Job Opening

Posting Title: Accounting and Sustainability Reporting Specialist - ISAR
Department/Office: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 04 March 2021 - 08 March 2021
Job Opening Number: 21-United Nations Conference on Trade and Development-151115-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

Part I:

1. Capacity building and a case study report for 3 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa on accounting and reporting on their contribution to the SDG agenda based on UNCTAD’s Guidance and Training Manual on Core Indicators for entity reporting on the contribution towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (GCI).
2. Provided recommendations on reflections of the feedback in the updated version of the UNCTAD’s Guidance and Training Manual on Core Indicators for entity reporting.
3. Organized online training for the DA Project key stakeholders and the MSMEs in South Africa on sustainability reporting for facilitating MSMEs contribution to the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 based on Guidance on Core indicators (GCI).

Part II:
4. Above 40 applications solicitated in total to the ISAR Honours with the focus on developing countries
5. Delivered a set of promotional materials for ISAR Honours, including brochure, twitter posts, and website context
6. Conducted ISAR Honours ceremony

Work Location

Home-based

Expected duration

Contract dates: 16 March 2021 – 30 November 2021
Effective working time: 54 days
Work location: Home-based

Duties and Responsibilities

UNCTAD is currently undertaking the implementation of a Development Account project entitled Enabling policy frameworks for enterprise sustainability and SDG reporting. This project intends to strengthen the capacities of Governments to measure and monitor the private sector contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular on target 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle. The project aims at developing and implementing a tool to enable policy-makers to coordinate efforts among different national authorities in establishing a sustainability reporting framework; to contribute to the harmonization of sustainability reports within that framework; and to support governments in the collection of comparable and reliable information aligned with the SDGs global framework of indicators.

The project also expects to raise awareness, foster experience-sharing among policy makers and facilitate dissemination of national and international best practices on sustainability and SDG reporting. These aspects are addressed by the ISAR Honours initiative that supports the public and private sector efforts on enhancing the quality and comparability of companies’ reporting on their contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its usefulness for monitoring the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It recognizes policy, institutional or capacity-building initiatives, publicly available at the international or national level that encourage and assist enterprises to publish data on their contribution to the SDG implementation; and assist Governments in collecting such data for the SDG monitoring needs.

The objective of the current task is to support preparation of the next edition of the ISAR Honours initiative in 2021. The related activities should contain facilitation of the applications of the nominees with the focus on developing countries, drafting flyers and brochure, preparing social media campaign, managing communication with applicants as well as the Review Committee members, preparing the ISAR Honours ceremony etc.

Additionally, for South Africa as one of the 4 beneficiary countries, a number of activities at the national level are in progress. In this regard, development of the country case studies in South Africa on the practical implementation of the Guidance on Core indicators for entity reporting on the contribution towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals will be part of the assessment of the sustainability/SDG reporting infrastructure in the country.

Also, in concluding its 36th session, UNCTAD's Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) agreed that one of the main agenda items (agenda item 3) of its 37th session will deal with " Practical implementation, including measurement, of core indicators for entity reporting on the contribution towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals: Review of case studies". Therefore, the case studies will also inform the discussion during the 37th session of ISAR.

Consequently, an additional objective of this project is to prepare case studies on reporting by selected three MSMEs in South Africa on its contribution to the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 based on Guidance on Core indicators (GCI) for entity reporting on the contribution towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by UNCTAD. This case study will contribute to the DA Activity A1.5.

The case studies should contain the following: discussions of companies’ activities; its objectives and relevance of its business model to sustainable development and SDG agenda; its reporting framework(s); concrete data on the core indicators for the company; sources of the underlying enterprise accounting data; discussions on alignment of core indicators for companies with the SDG macro indicators in the relevant areas and how the former could inform the country's needs on collecting statistical data on its progress towards the SDG implementation and assessment of the private sector contribution towards this end. It also should contain analysis of the GCI indicators for the selected companies, associated benefits and challenges of their disclosure by the MSMEs; summarize the issues on a) preparing the case study and b) on the proposed approach to the use of the GCI; and discuss a way forward. Among other possible issues, the study should discuss if the GCI helps to enhance comparability of the SDG and sustainability reporting, improve consistency of `non-financial` reporting and financial reporting data and methodologies, and how comparability of the reported data on sustainability/SDG reporting could be further facilitated. The case study should also contain recommendations on the necessary amendments required to be made in the Guidance on a limited number of core SDG indicators in companies reporting in order to adapt it to the MSMEs reporting in South Africa.

The Consultant will be responsible for the following:

Part I:

1. Prepare the case study, minimum of 25 pages, based on 3 selected SMEs in South Africa with the use of UNCTAD training manual on the SDG reporting by companies.
2. Incorporate comments of UNCTAD into the interim and the final version of the case study report.
3. Provide detailed referencing for data used in preparing the case study methodology and the cases study, detailed sources and references, originals of charts, tables and other graphics used to elaborate on the text of the case study.
4. Organize an online training for the MSMEs in South Africa on sustainability reporting and contribution to the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 based on Guidance on Core Indicators (GCI).

Part II:
5. Conduct desk-search on recent development of the ESG standards and identify initiatives in the area of sustainability and SDG reporting on both international and regional levels
6. Reach out to the pre-selected initiatives to promote the ISAR Honours, and solicitate their applications to the ISAR Honours with the focus on developing countries
7. Assist in screening and editing the application forms submitted
8. Provide technical guidance and support to the applicants to ensure the required quality and consistency of the application forms (when necessary)
9. Manage communication with applicants throughout the course of ISAR Honours 2021 project.
10. Support communication with the Review Committee members throughout the assessment phase of the ISAR Honours 2021 project.
11. Assist in preparing and conducting the ISAR Honours ceremony.
12. Draft promotional materials for ISAR Honours, including brochure, twitter posts, and website context.

The consultant will provide weekly progress reports by email and/or phone calls.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills: Good knowledge of accounting and reporting, including financial and non-financial/ sustainability aspects, ESG standards, corporate social responsibility, and/or environmental finance is required. Strong communicational skills are desired.
Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree in accounting, economics, finance, business administration, or related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Experience: At least 5 years work experience in the areas of accounting and corporate reporting, finance, auditing or related field is required. Experience of working with the governmental bodies and/or UN agencies is desirable.
Language: Fluency in written and oral English is required.

No Fee

THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.

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