Bottom line and triple bottom line don’t cut it – an introduction to Integral Accounting. Part 1.
Look around you…lift your head from the computer and notice your world. We live in a world rich with diversity. Multi-sensory, multi-colour.
From where I sit I can see tree’s, the sunlight, birds, fruit, and modern livingry tools all without turning my head.
We have somehow managed to reduce all of these things to a single lens called money. And in our haste to reduce, we lose the richness of all of the experiences our Universe provides every moment.
Integral Accounting isn’t just another way of looking at value and reducing it to the single metric of money. Integral Accounting is a way to see value in all things in the way they are expressed. To value the shade of the tree, with no needed reflex to convert that value to money. (or time, which is often money in disguise)
This can be hard to do in the beginning because we have been so conditioned to see value through the single lens of money.
To learn Integral Accounting therefore is to learn to see the world, people and experiences with whole new eyes. To refuse the temptation of seeing through the eyes of how much will it cost. How much will I make? How can we make money from this? Or how will we fund this? Don’t we need a balance sheet and how do we put shade of a tree on the balance sheet?
At its core, Integral Accounting starts with valuing all in an agnostic way.
Buckminster Fuller used to say that pollution was simply stuff out of place. We make it bad, or wrong and it is neither. It is simply something that is in the wrong place.
Humans are generally neither bad nor wrong. They can be in the wrong place. A place that does not allow them to be more whole. You probably know that feeling.
If you have any recognition that the way we measure value in our world is part of a larger problem, then an exploration of Integral Accounting is worth considering. If you have ever felt personally that your own value has not been recognised at the table of our current world of business, then Integral Accounting may support your viable and whole expression of value.
If you see the world through the lens of scarcity, then Integral Accounting will support you to reframe that lens to one of abundance.
This will not happen immediately. It takes time to untangle the deep conditioning we have all experienced as part of living in our world.
While measuring triple bottom line has been an improvement on measuring just profit, both still engage with measuring and reducing to a dollar figure.
How can we write a business plan, or send out a report to shareholders if we do not measure the bottom line? Great question. Integral Accounting is a whole way of being, and in its fullest expression makes many of our business tools no longer relevant. And in so doing brings back humanity, real work, respect for all, genuine connection to things that matter, real innovation…yep…the kind of world many of us yearn for.
In the next seven posts I will be exploring Integral Accounting as I understand it. My journey began with Integral Accounting about 5 or so years ago..so I am still learning and unlearning.
What I do know is that the more I practice Integral Accounting the more I feel I am working in the world in flow with all the richness that is around us. I have more gratitude, more ease, more flow, more love, more connection, more aliveness. And a better business.
I hope you will join me on this exploration.
For more information do check out the many resources available here, written and spoken by David Martin, steward and designer of Integral Accounting.