Company News » Software counts CO2 footprint

A software firm has responded to companies’ increased awareness of climate
change by releasing accounting technology that calculates carbon output from
business operations.

Unveiled by Access Accounting at London’s Softworld Accounting and Finance
exhibition, the new software – a bolt-on to its existing Dimension accounting
technology suite – makes its estimations on the carbon output of a company by
linking every business transaction, manually entered into the system, with the
amount of carbon every business transaction results in.

Air miles, car journey fuel usage, water and energy consumption can all be
tallied up and an overall emissions total calculated. Access’ system requests an
extra line of information in addition to the usual accounting stuff for receipts
and bills, allowing the user to input kilowatts totted up as a result of those
and the total cost.

Calculating emissions
The firm worked with the Carbon Trust and the Department for Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs in developing the carbon output counting software, devising a
baseline for the system’s emissions calculations from a mix of data supplied by
both partners.

John Beech, managing director of Access Accounting, believes there is an
unserviced gap in the market and that it became clear that “there was a lack of
practical tools out there”. He adds that by allowing businesses to measure their
carbon footprint, the new technology would enable them to look at reducing it
and make cost savings throughout the business.

“Increasing taxes are being levied on high carbon-emitting business
activities, so the ability to manage them makes financial sense,” says Beech.
“The challenge has always been where to start and the answer is measurement –
after all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

The system could be useful to calculate future long-term emission reductions,
but a firm’s finance function would have to take the time to enter in to the
system all its previous accounts to see their previous carbon tallies.

Access is currently looking to patent the technology, which for those already
using Dimension can be added free of charge.