Be the future – Le Journal CPA

ACP companies have found themselves, like all companies over the past year, faced with the chaotic economic landscape created by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Just as they have done in other crises, CPAs have recognized, understood and responded to the challenges of the past year. The profession has not only survived: many of its members are thriving in this new world, ready to face whatever 2021 brings.

Some companies have been able to spot emerging opportunities for new customer services, especially when it comes to leveraging their knowledge base to move on compliance commitments (which were already in decline before the pandemic due to from the rise of automation and AI) to the growing field of consulting work. Many companies have succeeded in becoming vital resources for their clients by securing emergency financing such as Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Successful businesses are already looking to the future and will need the help of their CPAs for recovery, growth and expansion. If CPAs are not proactive in providing this advice, if they do not think in general strategic terms and remain too bogged down in the details at the micro-level, if they do not meet their need for high-level advice relevant to today’s economy – their clients and employers will find someone else who is.

The CPA firms that have thrived in the past 12 months are the ones that have understood the new opportunities created by the massive adoption of remote working. As COVID-19 shook our old notions of physical space as an imperative, businesses realized they were no longer strictly bound by geography. With so much business now being conducted online, it’s plausible that a business could hire a CPA geographically distant from its local community, accessing a larger talent pool. After all, talent can come from anywhere, and so can opportunities for clients – the rise of virtual offices will mean that companies will be able to broaden their horizons. Having a broader strategic vision will in turn make a business more attractive.

Recognizing and working for corporate social responsibility will also make the profession more attractive to its stakeholders. The past year has seen an increased focus on diversity, equity and inclusion – catalyzed by the reaction to the George Floyd murder – with normally dark companies publicly committing to put their weight behind the larger project of social justice. Just as the rise of counseling services did not begin in 2020, the events of the past year have accelerated an already growing social justice movement within the profession. As young people increasingly seek meaning and purpose in addition to a paycheck, businesses that can solve and act on long-standing cultural and social justice issues will be able to attract and retain. much better staff and customers than those who don’t.

I have also seen CPA firms increasingly recognize people’s mental health needs over the past year. The old stigma that previously prevented many people from raising the issue with their employer is fading. With the rise of anxiety and depression, it has become impossible to deny the importance of mental health or the impact it can have on our jobs. A related issue, work-life balance, also found new importance as everyone from the newly certified CPA to the veteran partner faced new situations that demanded greater flexibility in their working hours. . Potential staff are unlikely to suddenly stop expecting this in the future. The experience of forced labor during a pandemic also showed companies that customer services had not suffered. Face-to-face interactions will always be necessary, but we now know that technology can offer an alternative.

Since the number of CPA exam candidates was already declining before the pandemic, and with the understanding that the current crisis is unlikely to reverse this trend, the ultimate winners in the market will be the companies most able to meet. the changing needs of their customers and staff. The future belongs to those who seize it.

Joanne S. Barry, CAE. NYSSCPA Executive Director / CEO.

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