New thinking

Positive in adversity

The development and roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines around the world is not the only positive to emerge in recent months.

For many, the forced changes to the workplace during the height of the pandemic, have made us more open to new ways of thinking and new ways of doing.

The crisis has opened the door to a more flexible, open and emotive approach to business that nobody could have imagined at the beginning of 2020.

I explored this evolution for my client Praxity by asking three leading accounting professionals to explain the positive changes they have witnessed in the work place since the pandemic began.

Here are their observations:

This is an industry where many consistently work 12+ hours a day and sacrifice much personally, inclusive of family.  Now, I am hearing more professionals say they are actually sitting down and having more family dinners and quality touchpoints together. This is a beautiful thing! Perhaps this is a bit of the yogi in me, but I believe moments of pause are a good thing. This pandemic has truly put our worlds on pause to rest, reset, rethink and reinforce what truly is important in life.” Tifphani White-King, Principal and National Tax Leader at Mazars in the US

“We encourage the teams to share with us their challenges of working remotely and we take customized approaches to solve their individual problems.  We have divided the teams into smaller groups and have organized on-line happy hours, games, and ‘fireside chats’.  We take notes of suggestions and do our best to take actions on them. This definitely is a working in progress.  We continue looking for better strategies and have an open mind so we keep improving in this area!” Wenli Wang, Partner in charge of the San Francisco office at US accounting firm Moss Adams

“People are less resistant to change and have, in many cases, embraced it. Consequently, I think people will be more open to further change and more adaptive all round, which is a strong trait. I think they’re also a lot more invested in making changes work.” Greg Travers Director of Tax Services at Australian accounting firm William Buck

“We try to reach out to our clients more proactively to share any relevant planning strategies with them.  We are more responsive to their needs. We try to find ways to mitigate the financial hit with the clients who are impacted negatively by the pandemic…we actually have strengthened our relationships with many clients.” Wenli Wang, Partner in charge of the San Francisco office at US accounting firm Moss Adams

“Where we used to hold, say, an hour-long meeting with a client each week or fortnight, we’re now able to contact our clients far more often because they’re also working remotely, with a more flexible schedule. This means we chat more frequently so trust is built alongside a more personal relationship, and we can share experiences. With video conferencing, soft phones and technology in general, we are achieving in days what previously would’ve taken us significantly longer in a ‘normal’ working environment. We have more regular communication now. It’s timelier, more effective, and we get more touch points with the client as a consequence.” Greg Travers Director of Tax Services at Australian accounting firm William Buck

Crisis moments inspire innovation in everything everywhere.  The Covid-19 pandemic is no different as we are rethinking how we work, serve and deliver with our teams and clients. Meetings, whether virtual or in person, are more purposeful, pointed, and pressure-checked for time. There is more self-care and caring for each other. There are great and heroic examples of our Praxity firms giving more, especially in the philanthropic space.” Tifphani White-King, Principal and National Tax Leader at Mazars in the US

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I originally wrote this article for Praxity Global Alliance, the world’s largest alliance of independent accounting and consulting firms. I have updated it for my website.