One of the most pertinent questions permeating today’s business community is this; ‘How can I set up to react to carbon reporting in a timely and beneficial manner for my company?’

It’s a worthy question. Firms want to meet their compliance requirements, and they want to win the profit benefits of so doing.

What they don’t want is a mismatch of resource, a rush to the finishing line, or to detract from the simple day-to-day rationale of operations; staying in business.

As with many business challenges, it all comes down to a simple word; planning.

The Christmas conundrum

Often, a basic analogy can help us see through the fog of reporting. In this case, let us consider a business whose turnover is largely based on Christmas.

Plainly, such a firm has a major task managing the peaks and troughs of the year. Scaling down staffing, capacity and operations when most of us are at work will be needed, when business is flat outside Yuletide.

Contrastingly, scaling up operations will be tough when everyone in the company is looking for a holiday and external contractors have given up replying to emails in the December run in.

Yet every year, Christmas turkeys unfailingly arrive to order, advertising campaigns hit our screens, chocolates aplenty line supermarket shelves.

All of this happens because the profit incentives justify the planning costs.

And so it should be with carbon reporting.

You can reap opportunity and savings from SECR, but you have to look ahead.

SECR reporting comes but once a year, like Christmas. And so, our advice is that affected firms should be planning year-round for how to effectively meet their SECR requirements when deadline day comes.

Avoid the peaks

We can look to an example provided by the ESOS experience for another valuable lesson. With ESOS, many firms left their efforts at compliance very late in the day. They simply brushed the scheme’s urgency aside.

When it came to it, those qualified to deliver the ESOS reporting had all been snapped up, so there was a huge disparity between the reporting resources available and the demand.

This is turn meant firms desperately tasked internal staff with doing the reporting; leading to major internal stresses and poorly compiled data.

This of course led the regulator to throw the incomplete reports back at companies; leading to more work, more stress, more cost.

And by the time the process was done, some firms were too tired to even react on the valuable information within reports. It’s a sad story; all too easily avoidable.

Top tips on timely reporting

The irony is, it really isn’t that hard to manage time and reporting pressure.

For a start, you are not alone. There are many third parties and consultants with expertise in reporting and compliance who are able to provide the support, guidance and help needed to meet the deadlines (and indeed implement strategies for post-compliance projects. Just remember, you should look early.

it really isn’t that hard to manage time and reporting pressure.

  • Don’t bury your head in the sand. SECR isn’t going away. Ignoring it is just as foolish as pretending the yearly taxes aren’t around the corner.
  • Seek advice. No one is expecting you to be an expert. Regularly check this Hub, internet newsfeeds, news from BEIS and other sources; arm yourself with the intelligence you need to react.
  • Make a list of your reporting requirements and deadlines, just as you would your project deadlines and payment dates. When you come to set out your yearly objectives, put reporting among them.

If you take head of our advice, you can raise awareness throughout the business and make it known that effective reporting equals profit. Ineffective reports equal panic.

The final word

There is more to talk about, and we will return to the themes within this article. But for now, the Hub simply seeks to alert you early, to enable you to put reporting requirements where they need to be; high up your business agenda.

Then, reporting will not be a last minute pain. Rather, it can become a profitable, well managed and useful process.