The end of another year is fast approaching. Another set of deadlines to meet, holiday events to attend, Board presentations to give, and planning for the next audit season are all converging these last few days of 2022.

December 14 marks my 34th year with Barbacane, Thornton & Company. I seem to be a little more reflective this year and wondering why. Several thoughts come to mind.

The first thought is that we are ending the first year in our new offices. This time last year we were packing up the old space, signing off on finishing touches, and tracking down furniture deliveries, unsure if we would have an operational office on January 1 when everyone returned to work. Now, a year later, it feels like we were meant to be in our new space. Everything is as it should be, and the new space has provided everything we hoped it would. In the New Year we hope to introduce our space to more of our clients and associates. Look for us to be hosting small learning get togethers.

My second thought is how tremendous our Partner group has become over this past year. We have spent the last 5 years building a new team of Partners, having seen two of our top team members advancing to the level of Partner. This year we pushed ourselves to complete intensive leadership analysis and we held a firm retreat to strategize around our 5-year vision for the future. We are looking forward to the advancement of additional team members and the managed growth of our practice.

My third thought revolves around our entire team. I am proud of the fact that we have advanced our initiatives to a point where thirty-six percent of our staff are women and fifty percent of our leadership team are minority and women. We are better positioned than ever to observe the benefit of having voices at the table who bring different perspectives and new ideas. We are moving forward with improved ways to work remotely and more flexibly. We are embracing the concept that remote work is not just the way TO work — it is the way WE work. We are bringing value to our clients through the testing of their systems in a more paperless environment and providing constructive advice around how to have stronger internal control systems within increasingly automated, cloud-based environments.

My next thought comes from the realization that I will not be doing this for another 34 years – for sure! So, what will be the future and what should we be doing today to prepare the next generations for that future. I have had the pleasure of serving on the Board of the PICPA Foundation for the past 2 years. During that time, I have had more of a “front row” seat to some of the initiatives being undertaken to advance the CPA profession and to get young people excited to pursue careers in accounting. As a Board member I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of high school students who were taking an accounting course. I was able to share with them what a meaningful and important career choice this has been for me and many others. For one hour I was given a glimpse into the future as 30 young people listened intently, asked thoughtful and meaningful questions, and provided me a sense of what the future can be as they move into the workforce.

Lastly, my thoughts are more reflective of the struggles, the challenges, and the ups and downs everyone has experienced since 2020 turned everyone’s world upside down. It wasn’t all good, but I do believe we have all learned from the experiences of the past 2 years- and for all we have learned I am grateful.