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The SAA Report contains the following
- Why did you decide to prepare Social Accounts?
- Who did the work?
- Background information about your organisation : history, location, structure etc.,
- What does your organisation do?
- What are its mission, its values, its objectives and its activities?
- The stakeholder map
- Scope of the Social Accounts and audit
- What has been reported?
- Who has been consulted?
- What has been omitted and why?
- Methodologies used ?
- The report on performance: values, then objective by objective.
- Narrative description : Quantitative information Qualitative views Context, interpretation, issues for action and recommendations
- Any other stakeholder views on performance and on issues consulted.
- Key Aspects
- Financial information (if not included in Section 2)>
- Highlight the issues for action – and also achievements
- Strengths and weaknesses of the social accounting process.
- Plans for the next cycle
- Plans for dialogue with stakeholders, and for publication and disclosure
Preparing the Social Accounts depends upon the scope set by the organization. However the entire report does take a minimum period of 3-6 months especially the data collection and analysis which forms the major portion of the entire work. It is always good to plan in advance and draw a timeline to facilitate the process accordingly.SAN India supports the organization in this planning and meeting the timeline too through the trainings and ongoing support by encouraging them to work towards the scheduled panel discussion.
The cost involved depends on the nature of organization and its turnover/budget. In the facilitation mode, participation cost varies since the offline and online support is envisaged to be different based on the scope and nature of the organization. There will be other cost elements such as travel to the workshops (based on the geographic diversity of the cluster), data collection expenses and dissemination costs, all of which are under your control. If an organization were to opt for consultation, the costs would be worked out individually. However, SAA need not be high cost- there are several ways in which to bring cost down while preparing social accounts.
Staff time will be the main resource requiredapart from administrative costs and Printing/publishing costs.It is highly recommended that you assign two persons as it will build more capacity within your organization. These persons, however, need not be working full time on SAA. It is much more productive if they already perform an operational/functional role within the organization.
If you have opted for facilitation with SAN India then you will have to nominate someone from within your organization to write the accounts also ensuring that Social Accounting is mentioned in the job description.It is helpful for someone on staff to have experience with social research, e.g. surveys and other methods of consultation. It would also be appropriate to nominate someone who understands your work well. The involvement and commitment of the organisation's senior management are essential. It is recommended that staff at all levels be involved with consulting stakeholders and measuring progress, performance and impact. It always helps to have a second person as a support. Organizations should encourage capacity building within its staff members and not become an exclusive domain of a single person .In case you have opted for the consulting service from SAN India then we shall write the accounts for your organization.
SAA will help you in identifying the mission of your organization aligned with the objectives you need to carry out in order to fulfill the purpose. Thus it will help you in choosing those programs which fits well with your mission. However it is only a framework which guides you and there are other factors too which supplement the choice of project .The key aspects which form the part of SAA also guides you in the overall functioning of the organization.
A sustainability report provides a balanced and reasonable representation of the sustainability performance of the reporting organization, including both positive and negative contributions.It helps in influencing policy makers and improves trust & enhances image However SAA as a framework will be a valuable addition to the sustainability report as it will enhance the overall report by showcasing the stakeholder dialogue and creating ownership and commitment within the company.
SROI ( Social Return on Investment ) is an effective means of representing the value of social, community and environmental impacts in financial terms and is a methodology based on standard accounting and commercial investment principles. It has been shown that social accounts can be enhanced by an SROI calculation of a particular project or programme where realistic financial indicators are available. In this way social accounting as a framework can embrace not only SROI but also other methods of assessing impact ( like LM3) which are now available to organizations as SAN India will help you to use them to study your financial impact .
While SAA and evaluation are both means of assessing programs, there are differences between audits and evaluations in terms of why they are performed and the methodology of conducting the assessment.Other aspects that distinguish SAA from evaluation are that the former is carried out by stakeholders, enables an organization to measure performance and is a continuous process and covers all the stages of a project/program cycle and beyond. Though SAA and evaluation differ in the skills and methods used and practiced, there are also some basic similarities between the two. Both methods analyze the data objectively and within defined standards and protocols.
The main criteria before undertaking SAA is that you should be committed to the idea and enthusiastic in your approach. Social accounting can be quite labour intensive, especially the first time. If the organization has not done basic strategic planning in some time, it can be difficult to progress through the process rapidly. Another important pre requisite is that your operational model should be in a stable situation and then only you should roll out your social accounting plan or else the learning will not benefit your organization
Social 'Accounting' is the primary process that is complemented by the Social Audit process. Accounting carries all its connotations of being periodic and detailed. Usually organizations take up SAA once a year or once in two years, depending on the scope of work that they do.