Accounting firms faced many challenges during 2020; the dramatic shift to digital, finding new ways to connect with clients and looking after the well-being of staff. Firms found it difficult to adjust and many spent 2020 reacting to challenges rather than proactively adjusting their business practices. 

In our fifth installment of #PGLooksBack we sat down with Elaine Pantel, PrimeGlobal board member and Partner at PrimeGlobal member firm Shimmerman Penn. Elaine shared her thoughts on the successes and challenges that Shimmerman Penn have faced over the past 12 months and how they have been able to continue connecting with clients and colleagues across the globe throughout the pandemic. 

PrimeGlobal's #PGLooksBack series shares the thoughts and opinions of PrimeGlobal members and staff as they look back on 2020. You can read the first installment of #PGLooksBack with PrimeGlobal CEO Stephen Heathcote HERE> 

What do you feel have been the major successes and challenges for Shimmerman Penn during 2020?

From day one of the lockdown in mid-March, our partner group focused on two major priorities and challenges.  Our first priority was to focus on the well-being of our staff team and help them settle in to remote work, and provide resources and support for them to set-up their workspace and manage their workload, while audits were taking longer to complete and government tax filing deadlines were shifting.  Our second priority was to provide timely advice to help our clients stabilize cash flows, manage significant decisions regarding their workforces and navigate through complex government support programs. We’ve learned new ways to communicate and work smartly in our relationships, internally and externally.  Our connections with our clients have deepened, and many are very grateful for the support we’ve provided. 

What do you feel are the major opportunities and challenges for your firm in 2021?

The pace in 2020 was very hectic and we were often in “reactive” mode. The challenge and opportunity for 2021 is to move into a more “proactive” phase, and build on the areas of strength in our relationships with our employees and clients. Strategic planning horizons have shortened dramatically, and the areas in which we can provide greater value to our clients are changing. We are taking a fresh approach to thinking about our firm’s service lines and business development, and engaging our senior employee group in this process.

What do you see as the most valuable tool/ opportunity that PrimeGlobal provided over 2020?

PrimeGlobal is all about relationships, and the organization moved very quickly to provide excellent resources to help member firms remain connected in a virtual world. There was an astonishing array of online events including regional conferences, sub-regional round tables, webinars from top industry thinkers and social gatherings.  We discovered a silver lining, as many of our partners and employees who had not previously attended PrimeGlobal events become engaged.

What is your personal takeaway from 2020?

While I feel optimistic about the future, I realize that there remain many challenges to overcome in 2021. I feel a very strong sense of purpose about my roles as a CPA, Partner in our firm and Member of the PrimeGlobal Board of Directors.  There is a great need for empathy and compassion in our daily interactions, and I plan to keep this as my personal focus in the year ahead. 

PrimeGlobal wins multiple IAB awards

PrimeGlobal Named Association of the Year

PrimeGlobal has been named both the Association of the Year and Sustainable Organization of the Year at the International Accounting Bulletin Digital Accountancy Awards.

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