Shari Littan, CPA, JD, IMA manager of corporate reporting technical activities, will speak on the topic of sustainable business as part of an upcoming virtual conference on the subject. The conference, Integrate 2020, is being organized by Sustainable Brands and SOCAP Global, and is scheduled for November 9-10, 2020. It will center on transforming the role of finance and investment decisions within organizations through the integrated lens of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment and innovation.  

Littan will discuss “Finance Function Partnering for the Integration of Sustainability in Business” at a conference pre-webinar on September 24 at 1 p.m. EDT. She will be joined by Dr. Kristine Brands, assistant professor of management, U.S. Air Force Academy, and an active IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) volunteer leader. Attendance at this webinar is free: register here

In their talk, Littan and Brands will discuss their in-depth interviews with professionals in finance, accounting, investor relations, and corporate responsibility regarding the role of the CFO and finance function at companies that have made significant progress in their sustainable business journeys. Their research revealed that companies who use sustainable business activities for strategy, risk management, and innovation share a key ingredient: CFO leadership and the ability of the finance function to partner with other corporate functions. They will explain how the finance and accounting team, led by the CFO, can apply nine practical points for becoming instrumental collaborators with the sustainable business or corporate responsibility team regardless of whether they are at the beginning of their journeys or well along in the process toward enhancing enterprise-wide initiatives and collaboration. 

Focusing on the partnering theme, Littan will also moderate a panel at the main Integrate 2020 conference on November 9 (1 p.m. EST) on the topic of “The Integrated Enterprise: How CFOs and the Rest of the Finance Team can Lead Cross-Functionally.” The conference session will be a lively, interactive discussion of the action items that can be applied to any organization and will feature IMA Global Board members Brad Monterio and Alex Eng. Registration is required: (Note: IMA members can receive a 20% discount for this conference by using the code IMA2020). 

Littan’s remarks will draw heavily on two recent IMA reports on the topic of the CFO and sustainable businesses that she co-authored: “CFO as Value Creator: Finance Function Partnering for the Integration of Sustainability in Business" and “CFO as Value Creator: Finance Function Leadership in the Integrated Enterprise.”

Noted Littan, “The costly pandemic, hurricanes and flooding, and West Coast wildfires that we’re seeing in 2020 show the value of long-term thinking, business relationships, and resilience. Corporate professionals in the finance and accounting function play a crucial role in the successful incorporation of sustainable business with an eye toward enhancing intangible assets, performance, and long-term value. I am so pleased for IMA and our experienced members to provide thought leadership in the area of sustainable business and the critical contributions of finance and accounting professionals. While this field is new for many mainstream practitioners, they already have the expertise and skills to function as key business partners at their organizations.”