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Jeremy Nicholls

We must change the way we account for profit to include other consequences of running a business.



We need to allocate resources to activities that contribute to sustainability and to the regeneration of natural, human and social capital. This means organisations should be held to account for the consequences of their activities and the extent which they contribute to this goal, and at a rate commensurate with planetary limits and the rights and expectations of people who experience those consequences. 

Financial returns are one consequence but not the only one that matters. Until profit is calculated to include all the consequences that matter to this goal, resources will continue to be allocated, through capital markets, in ways that contribute to inequality, nature loss and climate change. Whatever else we do to address these challenges will be over-shadowed by the rate at which investment flows undermine progress.

Changing the yardstick by which society assesses performance can still leave many, perhaps most, of the structures that society has created for directing investment in place.  Although its control would rapidly shift to ensure representation of those who ‘own’ the experience of those
other consequences. 



  •  Understanding, managing and reporting on social, economic and environmental outcomes to drive innovation and improved performance.

  • Accounting for responsible or sustainable business practice in commissioning, social investing and social purpose businesses.

  • Interrogating the interface between financial and sustainability accounting.




SDG Impact logo

I am developing the assurance framework for the UNDP SDG Impact Standards which provide a framework for integrating sustainability into decision making.

Capitals Coalition logo

I am an ambassador for the Capitals Coalition and co-chair of the Value Commission working on the interface between financial accounting and capitals assessments.

Social Value international logo

I represent SVI on the ISO technical committees for sustainable finance and governance of organisations.

  Boards and committees  

I am a member of accounting4sustainability's expert panel, the International Auditing and Assurance Standard's Board's (IAASB) reference group for a sustainability assurance standard, and the International Accreditation Forum's (IAF) sustainability committee.








Generation Impact: International Perspectives on Impact Accounting
Generation Impact: International Perspectives on Impact Accounting

With contributions from world-leading scholars and practitioners, Generation Impact brings together lessons from both developed and developing economies, shares current best practice and suggests future trends in impact accounting. The book analyses social and environmental capital protocols, the international convergence in impact investing, organisational management and capacity-building and best practice in assurance and training, and offers reflections on policy directions. 

Navigating big finance and big technology for global change
Navigating Big Finance and Big Technology for Global Change: The Impact of Social Finance on the World’s Poor

The role of big finance and technology in social change is rapidly evolving. This book examines why large financial players are entering the social sector through social finance. Drawing on empirical research, the authors analyse the opportunities this new interest and commitment presents as well as the potential harm that can be done to vulnerable people when beneficiaries are not treated as partners and the social needs of people are not placed at the centre of the investment model. 

Book cover: There's no business like social business: how to be social enterprising
There's No Business Like Social Business: How to be Socially Enterprising

Practical tips on running a social enterprise.




I was a recovering accountant but have found myself drawn back to its embrace. Originally I qualified in order to work in Nicaragua, quickly curtailed by the change in government in 1990 and then finally escaping to become a house parent. A long cycle through regeneration, social enterprise and sustainability, brought me back to accountancy, but this time to its fundamentals and how they contribute, every day, to our global challenges. I am still avoiding double-entry bookkeeping, except when stumbling across that painting of Luca Pacioli in the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. 

Jeremy Nicholls portrait


Please get in touch if you share these concerns and have some ideas on how they can be addressed.

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