The global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has had an enormous impact on the world. Personally, I extend my deepest sympathy to all of those who have been directly or indirectly affected by this public health crisis. As I write this column, in mid-March, each day seems to bring new developments that require new responses—from our governments, our organizations, our families, and ourselves. And the landscape is constantly shifting.
Yet as individuals wiser than I have said, it’s the hard times that reveal what we truly are made of. Difficult situations require leaders who can step forward and provide guidance and inspiration. I challenge all of us as accounting and finance professionals to be those leaders within our organizations. Despite the resulting uncertainty and fear, this crisis offers an opportunity to demonstrate our skills, like data analysis and planning, to examine the risks and impacts to business during this unprecedented time. We can use our talents to offer hope in the midst of the unknown and provide wise counsel to set a course for the future.
At a time when we’re being asked to practice social distancing and limit in-person interactions, it’s also more important than ever to find ways to stay connected with others and with the energy and positivity of our community. To that end, I encourage members to network, communicate, and share with friends and colleagues, including your fellow IMA® members, in a way that allows for staying connected while maintaining social distance. IMA offers many ways to reach out virtually, including discussion groups on myIMA Network (bit.ly/2WbYbVm), and a variety of online learning resources, such as free webinars and courses. Take advantage of being part of a membership organization, where members are facing similar struggles and challenges.
I am proud of the way IMA’s commitment to social responsibility has been its top priority in response to this situation. In March, IMA President and CEO Jeff Thomson communicated to members that IMA canceled or postponed all in-person events, conferences, and meetings scheduled through April 30, 2020. At that time, IMA also made the decision to have all of its employees around the world work from home for business continuity. In addition, the Chinese-language CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam originally scheduled for this April was moved to May.
IMA continues to monitor the situation daily and will make additional adjustments as necessary. These are often difficult decisions, but the organization’s primary concern is the safety and well-being of all stakeholders, including staff, volunteers, CMAs, candidates, partners, and accounting and finance professionals around the world.
Yes, these are uncertain times, but we will get through them together.
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