At the end of 2020 many people would have thought, surely 2021 will be better. Sadly, for many that did not turn out to be the case. At the end of 2021 many people again will have been thinking surely 2022 will be better. My own view is that it will be, and I want to share some thoughts on why, particularly for accounting firms.
For me one of the key differences between 2021 and 2022 is the level of COVID-19 vaccinations completed in Australia and many other countries. I acknowledge that not all countries made the progress we did in Australia and there is much to be done to help less wealthy countries.
Australia is the centre of my world and I take great optimism from us having started 2022 with a high rate of vaccination and evidence that vaccinations make a huge difference in terms of the risk of contracting COVID, and more particularly, being very sick or dying from it. This is allowing governments at all levels to relax restrictions that have previously been seen as necessary. Apart from WA, we now have freedom of movement around the country and international travellers are returning. On the whole a large proportion of the population is growing in confidence that we can do many of the things we were not previously able to do.
For me, as an accounting firm coach, consultant and mentor, who pre COVID was doing about 100 flights a year, this is very welcome. My face to face Manager Development Program is kicking off in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and while there are still guidelines to be followed, the many benefits of the face to face learning and development are able to be enjoyed by participants.
Another reason I am optimistic about 2022, from an accounting firm perspective is my belief that firm owners and managers and their team members have learned an enormous amount during the pandemic. This has included how to work effectively without the need to be in an office all the time and new and improved ways of working have resulted. These benefits are going to carry through 2022 and beyond and most firms will be all the better as a result. The pandemic forced ways of work to change and in 2022 the benefits of that will be enjoyed.
I think linking optimism and hope is a useful thing to do. If there is no hope it can be difficult to be optimistic. In a practical sense inside your firm I suggest giving your team something to look forward to. For example many firms have had to cancel numerous face to face team events over the past two years. It seems to me that now is the time to start scheduling these events again and letting the team know. This is another thing for them to look forward to and provide cause for optimism.
At a personal level I believe it is also useful to be encouraging team members to think about personal goals for 2022 that include things that were out of reach in 2020 and 2021. For me and my partner Kate that has been booking flights to Europe departing 1 July. We would normally spend five weeks in the Northern Hemisphere in June/July (usually Europe) and have really missed it. We are now optimistic that it will happen. The good thing is there are so many refundable (or even no upfront payment) options for accommodation that our risk is virtually zero. We have something to look forward to and it helps put a spring in our steps.
What else are you optimistic about for 2022? I’d love to hear from you.