Responsible business is one of AAT's core themes, and we aim to embed it in all we do and represent. This covers everything from professional ethics, to sustainability, through to diversity and inclusion. These principles run throughout our activity: in the qualifications we develop, in what we champion on our members' behalf, and in how we run our business.
Sarah Beale, AAT Chief Executive
AAT will aim to lead by example on responsible, sustainable business models, embedding exemplary standards of best practice into our own organisation, which can inspire and influence our members, students, colleagues and stakeholders.
The strategy is to ensure AAT has robust and forward-thinking internal policies that can influence and inform external stakeholders through best practice guides. This approach will ensure AAT is leading by example for the accounting profession in the arena of responsible business.
AAT wants to have a responsible business reputation that drives its own business case for growing membership, recruiting talent and widening its influence. The journey is as important as the destination, taking our people, students and members with us. It will be about embedding sustainability in every corner of the organisation.
The AAT responsible business framework has four broad pillars.
- People: we promote diversity and inclusion, and champion fair working practices, supporting talent from the widest talent pool.
- Practices: we ensure policies and procedures are transparent and fair, and promote a sustainable economy, actively looking at anti-corruption, responsible supply chains and procurement.
- Public benefit: we enrich the communities where we operate, building skills for the accountancy profession, encouraging qualifications for all and promoting lifelong learning.
- Sustainability: we ensure sustainability with a focus on how we impact on communities where we operate, focusing on energy, waste and water.
In addition, as a signatory to the UN Global Compact, AAT is engaging with a number of Sustainable Development Goals which are material to our work. These include Quality Education, Gender Equality, Climate Action, Reduced Inequality and Partnerships for the Goals. AAT is committed, in the long term, to more transparent and detailed reporting of progress in these areas.
Initiatives and memberships
In the meantime, AAT is already involved in a number of initiatives which demonstrate our commitment to being a responsible business.
- AAT is a member of Accounting for Sustainability (A4S), which aims to inspire action by finance leaders to drive a fundamental shift towards resilient business models and a sustainable economy.
- AAT is a signatory to the Women in Finance Charter, a commitment by HM Treasury and signatory firms to work together to build a more balanced and fair industry, reflecting the government’s aspiration to see gender balance at all levels across financial services firms. Firms that sign up to the Charter are pledging to be the best businesses in the sector. Our commitments and gender pay gap report are available for public review on the Women in Finance Charter and Gender pay gap report pages.
- AAT is a signatory to the Prompt Payment Code (PPC), which sets standards for payment practices and best practice. Signatories undertake to pay suppliers on time, give clear guidance to suppliers and to encourage good practice.
- As an anti-money laundering (AML) supervisor, AAT is closely engaged with members and government to promote best practice in AML activities. AML measures are sometimes seen as bureaucracy and red tape, but there is a human face to the proceeds of crime derived from human trafficking, slavery, international corruption, and drug trafficking.
- By paying the real Living Wage AAT is voluntarily taking a stand to ensure our employees can earn a wage that is enough to live on. That basic fairness is at the heart of the Living Wage campaign and why great businesses and organisations choose to go further than the government minimum.
- AAT is a member of the Institute of Business Ethics, which promotes high standards of business practice based on ethical values. They raise awareness of business ethics through the dissemination of knowledge and good practice.
- As a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group (APCRG), AAT helps promote debate and understanding of corporate social responsibility within Parliament. The APCRG seeks to achieve this by promoting an exchange of views between parliamentarians and people with an active interest in corporate responsibility.
- AAT is a signatory to the UN Global Compact. The UNGC is a set of ten high-level principles promoting best practice in areas covering human rights, labour rights, the environment and anti-corruption. AAT is committed to respecting the human rights as described by the UNGC and has produced an associated policy and principles. The AAT communication on engagement to the UN can be seen on the UN Global Compact website.
More details of AAT activities and impacts can be found in the Annual Report.
As part of our commitment to responsible business practices we take steps to ensure that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in our supply chains or in any part of our business. This policy reflects our commitment to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business relationships and to implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls which address the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking.
As part of our efforts to identify and mitigate the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking, we will:
- look to build long-term relationships with our suppliers and clearly highlight to them our expectations of business behaviour. Our standard AAT contracts ensure that new suppliers, or renewals of existing supplier contracts, are obliged to comply with all anti-slavery laws, rules and regulations, and codes of practice
- contract with a UK company or branch whenever possible and ensure that these entities have suitable anti-slavery and human trafficking policies and procedures in place
- encourage the reporting of concerns and provide appropriate protection for whistleblowers.
We will not support or deal with any business knowingly involved in slavery or human trafficking. Senior management will take responsibility for implementing this policy statement and its objectives.
Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)
At AAT we believe that in order to reach our full business potential it is essential to develop a truly inclusive working culture. Not only is this the right thing to do, but encouraging diversity in everything we do allows us to offer the best customer products, services and experience.
We are committed to delivering equality of opportunity and to ensuring that everyone who works for us, job applicants, members, students and any other people with whom we deal are able to reach their full potential, are treated fairly, and are not subjected to unfair or unlawful discrimination.
For further detail in relation to students please see the equality of opportunity page.