How many plans did you have in place for 2020 that never got addressed? For me, a year ago, I was about to cross the bridge into a new decade, and so my plans were more grandiose than in normal years. I was contemplating a 10-year plan instead of the normal 1-year plan. I basically put everything on hold as I focused on what was right in front of us all. Future planning got pushed aside and instead I just thought about making it through the days.
Interestingly my new 10-year plan is much more people-centric. Almost a year without being able to see members of my family and my colleagues has impacted my perspective on what is most important in life.
That said, I’m hearing of some COVID-related silver linings around the profession. For example, from a people perspective, accounting firms are finding they are enhancing relationships with co-workers and also clients by taking the time to connect more frequently with new modern communication tools including video conferencing.
In addition, many firms have upped their game in terms of technology, now that they are being forced to work remotely and/or work with remote clients. There are so many technology tools that can make our jobs easier, and now we’re seeing just how important our software solutions, cloud technology options, document sharing, and e-signature tools really are.
E-learning has also risen to the forefront of continuing education during COVID-19. We just completed our annual Ensuring Success conference where thousands of attendees were able to obtain up to 16 hours of CPE presented by top speakers in the profession, all from the comfort of wherever they happened to be watching.
I don’t think anyone could have quite foreseen how well the accounting profession has managed to rise to the demands presented by lockdowns, an extra-long tax season, small business loans and grants, new legislation, shuttered businesses, stimulus payments, endless questions and concerns from clients, confusing election results, all while juggling our own personal family situations including working from home, learning new technology, and sharing workspace, computers, and bandwidth with family members also working and schooling from home.
I’d like to suggest that anything will seem easy after this, but we don’t even know when “after this” will occur, or what to expect between now and then and thereafter. For now, I take comfort in small day-to-day accomplishments, like staying safe and healthy. From all of us at CPA Practice Advisor, we wish you the best possible close to what has become a bittersweet year, and hopes for a future we can all enjoy together.