If the first half of this year has taught us anything, it is that we cannot thrive without the support of others. Our current, unexpected global challenge — one that grew from a health emergency — shows starkly how interlinked our world is and, just as clearly, how our actions have ramifications beyond our own bubbles.
That much has been clear from what I have seen finance professionals do when faced with an unexpected and global challenge.
Members of the Association have risen to the challenge of managing a rare situation, while generously sharing what they have learned in the process. Regional advisory panels have met remotely to ensure members' safety, while contributing knowledge and advice so that we can understand specifically where our support is most needed.
Our members have been kind enough to spare time and make videos of what they have been doing to manage the situations many of our finance colleagues face. We have been able to support free webinars, for example, and our regional teams have adapted their support depending on needs in their part of the world. That has been a huge effort and does not include the significant change we made to allow those taking our professional exams around the world to do so safely.
The major benefit of a large organisation — we are 650,000 members and students strong — is that we can draw on more resources to better help the people we represent. When members of CIMA and the American Institute of CPAs voted to come together as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, we knew the weight of a larger organisation would boost our advocacy efforts, build influence for members, and extend networks into even more businesses and decision-making areas.
We could not have known how this belief would be tested. Member responses to the COVID-19 pandemic confirm they understand why joining forces with global colleagues in our interlinked world makes us stronger.
Given the force of the economic impact of COVID-19, which will play out for a long time after the virus has been contained, I am relieved that we have a strong body to drive efforts to rebuild the global economy.
We will redouble our efforts to help members find roles if they have been unfortunate enough to lose their jobs. The Association's Global Career Hub provides a huge number of opportunities, and we will continue to ensure it features as many vacancies as possible.
Last, but certainly not least, we would not be able to help our members if it were not for the formidable work being done by colleagues at all levels of the Association. COVID-19 has been a huge test for all of us, and a particular challenge for a new organisation. Thankfully, despite the unexpected nature of that challenge, we were well placed to change quickly and meet it.
Our priority is to have a resilient Association which supports you through uncertain times — and on through to better times. Let us hope those better times are not too far away.
Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, is chief executive—Management Accounting at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.