Editor's note

Issue 622  June 2021

Follow IAB on twitter @WAI_News

Digital Accountancy Forum 2021 conference round-up

As we head into the summer, all eyes are on the progress of the Covid-vaccination programmes across the globe. Europe and North America have done well to make substantial improvements to get their populations inoculated, but what is clear is that life will not return to ‘normal’ until a majority of the world’s populations has had their jabs. 21.% of the world population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine; 2.6 billion doses have been administered globally and 36.1 million are now administered each day. According to Ourworldindata however, only 0.8 % of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

The recent occurrence of The Delta Variant first identified in India has caused even greater havoc with Covid cases on the rise globally; that has impacted the UK by way of greater travel restrictions and delayed the UK’s planned relaxation of the opening of the economy and sociability. All this is hampering business activity and business connectivity for many with international partners that has had to remain in a virtual domain.

On a positive note though, the recent G7 Summit in Cornwall, UK followed by a NATO meeting in Brussels signalled a return of sorts by the US to the global stage. President Joe Biden stated support of NATO’s interests for the US, troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan, climate change initiatives, combatting cyber threats and in his encouragement of western allies to better align with Russia and China.

On 17 June, IAB and The Accountant hosted DAF 2021 with over 625 attendants. The feedback from this second virtual conference was very positive both from delegates and technology exhibitors alike. The speaker programme offered a broad range of topics that covered technology’s use to deliver business forecasting and strategy, client growth and retention, employee well-being, and research and development into new areas of tech application such as AI, RPA machine learning and blockchain to deliver solutions in a rapidly changing digital world under the strains of the pandemic.

There were several panel debates that highlighted the hot topic currently about new and adaptive working programmes that will determine the way forward for corporate policy- making on ways to incentivise, retain and attract staff. It’s felt that these policies will be so far-reaching that ultimately the decision by the Board or management to go back into the office, full or part- time or with hybrid working, could be the battle cries that will ‘make or break’ a company going forward.

Within the broader area of DEI reporting, amongst other speakers, Tendai White, Executive Director Inpact EMEA & APAC introduced the idea of Intentional Inclusivity for a new outlook to take shape on business strategy suggesting listening to others in order to understand our own behaviour in making intentional choices, identifying that we each have blind spots we can choose to keep hidden and placing emphasis on building foundations where our actions come from a place of awareness and knowledge. The end goal then is for change to become sustainable.

In this issue, do read my interviews with GTN’s president David Kolb about the synergies with Allinial Global and the pandemic’s impact on tax laws and advisory and with Zoe Marsden, Marketing Manager, DFK International on charitable giving; in another Q&A, I speak to Emin Taylan, Managing Partner Grant Thornton, Turkey about local auditing standards.

Fidelis Chukwu, Manager, Pedabo, Morison KSi’s member in Nigeria discusses Transfer Pricing; Gary Rapsey, Global Assurance Innovation Leader talks about the potential for tech to augment how accountants will work in the future; BM Dhungana, partner at B & B Associates, Russell Bedford’s member firm in Nepal outlines the challenges of meeting international standards in accounting and cooperating across the network; an expert fromTradeshift highlights the critical role Accounts Payable divisions play in business continuity and cash flow management. In IAB’s Women in Leadership Series, CEO and Partner, Creaseys, Emma Roberts tells us about her career journey and how she selects and inspires her team.

There are ranking reports on South Africa and Morocco with additional rankings tables covering Ivory Coast and Egypt.

Do send us your feedback from your visit to DAF 2021.