Editor's note

Issue 628  December 2021

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The world is reeling again this month from the rise of the Omicron variant that is causing much speculation about its strength and how well the vaccinations and boosters will stand up to it and consequently what may ensue to stifle annual Xmas and winter holiday plans; there is the frustration over lack of sufficient data; Sir Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust, said wealthy nations had been taking “a very blinkered domestic focus, lulled into thinking that the worst of the pandemic was behind us”.

Having said that, there is Merck’s oral antiviral at home Covid pill treatment Lagevrio that may be launched by Christmas in the UK, under a national pilot, licensed last month that the NHS will deliver to clinically vulnerable patients, within 48 hours of testing positive for Covid. Let’s see how effective this will prove to be.

Protests by workers in Italy were sparked last month following strict Covid-19 vaccine requirements, that could have a domino effect in other countries, if facing similar mandates. There were a number of renewed lockdowns across European nations such as Germany, Austria and Portugal, though it seems that the US will not implement any similar lockdowns, due to Covid-19 fatigue and decisions needing to be made at state, county, and city levels.

After almost a couple of months of intense deliberation between Social Democrats (SPD), liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens party, Germany instated a new chancellor, Olaf Scholz. All parties in the government coalition have differing priorities for example on taxation, the Greens and SPD promised to raise taxes on high-earners while the FDP is strongly opposed to that. Clearly, Scholz will have to work hard to achieve consensus in Europe’s economic powerhouse.

In October 2021, global supply chain issues were at the highest recorded levels since 2008. Reuters reported, however that, “As companies, investors and policymakers fret over port logjams, freight costs and chip shortages, some indicators, are starting to signal that global supply chain stress may be on the wane”.

This issue, in the Talking Heads: End of Year Review 2021, I speak to global accounting CEOs, who discuss this year’s company milestones, market challenges and 2022 predictions.

There are features by Xledger, PrimeGlobal and Yooz on digital accounting’s growth through the cloud, the need for tech solutions and advisory to be underpinned and informed by emergent data and the digital transformation in which CFOs are at the forefront, leading the charge in managing risk in a world disrupted by the pandemic and changing business operations.

Specialists at Eversheds highlight FCA’s guidelines on hybrid models for staff working; Vikas Chadha, MD at GI Outsourcing discusses the growth in accounting outsourcing opportunities afforded by the pandemic; there is a letter to its members by IFAC CEO Kevin Dancey about how to localise global ISSB reporting standards and Vitória Bastos Bernardi, Legal Director, Russell Bedford explains how Brazil’s General Data Protection Law proposes greater transparency over the control of private data.

Read rankings reports and tables covering the Nordics and Russia with further tables for Spain. There is also the monthly news round-up.

I wish you and your families all the best of health for the holiday season ahead and a very happy new year 2022.

Zoya Malik, Group Accountancy Editor