Green firm wins backing for £200,000 software tool project

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A Scottish consultancy has won six-figure backing to roll out an innovative tool for accountants to help their clients cut business costs and environmental impact.

New jobs are in the pipeline at Edinburgh-based Beyond Green – whose advisers include former SSE chief executive Ian Marchant (pictured above right) – after it secured the grant from Innovate UK for a £200,000 project to further develop its “theArena17” software platform.

The tool, which will work alongside cloud accounting packages, analyses business data to measure environmental impacts as well as the benefits of renewable generation, energy efficiency and waste reduction measures.

Beyond Green founder Paul Adderley (pictured above left), a chartered accountant who spent more than a decade with PwC before launching his own business, believes the platform will be of significant value to the accountancy profession at a time when much of its traditional role is under threat from growing automation.

“The increasing use of cloud accounting means firms need to find new ways of adding value and at the same time their clients are looking to become more sustainable,” he explained.

“We believe this platform will be a valuable tool to help businesses better understand and benefit from insight into non-financial data about their operations.”

The platform draws on Beyond Green’s database of hundreds of energy and resource saving projects with businesses along with financial data from users.

It will analyse the data from different sources and then present opportunities for cost savings and sustainability impacts. The tool will also help firms prioritise actions against the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which have been agreed by global governments, embedded into Scotland’s National Performance Framework and which many businesses are now looking to aspire to.

“Over time theArena17 will develop into a very powerful digital toolkit backed by support from a community of sustainability advisors. This will enable accountants to provide their clients with an affordable, reliable and rich picture of business performance based on insight into non-financial data,” added Adderley, who heads up a team of five at his firm.

Marchant, who has taken up roles at a number of energy and sustainability companies since stepping down from SSE in 2013, said he had been “impressed with the vision and impact” of theArena17 idea.

“As a result, I have got more involved with Beyond Green and have a better appreciation of the high-value work they do for a whole range of organisations in the sustainability and resource efficiency area,” he said.

The Innovate UK grant for the project has been awarded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) national funding agency which invests in science and research in the UK.

The Beyond Green project will last for two years with 70 per cent of the total cost covered by the Innovate UK grant.