ASSESSING THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING ON CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY OF BUSINESSES IN BUEA
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The role of professional accountants is becoming increasingly important to the organization as
it is in a unique position at the intersection of all departments and areas of activity, and has the
ability and authority to set standards, develop models and generate information reportedly,
bringing the organization into line with the principles of sustainable development. The topic of
this study is “Assessing the Role of Financial Accounting On Corporate Sustainability of
Businesses in Buea”.
The main objective of this study was to examine the role of financial
accounting on corporate sustainability of business in Buea. The research was conducted using
primary data. Data was collected using questionnaires issued to 40 respondents from purposely
selected businesses in Buea. Stratified sampling technique was used to choose the sample size
and the respondents were accounting and finance related personnel’s. Both qualitative and
quantitative analyses were used with surveys.
To ease the interpretation of data, descriptive
statistics were used. Correlation was used to analyse data gotten from the field so as to test the
null hypothesis and to determine the significant role of financial accounting on business
sustainability in Buea. Graphs, pie charts and tables were used to represent the results. The main
finding of the study is that, financial reporting, analysis, recommendations along disclosure has
a positive relationship on the sustainability of businesses in Buea.
1.1 Background to The Study
In recent years, financial accounting has gain more importance in all profit and non-profit
establishment world-wide. Evolving from its traditional basics of single entry form of
book-keeping to a double entry system of recording business transactions in books of
prime entry, posting them in to respective ledger accounts of which balances are struck
and trial balances prepared from them and out of which annual profit and loss account and
balance sheet of a business concern are prepared.
The role of financial accounting in ensuring business sustainability spans from the process
of book-keeping to the preparation of periodic financial reports for user’s consumption.
Decision makers rely on the reports for diverse business plans, analysts rely on the end
product of all financial accounting functions in an organisation to make well-informed
decisions that will assist their clients on the strength and weaknesses of an entity. These
numerous functions of accounting profession are expected to be done in accordance with
relevance regulatory and statutory demands at both public and private entities although
with different regulatory frameworks.
The term accounting has been popularly referred to as language of business. American
Accounting Association-AAA (2012) puts accounting as the process of identifying,
measuring and communicating economic information to permit informed judgment and
decisions by users of the information. Drawing from these definition, Financial
Accounting have prominent role in ensuring business sustainability. This is because if at
the end of the accounting period accounting data is not coded into informative information,
it could lead to poor decision and judgment and hence, corporate failure.
Also, financial accounting represents the core point of focus among others in every
accounting system which contributes densely to the smooth and objective functioning of
companies‟ Information and Communication system. While pursuing long term
objectives, its internal control framework benefits from such strength to provide
reasonable assurance to most category of short term objectives such as securing company
assets and providing reliable data.
Financial Accounting functions are problem solving activities or responsibilities of
accounting profession in an organisation which will help to drive business entity towards
attaining its goals (Baskerville, 2008)
Thus, Financial accounting functions include, systematic keeping of transaction’s records
(provide and ensure reliable data), safeguarding properties of business (through internal
audits), communicating the results to various parties (i.e. reporting) as well as meeting
legal requirements (government measures).
In broad sense, Business sustainability can be described as responsible business growth;
not only making decisions with long-term financial future of the business in mind; but also
ones that are designed to protect the natural environment and that seek to make positive
impact in the social, cultural and economic environment.
The SASB connects business and investors on the financial impacts of sustainability whose
mission is to help businesses around the world to identify, manage and report on the
sustainability topics that matter most to their investors.
Business landscape is changing to include a greater emphasis on the broad definition of
sustainability, including social and environmental considerations rather than just economic
sustainability (Chartered Global Management Accountants-CGMA, 2013). According to
CGMA, business sustainability not only serves altruistic motives, but is also smart
business because it can deliver higher profits.
Corporate sustainability objectives and measures have varied from company to company
for the past years, In Africa, Cameroon has been highlighted (Rampersad and Skinner,
2014) as one of the countries in which large businesses promote practices of Sustainability
as Corporate Social Responsibilities primarily through philanthropic projects in Health,
Education and poverty reduction. Several business sectors are involved in development
initiatives to create employment and generate sources of income, examples of such large
businesses are; Eneo, MTN, and SGBC who have taken discretionary measures to improve
living conditions of the local population.
Since long during periods of colonial periods in Cameroon, corporate sustainability
measures existed although it wasn’t recognised. An example was the Cameroon
Development Corporation (CDC) created during the German Colonial period and now
they are the second highest employer after the government with a network of hospitals,
recreational and educational facilities which the local communities benefit from it.
It is pertinent to know that several factors are responsible for corporate sustainability
(Financial and Non-Financial; leadership and followership; organisation structure, internal
audit, context and management; reporting style, adequate disclosure, accountability and
Financial accounting on its own provides short term feedback in a number of the listed
areas above which represents possible threats on the possibilities a company has to engage
into a successful corporate sustainability. It can therefore be constructed that financial
accounting are the means while corporate sustainability is the end.
1.2 Problem Statement