Meet Sumday Certified Advisor, Alyssa Mahar

June 23, 2023
5 min read

Tell us about your role at ER Advisory?

Over the last year at ER Advisory, my primary role has been assisting clients to measure, manage and reduce emissions across their supply chain, in line with the global standards.

How did you start with carbon accounting, how did you build the skills to prepare emissions assessments for your clients? 

I first started to learn how to complete a carbon emissions assessment by reading through the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and additional guidance documents on how to calculate scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. 

Whilst reading through the guidance I was able to gain hands-on experience alongside a partner at the firm, working with a group of tourism industry clients to complete baseline emissions assessments.

Most recently, I completed the Sumday advisors certification course, which really broke down the individual components of an emissions assessment and what the best approach is to calculating these emissions. The course was made up of 18 modules, at the end of each I was able to complete a short quiz which really helped me gauge my understanding of the content.

I’ve found learning on the go coupled with the completion of the certification course has been the most beneficial learning tools for me to date.

What kind of clients do you provide carbon accounting services for?

I have been working closely with clients across a variety of industries and sizes.

Our clients are currently in the Mining, Tourism, Tech, Hospitality, Agriculture and Local Government sectors. 

We work with micro businesses such as Airbnb providers, two person small businesses up to luxury hotels, large private organisations in industry and state owned companies. No matter the size of the client, we are finding that they see value in this service. 

Most businesses want to understand their impact and they want help to do this properly. For some it's about reporting up the chain, for others its part of being prepared for forecast changes in procurement practices from their customers and some want to market the great work they are doing to be as sustainable as possible and they need the data behind them to do that. 

How important is it to you that your firm provides this service?

I believe it is important for the firm to continue providing this service to clients as it is becoming increasingly important in today’s business landscape. Carbon Accounting has a crucial part in addressing climate change, it allows companies to understand their carbon footprint and identify opportunities to reduce these greenhouse gas emissions. As well as assisting businesses to manage their environmental impact, carbon accounting services can provide clients with the support to comply with regulations, meet growing stakeholder expectations, reduce costs and gain a competitive advantage. We think we are best placed to support clients as trusted advisors. 

What do you think the future of carbon accounting looks like for accountants?

I think the future of carbon accounting looks promising for accountants, as more and more businesses each day recognise the importance of managing their environmental impact and seek expertise in this area. 

Carbon accounting is likely to become more integrated with financial reporting with many companies already reporting on their carbon emissions and sustainability performance within their annual reports. 

Accountants will need to meet this change in demand by having a good understanding of sustainability reporting standards and frameworks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Science Based Targets Initiative, wth accounting standards on the way from the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board. 

Overall, the future of carbon accounting for accountants looks bright, with increasing demand for the services, technological advancements, integration with financial reporting, collaboration with other professionals and regulatory developments all shaping this movement.

What would you say to accountants at your level who are interested in learning about carbon accounting?

I’m undertaking my CPA and I’ve been an accountant for around four and a half years. If you are an accountant at my level interested in learning about carbon accounting, here are some suggestions;

  1. Start by learning the basics (Sumday has a great introductory course): Carbon accounting is a complex and technical field, so it's important to start with the basics. This may involve reading introductory materials, taking an online course, or attending a workshop or seminar.
  1. Familiarise yourself with sustainability reporting frameworks and read the GHG Protocol (you’ll see how closely aligned concepts are to traditional accounting)
  1. Get hands-on experience: Practice makes perfect, so try to gain hands-on experience with carbon accounting by working with clients.
  1. Build a network: Building a network of contacts in the field of carbon accounting can help you to stay up-to-date on the latest developments, learn from others, and potentially identify new business opportunities.

Overall, learning about carbon accounting requires a combination of education, hands-on experience, and networking. By taking these steps, I think you can gain the skills and knowledge needed to become an effective carbon accountant and help organisations to manage their environmental impact.

How have you found using Sumday at your firm?

We use Sumday to prepare emissions assessments for clients. Sumday gives us confidence that we are providing accurate and transparent information, their technical help desk has also been useful in answering our questions.

The tools and resources available to us have had a large impact on the progression of this service at ER and one of the key reasons we’ve been able to continue growing this service. 

Sumday has given us the resources/ ability to present results in an interactive format to clients, making the presentation of assessment results an interactive experience with clients rather than just a pdf document. And we’re really looking forward to the upcoming features that will continue to streamline this service offering for us!