How to use your financial management software to enhance your business carbon footprint 

All business carbon footprints rely to some extent on an analysis of your business expenditure. In fact, some footprinting solutions rely solely on this approach (not advisable!). 

However you are measuring your footprint, the task can be made more simple and more accurate by accurately categorising your expenditure in whichever financial management you are using – Xero, QuickBooks, Sage etc. 

If you regularly use such software you will know that they come loaded with expenditure categories for use in reconciling all of your transactions – Travel & Subsistence, IT Software & Consumables etc. 

We recommend adding further breakdowns of these categories so that the data is more usable for carbon footprinting. 

We have just gone through this exercise in our own business. We use Xero so, from the main Dashboard we navigated to Accounting > Chart of Accounts and added some new accounts, as follows: 

Extra overhead accounts under ‘412 – Professional Services’: 

  • 412a – Professional Services – IT 
  • 412b – Professional Services – HR 

Extra overhead accounts under ‘463 – IT Software & Consumables’ 

  • 463a – IT software 
  • 463b – Office Consumables 
  • 463c – Small IT & Electrical Equipment 

Extra overhead accounts under ‘493 – Travel & Subsistence’: 

  • 493a – Travel – Car 
  • 493b – Travel – Train 
  • 493c – Travel – Subsistence 
  • 493d – Travel – Taxi 
  • 493e – Travel – Parking 

We will keep revising the account codes over time, to make them as precise as possible. This will streamline our footprinting process and make our business footprint more accurate, as well as giving us improved understanding of our business costs. 

Why not do the same? Check with your accountant first.