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  • Writer's picturekirsty2020

(i) Shining a light in dark places - the resilience, leadership and creativity of accountancy firms

Updated: May 11, 2020

When I developed the concept of 'Beyond 2020' at the end of 2019, I could never have imagined how prophetic the name of the programme would become. Just as the first cases of a new virus in the Far East were being discovered, I was creating a process of work which I wanted to deliver to accountancy firms in UK to ensure they were 'futureproof' and 'resilient'. Having worked with these firms for the whole of my career, I had seen that the tech revolution had side-tracked some firms as their senior leaders were bombarded with such fast change. And I wanted them to focus on returning to the core values and operations of running a successful firm. But then by the end of March, the world changed. And those same leaders had to adapt at an incredibly rapid pace. Some firms have performed brilliantly and have stepped up to the challenge, whereas others definitely floundered for a while, trying to find their feet, their direction and their drive to lead. How do you feel you have performed, as a leader, as an adviser, as a firm?

The expectation is that life will not just return to normal, to the way it was before. They will be a new way of working, a new norm. And possibly future lockdowns or other global issues which arrive on our own doorstep and cause us to alter our own behaviour. So to be ready for that, we should be willing to assess how we have performed so far, to learn, to improve and to bring about longer-term strategic change too.

I intend to write a series of articles about how firms can do this. To introduce the idea of resilience, were there any dark corners which became apparent in your own firm which, now they have been exposed, can be tackled and improved? Score your own firm on the following nine critical issues, firstly focusing on the performance of your senior leadership team:

When you have a quiet moment of reflection, ask each partner and director to complete, both for themselves, and, if brave enough, for another partner as part of a wider peer review. If areas or individuals in hindsight didn't quite perform as you'd hoped, consider what extra support or training or understanding will be necessary - if we are to help our clients become resilient, we have to look to our own business' first and to show we can walk the walk, not just talk the talk!

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