SAN in Finland

Tytti Siltanen, Develooppi Oy, Finland

In Finland there are about 30 Social Accounts published so far and the interest towards the method is growing. The method used here has been inspired by the model developed by John Pearce and the New Economics Foundation and has been developed via trainings of Tor Justad in Sweden and the work of my colleague Hkan Bjrk from Ume, Sweden. Hkan and I started to promote and develop Social Accounting and Auditing together in Finland 2004 and have been the pioneers and trainers/consultants of the very first organisations using SAA here. We have had three clusters so far: the first with Finnish Village Association, second with Finnish Red Cross and third with Finnish Federation of Settlements.

There are differencies in the Finnish model to the SAN method in some ways. The biggest difference is what we call social budgeting, which means planning and defining the most important social objectives and their reliable indicators with measurable targets for the coming year. The content of the budget is always based on the objectives set by the organisation itself at a certain point in time. The idea is to include issues and aspects that matter to stakeholders. For this reason an important phase in the planning stage is stakeholder consultation to identify the social results that the stakeholders are expecting from the organisation.

In the budgeting phase, organisation also makes plan for social accounting. This means planning of the collection of the information for the indicators. Organisation makes sure that the information can be gathered from statistics and by surveys, interviews, case studies, etc. The time schedule for measurements and persons responsible for gathering the information is also planned before the accounting period starts. The organisations values, basic mission and objectives should always form the basis for budget planning. Key stakeholders comments on the budget should be requested to find out the relevance of the planned contents and improvements should be made on the basis of comments received. When the budget is ready it is presented to the board of directors or other similar body for approval.

Social accounts should be a truthful presentation of the good results and also of the results in areas where the targets were not reached this year. A pleasant graphical design makes the social accounts more interesting to the readers which we have emphasized here to the organisations.

We would be very happy to have more connections to other organisations using SAA anywhere in the world and would also be very delighted for excample to host SAN Conference here in Finland sometimes in the future. Please dont hesitate to contact me if you are interested in getting more information or having connections in Finland.

Tytti Siltanen,