When do we move from “unprecedented” to “normal”? In March we labeled all of the following unprecedented: all staff working from home, all audits conducted in a remote environment, a relaxed dress code, attendance at client Board meetings via zoom, observing minutes of Board meetings watching You Tube, executing a client seminar on a virtual platform, and meeting our team member Bob’s new baby girl by way of video on Microsoft teams! Now, 4-1/2 months later we consider these activities to be the way we conduct business and maintain relationships. Many have called the necessary changes our “new normal” or the “new reality”. Looking back on this timeframe, it does not seem to matter how we categorize the pivot, but that we maintain who we are and stay connected to the WHY we do business.
There is significance in what has not changed for our firm. Our core values of Integrity, Quality, and Responsiveness have been at the forefront of our decision making as we work to navigate and help our clients navigate the impact of the pandemic on their internal controls and financial reporting. We define integrity to mean that we do the right thing, for the right reason, the right way and that we are accountable for our actions. Quality is to exceed expectations, always adhere to all professional standards, and to do it right the first time, then double check! Responsiveness means that we work to meet or exceed deadlines and that we are present for our clients as a trusted advisor, friend, and support system.
We have worked to be advanced from a technology perspective for many years. When the shutdown happened, our staff went home fully automated with audit software, Microsoft teams, a client secure portal in place, and access to Zoom to facilitate meetings. We took the opportunity of completing the December year-end audits to learn and explore ways to manage efficiencies and maintain client relationships with the thought that our remote audits would continue. In July we held a virtual seminar to share with our clients the way that remote auditing can work and, in many ways, improve efficiency while maintaining a high level of quality. We are excited to be able to offer a fully integrated remote audit experience to all our clients as we enter our June year-end audit cycle.
We understand the importance and significance of timely audits now more than ever. Many of our nonprofit clients continue to seek grants and funding to help them pivot to meet the pandemic needs of our communities and our school clients struggle to manage the changes in their budgets and financial condition while working to maximize resources to meet the demands of virtual learning and other necessary changes to the way they deliver education opportunity to their citizens. Timely audits will in many instances be the conduit to help demonstrate financial need as well as financial accountability. We take that charge seriously and look forward to continuing our forty-two-year history of providing audit and accounting services to the communities we serve.
Above all else, we are hopeful that our families, clients, friends, and neighbors will be safe and well and that the ravages of the pandemic will subside in the months to come. In the meantime — we are here and ready to serve.