5 Ethics Challenges That Will Intensify As The Pandemic Wanes

How The Pandemic Is Affecting The Accounting Industry

The first is the need to adjust to the ‘new normal’, changing business models and strategies. Second is adopting – or in many cases, accelerating – the adoption of new technology to continue providing traditional services in a more efficient manner. Third is adjusting future resource planning, both human and physical, to what will suit this brave new world.

Review existing engagement letters to ensure they continue to accurately reflect the agreement between the firm and the client. Does the scope of service require modification or clarification to ensure it limits the firm’s responsibility to only those services outlined in the engagement letter? For example, if tax compliance services are delivered, is the engagement letter strictly for tax compliance services? Or does How The Pandemic Is Affecting The Accounting Industry it, for example, include “limited tax planning” or similarly vague language, which may be interpreted to include advising the client about tax planning or relief opportunities? In times of uncertainty, it is extremely important that clarity exists and is supported by a written communication between the client and the firm. Additional priorities tend to differ in importance, depending on the region in question.

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Without being prescriptive, we propose below some research themes to encourage our collective reflection on the impacts of the coronavirus crisis. Businesses need to operate sustainably, measure the results and then report those results.

  • Accountants and accounting, as key stewards and standard-setters in the global economic system, have a vital role to play in continuing to expose, measure, understand and repair global inequalities of many kinds, as the research discussed above demonstrates.
  • More than three-quarters of survey respondents no longer worked full-time in their offices.
  • There’s now significant concern as to whether current professional skills will still be relevant in the post-COVID-19 era—12% of survey respondents believe their skills won’t be relevant, and another 10% are unsure.
  • More than two-thirds of firms met or exceeded budget for revenue and net income growth in 2020.
  • For example, if tax compliance services are delivered, is the engagement letter strictly for tax compliance services?
  • Culture and a sense of community are, typically, critical for the well-being of any individual and instrumental in delivering against a global strategy.
  • At the same time, this invaded the territory of individual privacy, as citizens were held accountable to the surveillance assemblage for their locations and health conditions.

Through this effort the company has donated $5,000 to theSmall Business Relief Fundand theNational Emergencies https://www.bookstime.com/ Trust. In addition, all survey respondents will receive a complimentary copy of the report.

productizing Tax & Accounting Advisory Services In 2022

Yet many expressed a preference for face-to-face meetings and interacting with people. As for the technologies related to working from home, many accountants stated that working remotely was not new to them. Several CPA firms among our respondents were able to adjust to working virtually very quickly.

While not recommended, if oral advice must be provided, at a minimum, send a follow-up email to the client summarizing what was discussed. As always, contemporaneous documentation of client communications is important and will help mitigate the risk of forgotten, misunderstood, or misinterpreted conversations down the road. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Ken Tysiac, the JofA’s editorial director, at -cima.com. With so much business activity squeezed and substantial doubt about when business will resume something of a normal pattern, companies that had problems may face a struggle to survive. To the extent that travel restrictions prevent auditors from visiting client sites, auditors may have to disclose scope limitations to their normal procedures. Accounting estimates have long been among the more complex tasks for auditors. For the time being, the Center for Audit Quality , which is affiliated with the AICPA, is advising practitioners to monitor regulators’ statements closely and keep them in mind when planning audits and carrying out their audit and review procedures.

Firm Owners And Partners Are The Least Satisfied Working Remotely

While this creates new opportunities for CPA firms, it also introduces new, corresponding risk. Employee illnesses and office closures may lead to the breakdown of internal controls.

How The Pandemic Is Affecting The Accounting Industry

At the same time, finance leaders had to figure out how to close the books while their teams worked remotely while continuing to manage operations. Last quarter, many CFOs had to address many unexpected issues related to financial reporting during a pandemic. This publication discusses healthcare accounting and financial reporting considerations related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”).

The Accountancy Profession In The New Normal

Some responses from the corporate world also indicated that business declined first, but did rebound quickly. When the entire world shut down because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the accounting profession had to adapt quickly. Not only did many CPA firms have to figure out how to provide services remotely, they also had to ensure that they were able to help their clients adapt to the many uncertainties facing them.

  • Companies face many short-term challenges, such as health and safety, supply chain, workforce, cash flow, consumer demand, sales, and marketing (Donthu & Gustafsson, 2020).
  • With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019 in China, humanity faced an emergency that primarily concerned health and safety.
  • By creating a mechanism to track issues that you encounter throughout these next few weeks, you’re able to address them , creating efficiencies and solving problems in the short and medium term so that they won’t be a concern down the line.
  • Other audit and financial reporting resources and guidance are continually being updated and are available at the AICPA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Audit and Accounting Resources page.
  • This involves attaining and maintaining the knowledge and skill required for the job.

Financial Executives International connects financial leaders through exchanging ideas about best practices, defining the profession, educating members and stakeholders and working with the government to improve the general economy. Additionally, accountants can’t meet face-to-face with clients so they’ll resort to remote advising as a way to adjust. However, just like remote work, remote advising is going to outlast the lockdown it seems. CPA’s are the financial experts both individuals and main street businesses need right now. The chief concern for all CPA’s should be to assist clients, help save businesses and keep jobs. Although remote work was projected by to increase gradually, the lockdown sped up the process. Firms were forced to quickly adopt remote enabling technologies like Video conferencing apps and the cloud.

How Robotics Process Automation And The Pandemic Are Transforming The Accounting Industry

The struggling economy and influx of government stimulus packages in almost all regions combined to present accounting firms with more work than ever. We have all heard how much this crisis has impacted businesses and industries around the world. But it was unclear exactly what challenges are having the biggest impact, how firms like yours are adapting, and what the future might look like. These issues and opportunities, whether around digitalization of finance functions, gaps in insurance coverage, cybersecurity in accessing your network, agility in the supply chain, or workforce logistics, may have been inefficient before a crisis but untenable during one. However, now is also a time to document gaps in your contingency planning and to identify opportunities to improve the way your business responds to crises, both for this current pandemic as well as challenges that arise in the future. For each survey response received, SmartVault donated $5 to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

Additionally, while working virtually will not solve the labor shortage, it will certainly ease some of the pain by allowing firms to retain employees who have to move cities for personal reasons and to attract candidates from other parts of the country. Because the accounting community has been adapting to technology, it was able to pivot overnight to adapt to a distance-oriented environment. Clearly outline that the client is responsible for making all decisions, whether it’s addressing the advice and recommendations provided by the CPA or selecting the tax return position to be taken on an amended return. Be sure to include a statement that the client is responsible for providing complete and accurate information to the CPA.

We encourage scholars to contribute to this Forum for the intellectual exchange of academic research on the COVID19 global pandemic impact at individual, organisational or institutional levels. As trusted advisors, it is the duty of professional accountants to be competent in these advancements where they are involved in their development and implementation.

Making the right moves now can help you mitigate any surprises heading into 2022. Everyone is learning how to use their time differently and harness new technologies in order to stay connected. Undoubtedly, even when the pandemic is over, working routines will be different as a result. Hanging like a dreaded spectre over any discussion these days is the shadow of automation. Touching every sector of the economy, most of us no longer talk about ‘what if? ’ This is an important juncture for all societies, because it allows us to take practical, meaningful steps forward. Accountancy is no different from any other sector and, in combination with a strong legal and regulatory framework and attention to improving processes, the industry can take full advantage of the technological advances on offer.

How The Pandemic Is Affecting The Accounting Industry

Accounting Forum aims to promote a thorough understanding of every aspect of the pandemic, including the economic, social, environmental, ethical and governance impacts. We believe the pandemic effects on modern society will be deep and permanent, and thus we call for in-depth, reflexive interdisciplinary contributions in all areas of accounting, business, finance and related subjects that address the responses to the COVID-19 crisis with a global perspective.

While diverse in their contents, the papers can be grouped into three categories, each one representing an emerging theme related to accounting, accountability and management in times of emergency. On this basis, we were confident that this special issue was necessary and timely and would attract insightful contributions. Indeed, the response from the accounting and management academic community was unprecedented.

Identify And Exploit Economic & Industry Trends

The CARES Act represents the third aid package from Congress related to COVID-19. Financial reporting resources for dealing with the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) pandemic.

However, little is known about how accounting is implicated in the ordering and structuring of isolated spaces. Many accounting challenges and opportunities exist now and in the near future for accounting researchers and practitioners to contribute towards an increased understanding of the social transformation that emerged after the violent and sudden closure of space. Potential research questions in this theme may focus on the dialectics of connectivity and dysconnectivity, the future of work organisation, the impact of the pandemic on accounting education and the reverberation for the accounting profession. These papers make important contributions to the many inequalities exposed during the pandemic.

Kellie Parks, founder of Calmwaters Cloud Accounting, discusses how tech enables accountants and their clients to live the life they’ve always wanted. “We were completely remote before, so not much has changed. We already had the right tools in place, and we all do our best work when we are remote.” “As a firm that was 100% remote prior to COVID, our challenge was that this is all different. Despite an ever-growing list of communication tools to choose from, many of which have become household names during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that some ‘traditional’ options have never been more important. Across all measures, Partners & Owners are the least satisfied working at home compared to Junior, Mid-level or Senior staff . Finally, it is important to acknowledge that all of the above cannot be done without the right people in the right roles, healthy and able to contribute. By creating a mechanism to track issues that you encounter throughout these next few weeks, you’re able to address them , creating efficiencies and solving problems in the short and medium term so that they won’t be a concern down the line.

Refer to the AICPA’s guidance on CPA Comfort Letter to Lenders and Third Party Verifications for more information on requests from lenders and a CPA’s suggested response . For many firms, consulting projects, including tax consulting, may be modified, postponed, or even ceased to enable clients to conserve cash flow. If necessary, secure updated engagement letters or other written communication with the client detailing any modifications to scope. If services are temporarily halted, postponed, or cease altogether, confirm this in writing with the client. For example, it may no longer be considered “safe” to perform physical inventories, and fraud inquiries may need to be performed virtually. If both the client and engagement team are working remotely, how will evidence be gathered and tested?


The skills we have are very broad, and we shouldn’t think about them narrowly. Whether it’s non-GAAP measures for financial results, or with sociability information, or environmental information, or governance information, or whatever, we need to own that space. We should help craft what it is, and we should be the ones to add credibility to that information. The same is true for the type of services your firm can offer, pricing trends, and accounting tech trends. You can’t risk your competitors offering clients services you aren’t prepared to offer.

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