, though, we’ll spend another hour on these weekly readings. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to convey your thoughts and impressions of our assignments.

Human Capital

Are you ready for a change of topic? It’s time to put aside our readings about the Accounting Framework and shift to a very different perspective of sustainability. This week, we’ll review the field of human capital.

Different disciplines have produced very different models of human capital. A uniquely cross-disciplinary model, one that is being jointly developed by the human resources industry, the accounting industry, and other sectors, is called Valuing Your Talent. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and other organizations are collaborating on this initiative to:

“help employers, investors and other stakeholders understand how people management, measurement and reporting can help organizations release and drive value.”

To learn more about this model, please read the web page entitled The Valuing Your Talent Framework, being careful to click on (and then read) the text boxes for Inputs, Activities, Outputs, Outcomes, and Risk Assessment. Then scroll down to the bottom of the web page and click on the Interactive Framework box to launch the app.

On the following web page, please view the 1 minute and 39 second introductory video, and then read through to the bottom of the page. Finally, please skim the case study web page and glance through one or two organizational write-ups.

As always, we expect that you will need no longer than one hour to review this material. Of course, we value your time very much, and we ask that you let us know if this estimate is inaccurate.

Once we complete this activity, we will be halfway through our review of the four topics that are listed on our Experiential Activities web page. Early next month, after we conclude our review of the remaining two topics , we’ll get together for an online discussion of this content. Then we’ll ask each of you to select a topic for further analysis.

At the moment, though, we’ll simply continue to lay our groundwork with these overview-style readings. We do hope that you’re enjoying your stroll through the discipline of sustainability!

Accounting Framework

Thank you for signing up for our Program! If you review the Experiential Activities web page of our blog, you’ll see that we are providing you with four topic choices in the hope that at least one will attract your interest.

During each of the next four weeks, we’ll provide you with a very brief text that illustrates one of these choices. Professionals with relevant expertise will be in touch with you to answer your questions, and (at the conclusion of this four week period) we will ask you to make a tentative topic choice.

This week, we request that you click on the Documents link in our blog menu and download a PDF file entitled Accounting Framework. It is the first of the four topics that are listed on our Experiential Activities web page, and it should take you no longer than one hour to read it.

Just to reiterate … if you have enrolled in our Professional Certificate program in Sustainable Value, Michael Kraten of the RISCPA will reach out to you this week to answer your questions. If you have not enrolled in our program, you are always welcome to follow along and let us know if you have any questions about our activities.

Signing Up

Welcome to our Professional Certificate program in Sustainable Value! We are delighted that you are interested in joining what we believe is the world’s first such program that focuses on the impact of sustainability factors on organization and project valuations.

Our initial request is a very simple one. Please go to our project web site at riscpa.wordpress.com, find the “Messages Via Email” app, and enter your email address. You should receive a confirmation message within 24 hours.

This email message is posted on our web site, and all future email messages will be posted there as well. We are utilizing email to transmit program information, although your educational and experiential activities will require you to utilize other technology platforms too.

We request that you complete this task by Friday, May 6th. We will then follow up with a subsequent message.

Once again, welcome to our program!