The recent and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to social distance, which means many businesses, organizations, and college campuses are closed. Like with many families, my husband and I went from being empty nesters to having a full house again.
My son had been enjoying his freshman year at Tulane University, and my daughter, who went abroad to Spain in the fall, had returned to Wake Forest University to finish off her junior year. But now they are both home participating in online classes.
Similarly, IMA management closed the Montvale, N.J., headquarters office in early March 2020 (as well as its other offices around the globe) and had all staff work remotely. It is definitely different, and we are all adjusting to this new norm.
For business professionals, social distancing may have also changed the way you practice, how you participate in continuing education courses, and how you consume education in general. Although many in-person events have been canceled, it doesn’t mean you can’t still sharpen your skills, connect with your peers (albeit virtually), or continue your education. Here are a few IMA resources aimed to help you through this crisis.
IMA has free monthly webinars for members on a wide variety of topics. Hot topics include strategy, technology, and leadership skills. We also host webinars for faculty called “Faculty Friday.” We recently held one about online learning, which aimed to help faculty transition to teaching online. Some faculty have never hosted a virtual class before, so it was helpful to have others share valuable resources and tips. The webinars are recorded and archived, so you can listen to them at your leisure.
IMA’s award-winning magazine is published every month, and there’s an online version as well. It’s a great way to keep up with what’s going on in the profession.
The Count Me In® podcast also covers a lot of different topics affecting the accounting and finance profession. Recent conversations include working remotely, business transformation, agile project management, and so much more. Podcasts are a great resource because they are short and digestible and can inspire listeners.
EXCEL 365 AND STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS TUTORIALS
Excel is a crucial skill for accounting and finance professionals. IMA recently released quick, 10-minute nano courses that demonstrate new features of Excel 365. They are taught by Bill Jelen (Mr. Excel). These tutorials are a great way to sharpen your Excel skills. There’s also a Statement of Cash Flows tutorial, which is another important topic for management accountants.
Now may be a great time to start studying for the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. Set up a schedule to keep yourself motivated to cover the material at your own pace. Once the Prometric centers reopen, you’ll be ready to sign up to sit for the exam.
SOCIAL DISTANCING DOESN’T MEAN ISOLATION
Social distancing means that you can’t gather in-person, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up socializing with friends and colleagues. It just means it has to happen a little differently. Remote services like Zoom or Skype allow us to host virtual Happy Hours, lunch and learns, exercise sessions, or even birthday parties.
Another important point to make is that leaders can make or break how their staff react to the upheaval and uncertainty caused by COVID-19. During these times of crisis and chaos, leaders who understand the importance of communication and make sure that they’re transparent with their staff are so valuable. We’re very lucky that IMA’s President and CEO, Jeff Thomson, is a great communicator because it will allow us to come out of this stronger than ever.