Members in business share their optimism and ambition for 2022

2022 is a time to step out of the comfort zone and develop ourselves, our teams and our services, say AAT members in business.

Last year did not bring the smooth sailing that many of us accountants and finance teams expected; the recovery from Covid-19 was very stop-start, with several unexpected twists.

In our final Members in Business article of the year, our panel talk about their hopes, fears and predictions for 2022.

In the short term, another variant of the virus threatens to restrict businesses. But businesses are now better prepared and supported by vaccines and boosters that offer help and protection not available a year ago.

2022 will be a more optimistic year – we’re hopeful for growth and recovery

Farha Jamadar FMAAT, finance manager, Todd Doors

My priorities for next year, from an organisational perspective, is to ensure we achieve our targets and budgets and reset our year back to pre-Covid. We want to try to achieve the growth that was stunted in 2020 and 2021.

With supply chains undisrupted and no more secondary effects of Covid, I’d like to develop my team more to ensure we can automate specific areas, work on business partnerships and ensure the team has a wide set of skills that enable each member’s growth.

I’m hoping to have a less turbulent year in 2022. I think 2021 was the year we thought we would spring back to normality, but the secondary effects of Covid were not considered, and that has an effect on the business and normality. In light of this, I think we’ll approach 2022 both optimistically and pessimistically

I think as people are more and more vaccinated, the risks of lockdowns reduce. We take more precautions, but the risk of infection is up, which affects staff and resources. With new variants, the question keeps occurring: will it end or will this be a new way of life?

Overall, we’re focused on growth and recovery. We enter 2022 leaner and with strategies that have been adapted to the new obstacles that have developed over the past two years. the things we have learned over that time arm us to overcome any more possible obstacles in 2022.

The future brings an elevated level of risk for planning

Andy Murray MAAT AATQB, finance lead, Manna Pro UK

The first half of 2022 is likely to present challenges – global freight and supplier costs continue to undermine traditional forecasting methods, leading to higher-risk decision making and a cautious approach to growth.

Our sector has experienced unprecedented demand, which has presented continuous scope for growth. The pace of acquisition leaves little time for planning and often requires additional output from existing resources. Balancing opportunities for growth with the ever-increasing demands of the changing operating picture continues to stretch individuals professionally.

I believe the future brings an enhanced level of risk for decision making, strategy and business planning. We need to invest in the core infrastructure of both key professional posts and accounting software to ensure due diligence is not compromised.

There is an opportunity to add to the basket of skills in order to deliver the challenge ahead. Agile working practices is one example of a way the sector can remain attractive.

From a personal perspective, I want to build greater resilience by strengthening my mental agility. Developing skills and techniques will enable me to grow with my employer in an increasingly pressured environment.

Crafting a study plan which offers a work-life balance while allowing me the space to continue my professional studies. I hope that twinning this with increasing my mental agility will help me complete CIMA.

Professionally I propose to implement a full SOP manual for the Finance function. Documenting all procedures and controls and also forming part of the employee induction process within the team. Recognising the changing demographic, with more people retiring from the Finance sector the importance of succession planning and ‘growing your own’ has become an immediate priority.

While Covid has been destructive in many ways, it’s also created so many new opportunities, and people will seize their moments.

It will be a time to innovate and think outside the box

Clare Elliott FMAAT, CFO, ILUX

2020 was a unique year for many of us, and while at the time, we thought 2021 might be a return to normal, that further taught us that sometimes we have to find a new way for the long term.

Plans for 2021 that didn’t materialise due to external factors beyond our control should now be pursued with a vengeance. Objectives might have to be achieved differently, but there is no reason to think all of our hopes and dreams cannot happen. Now is the time to really think outside the box, and step right outside of your comfort zone. There is no need to keep believing we have barriers in our way.

While the world feels quite different in so many ways, in reality we are already settling in to our new normality. While Covid is still the main topic of conversation, it’s not stopping the majority going out and trying to create a fun life. After all, humans are naturally social, and so it would be almost impossible to not see a return to normal at some point. Businesses are optimistic and are adapting resourcefully to additional challenges, such as importing post-Brexit and dealing with low unemployment.

Personally, I see 2022 as another fairly slow year, in terms of a “return to normal”. Holidays might happen, but not as many people will indulge. Events might still be restricted, and we’ll all get used to our regular vaccinations. Whilst there might continue to be some obvious reminders, as facemasks continue to be worn, the virus will become our “new normal” and we’ll all create a new way of living a normal life around a new disease.

Mark Rowland is a journalist and former editor of Accounting Technician and 20 magazine.

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