Making Social Accounting Relevant for You

Making Social Accounting Relevant for You

Posted 16th August 2018

If nothing else, the Social Value Act has led to an explosion in the number of ‘tools’ to measure social value…

Social Value UK’s network offers 36 online tools and software to help people like you and me use in accounting for and reporting on social value. The Social Value Hub, hosted by Social Enterprise UK, includes a vast range of tools, case studies and advice about measuring social value and the Inspiring Impact programme has many similar resources available. Even before the Act, the new economics foundation’s Prove and Improve Toolkit, published in 2005, contained 20 complex tools and frameworks for social impact measurement…

The choice is bewildering and growing every day.

But I believe that people are starting in the wrong place – finding a tool to measure your social value or social impact is not the first thing to do when attempting to measure it. That would be like buying a financial book-keeping package to write a business plan – only one part of the jigsaw.

Firstly, you need to understand what your organisation does in terms of the actions that it takes and who (or what) these actions might impact upon. This way you can take control of your social value, not fit it into someone else’s tool or set of measures.

Social Accounting and Audit, as well as the Social Value Principles, allows your organisation to build on its existing monitoring, documentation and reporting systems to develop a process to account fully for social, environmental and economic impacts, report on performance and draw up action plans to improve on that performance. Through this process, you can collect data and report more confidently on the outcomes and impacts that your activities create.

And that’s where a tool fits in – to ‘measure’ and understand the value of what the data is telling you. But the data is yours, and the scope of what you are describing is yours, dictated by what you are doing and the impact that your actions will have.

On 20th September 2018, Social Value UK and the Social Audit Network are joining together at York St John University to continue this conversation, and bring you a networking and learning event about social accounting.

Accounting for value is gaining impetus on the back of the Social Value Act and there’s a huge amount of interest in social accounting becoming the way to describe social value. The seminar will explore how you can embed social accounting into the work that you do to account for social value, benefiting both you in your own role and your organisation.

Come along to hear, learn, and meet other people who are interested in proving, improving and being accountable for their social value. We have arranged for local community organisations and social accounting ‘experts’ to tell you what they are doing about accounting for social value and to facilitate discussion aimed at helping you start your social value measurement journey.

Our friends at York St John University will host a networking lunch at 12.30pm in the Foyer to the De Grey Building. Book now to secure your place at

Blog post authored by Anne Lythgoe, SAN director