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A new year for accountants

Updated: May 17, 2023

FIRST of all, Happy New Year! Last year was challenging for us accountants, especially as we were busy with the adoption and execution of the International Standards on Quality Management (ISQM). Hopefully, the continuous trainings provided by the Acpapp Academy yielded significant insights and smoothened the transition period.

British writer C.S. Lewis once stated that there are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. A New Year's resolution is almost customary, if not procedural, not only among us accountants but for most Filipinos in general, especially during the days leading to January 1. The resolutions embody one's aspirations of a better self and are a personification of what one wants to be. Of course, New Year's resolutions will remain dreams absent the requisite will and discipline to execute them to the letter. That is why, for the resolutions to be feasible, they must be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

With self-betterment in mind, here are a few suggested New Year's resolutions for accountants:

Resolve to upgrade your technical knowledge. It may be in the form of updates in accounting standards or trainings you have been wanting to attend for the longest time (such as ISQM), additional certifications you have deferred to take or additional studies — there is no better year to take them than this year. Covid-19 protocols have partially been lifted, allowing face-to-face interactions that are especially required in workshops and additional studies. My personal suggestion would be to take up law units. The study of law bridges technical concepts that are ordinarily outside the ambit of accountancy, among these intellectual property procedural aspects, a deeper understanding of financial rehabilitation, and compliance with banking, insurance and securities rules. No matter what, continuous technical upgrades are a must. Continuous learning assures us accountants that the services we provide are always top-notch and relevant.

Resolve for digitalization. As we age, we tend to become averse to new technology. The pandemic taught us, however, that we as accountants need to evolve and adapt to the circumstances and ever-changing technological environment to remain competitive. Familiarity with cloud-based technologies such as workspaces, software and tools give us the needed edge of efficiency and accuracy. Cloud workspaces for example, simplify tasks, reduce hardware costs (since almost all data is stored online), provide better security, and offer seamless collaboration and communication tools necessary for working remotely. Indeed, acclimating to a digital environment improves productivity, efficiency and teamwork.

Resolve to plan effectively for the audit season. The start of the year perfects the planning process of the last quarter of 2022. Planning constitutes half of the success of every engagement. In general, a good inventory of accountable documents should be made and a thorough review of accounting entries should be done to start the year-end book-closing process. Initiate meetings with clients to discuss the requirements for audits, the bottlenecks experienced during the previous year, and what needs to be done to complete the audits early.

Learn a new hobby. As accountants, we are always bombarded by the demands of the trade, especially during the perennial audit season. A good way to reduce stress and boost creativity is by learning a new hobby. A hobby also increases our social interaction and network. I myself have been wanting to start photography and mountaineering for some time but can't seem to find time for either of them. That is why this year, I intend to find time to finally go for both, shooting two birds in one stone, by doing some photography while climbing mountains. A good hobby promotes an accountant's needed work-life balance.

Resolve to be physically fit. Set aside time to exercise daily.A simple jog in the morning or in the afternoon goes a long way for physical and mental health. Timing fitness breaks in the office for simple calisthenics or stretching not only improves posture and health but most of all revitalizes focus and performance.

As accountants, we often indulge in eating to cope with and soothe stress, especially during the weeks before April 15. As a result, however, we become more fatigued and restless. I know it is easier said than done but as a New Year's resolution, a balanced diet is a must.

These are just some ideas to spark your year ahead. Remember to act on the resolution you'll be making for these to become true — otherwise they'll just become wishes by the end of the year. So have confidence and faith, and go on and make your New Year's resolution!

Emmanuel C. Dumayas, CPA, JD is the managing partner of Paguio, Dumayas & Associates, CPAs (PrimeGlobal Philippines) and the incoming chairman of the Media Affairs Committee of the Association of CPAs in Public Practice. His opinion does not reflect in any way those of these institutions.

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