Are vaccine passports the way forward?
As the UK, USA and most of Western Europe start to reach the levels of mass vaccinations where countries, and consequently economies, begin the process of opening-up, several fundamental issues are needing to be addressed. For example, the UK Government is hoping to lift all restrictions by the 21st of June so that society can return to the pre-pandemic “normal.” However, the emergence of the Indian variant may throw a spanner in the works, not just for the UK but also for the rest of the world. Consequently, the shape of the “new normal” has yet to be defined; concepts such as reduced travel, continued use of mask wearing and regular hand washing etc. may have to be integrated permanently into the way we live. There are many other questions emerging that need to be answered soon, such as how do we relate to vaccine sceptics? Is there a need for vaccine passports and, if so, how will a globally recognised system work? Will annual booster shots be required?
For the time being, the impact of the pandemic on their economies is of greater concern to most world governments. Employment data for the month of April in the USA was significantly less encouraging than predicted. Inflation in the UK rose by 1.5% in the year to April 2020, compared with 0.7% in March, although the Bank of England were quick to comment that they did not anticipate a rise in interest rates for the foreseeable future. Holiday destinations across Europe are vying for returning tourists, global commodity prices are rising with factories and businesses in China and much of Asia looking to ramp up production and underlying political tensions in the Middle East are coming back to the fore. Clearly there is an uncertain path ahead for everyone, but we can be encouraged by the mere fact that slowly, but surely, we may be getting out from under the yoke of Covid-19.
In this issue, do read my interview with Marco Vermin, DFK International’s new EMEA Vice-President who shares his vision for this new role and his involvement on the board of directors at Alfa Accountants, Netherlands. Steve Heathcote, CEO, PrimeGlobal offers a comment reminding us to focus on the threats posed by climate change that will inevitably lead to new regulation and increased business disclosure and reporting. In the Women in Leadership Series, Christine Nicholson, author, entrepreneur and UK Business Mentor of the year 2020 discusses her career journey, the difference her accounting training has made in creating a strong framework for her thoughts and the confidence to find and direct her skills through her life and in mentoring and guiding others through their business phases. Alex Jay, Head of Insolvency and Asset Recovery at Stewarts debates the position of audit firms from the collapse of Greensill Capital. Zulfi Unar, Director, Theta Global Advisors LLP also sheds light on Global regulations in Auditing and corporate governance.
There are industry rankings reports and tables covering Ghana and Kenya, and additional industry rankings tables for Nigeria.
International Accounting Bulletin and The Accountant will look forward to welcoming you to the annual Digital Accounting Forum 2021 virtual event to be held on 17th June, 2021. Do register to listen to a host of industry speakers and panellists debating and exhibitors showcasing technological advancements to service the accounting industry.