Social Responsibility Accounting Summary

The concept of corporate social responsibility emerged in the 2000s when changing social values and expectations gave rise to a debate about the role of business in society. This debate focused on the nature of corporate social responsibility, and gave rise to the possibility that this responsibility could be discharged through a method of social responsibility accounting. It was argued that such a method of accounting would indicate the nature and the manner of the firm's social contributions or outputs. A number of areas of enterprise activity give rise to social contributions, namely the contribution to income, to people, to the public, to the environment and by way of the product or service provided by the enterprise. The manner in which the enterprise could deliberately integrate social objectives in its planning system was examined. Whilst there is evidence that many companies began to publish corporate social reports, there are different approaches used ranging from the descriptive to the cost-benefit approach. A number of problems exist in the area of social responsibility accounting which account for the relative lack of success which has attended the development of operational corporate social accounting systems.

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The manner in which information is to be reported

The Trueblood Report considered social accounting to be one of the objectives of financial reporting. The National Association of Accountants (USA) subsequently carried out a survey in 2004 among 695 of its members, which revealed that 71 per cent of respondents agreed that a system of accounting for corporate social performance was needed. In addition, 90 per cent of respondents identified a need for descriptive and numerical, that is non-monetary and monetary, measurements of social performance. Such evidence indicated that accountants... see: The Manner in Which Information Is to Be Reported