Building Resilience & Value during Uncertain Times: Taking Your PAO from Crisis to Recovery

2021-07-21 - 10:30

Published by: IFAC

Organizational recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is not linear—there is no one moment when all organizations, or all communities, can declare it truly over. Given this enduring nature of COVID-19 and its effects worldwide, many professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) may be in crisis management mode. In addressing previous and current adversity though, the global accountancy profession has not only remained steadfast and committed, but it has also adapted for members’ and society’s benefit. Likewise, there is opportunity to continue championing adaptability and take the lessons from 2020 forward into strategic planning and development.

Strategy and planning that address recovery and reimagine the role of the association and profession are crucial. This will help PAOs navigate future crises, including natural disaster, security risk, and/or another health crisis. All of these could lead to no or limited access to the office, business shutdowns, connectivity disruptions, limited gatherings, etc.

Because recovery is not the same for all organizations, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work for IFAC’s diverse, global membership. However, there are common concerns that are interconnected for all PAOs, regardless of size and location, such as:

  • Operational resilience: Operational resilience is an organization’s ability to adapt to changing environments. This includes the resilience of systems and processes – such as strategic planning, governance, and day-to-day operations.
  • Financial strategies for resilience: No strategy or operation can be properly executed without understanding your financial capacity and, for membership organizations, revenue streams and diversification is a consistent challenge.
  • Education: Aside from membership fees, education—through initial programming, examinations, and continuing professional development—often makes up a significant portion of PAOs’ revenues. There are opportunities to diversify with specialized, targeted certifications and offering business-to-business trainings, depending on your market needs.
  • Information Technology: Education and operations will continue to be shaped by digitalization. Digitalization must be integrated into a PAO’s strategy. It is also essential for business continuity and resiliency—for example, some digitalization must take place before another crisis, such as moving working documents to a secure cloud to allow remote access.
  • Communications: All activities and actions that a PAO takes should be informed through the regular communications it has with its membership, staff, and key stakeholders to ensure the PAO is demonstrating its relevancy, responsiveness, and value-add.

No matter where your PAO falls within the Respond, Recover, Reimagine spectrum, these areas are relevant, although your objectives and the questions your organization asks itself will naturally differ. IFAC’s PAO Development & Advisory Group has created a frame of reference to help PAOs in strategic discussions with leadership, governance, and management to determine next steps. The prompts will not provide all the answers or information you may need for your context; rather, they can drive scalable input and ideas. This page also includes collated resources from across IFAC’s network.