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MGI Worldwide COVID-19 resource hub

Star Speaker Series of webinars

During two of the hardest hit months of the pandemic, MGI Worldwide with CPAAI hosted a new "Star Speaker" series of webinars, featuring our members' favourite speakers from around the world. 

The webinars featured some of the most entertaining and insightful speakers we have had the pleasure of hearing at our conferences over the years. They are all world-class speakers and authors, who regularly appear in conferences, TED talks, TV shows, and webinars all over the globe.

The series theme was "What next? After the pandemic", taken from a broad variety of angles - your practice, the economy, your clients, technology, your work and life. The format was mostly a short introduction by the speaker, who then took questions and led debate on his or her ideas.

Star Speaker webinar recordings NOW available!

6 May - Ian Golding Top customer experience expert

The importance of empathy in driving sustainable growth

READ MORE & VIEW WEBINAR

13 May - Tim Harford Author, Economist, FT and BBC Journalist

"After the pandemic. Will we use the opportunity to do business better?"


READ MORE & VIEW WEBINAR

20 May - Jonathan Pain Leading consultant and TV commentator on global economic trends

"After the pandemic: what will the new economic reality look like?


READ MORE & VIEW WEBINAR

27 May - Gerd Leonhard World-renowned expert on the future of business and technology

The Great Transformation; A post-corona future: what to expect in the next 3-5 years”


READ MORE & VIEW WEBINAR

3 June - Ross Fishman Award-winning Consultant, International Speaker Best-selling author

"Marketing your way out of a Pandemic"


READ MORE & VIEW WEBINAR

10 June - Andy Bounds Marketing Specialist, Renowned Keynote Speaker

"Communicating with your market in uncertain times"


READ MORE & VIEW WEBINAR

17 June - Gillian Fischer, Mindbridge Transformation & Customer Success, Change Leader

"Effective change management"


READ MORE & VIEW WEBINAR

24 June, 2pm (BST) - Moira Clark Professor of Strategic Marketing I Founder and Director of The Henley Centre for Customer Management

"Employee experience and remote working"


READ MORE & VIEW WEBINAR

For all recordings of past webinars, visit the Webinars page in the Member area (login required).


Marketing & Communications ‘drop-in’ Zoom calls 

These weekly ‘drop-in’ calls were set up to help members keep in touch and share experiences about dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, as well as to exchange ideas and knowledge more broadly related to marketing and communications.

During the months of July and August, our marketing & communications zoom calls will be held once a month on Thursday 30 July, and Thursday 27 August at 4:30 PM London time, (BST).

We encourage all CPAAI and MGI Worldwide firms to get involved and everyone is welcome to join in – partners, managers, juniors, trainees, admin, so please remember to share this invitation with everyone in your firm!

For access, visit the Marketing Resource page in the Member Area (login required), and scroll down to Global Marketing Calls, where you will find the full list of the weekly 'drop-in' Zoom calls with times, links and required passwords as well as recordings of past webinars.

Coronavirus resources

Positive Stories

After COVID-19

As countries begin to slowly ease the lock-down there is much uncertainty about what 'normality' will now look like. Below we share some useful resources from reliable sources to help our firms navigate these unchartered waters.


IFAC Webinars

IFAC invites you to participate in its weekly webinar series, starting on Thursday July 9.


Occurring over three weeks, each week the webinar will focus on practical audit quality considerations for each phase of the audit. Participants will hear different perspectives, experiences, and insights from a variety of audit leaders.


There is no charge to attend any of these webinars. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION


CLICK BELOW FOR KEY TAKEAWAYS

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, IFAC and the World Bank Group Governance Global Practice MENA region have come together for the ADVANCE series of webinars: Accounting and Auditing During Volatility, Ambiguity, National Crisis and Emergency.


CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Recognizing the importance of high-quality auditing in ensuring successful provision of essential goods and services, the first ADVANCE series webinar—broadcast simultaneously in English and Arabic—focused on “Key Challenges Facing SOEs During & Post COVID-19: Accountants and Auditors’ Perspective.”

English version: https://youtu.be/UUD8N60zawY

Arabic version: https://youtu.be/tUZzRDhUQxM

Sources of information about the pandemic itself

It is important only to refer to reliable, science-based sources of information. Social media has spread the most astonishing, sometimes horrible nonsense and even some world leaders have resorted to pseudo-science and infantile conspiracy theories. The most reliable sources, written and checked by serious, fact and science-based authors and institutions are:

Managing your business

Click on the links below to read more

Key advice to your clients:

  • Cash is king
    - If income dries up, cut outflows early and hard.
    - Send customers invoice now.
    - Prioritise and negotiate with suppliers.
    - Who can you afford not to pay?
  • Use whatever is on offer from your government.
  • Work with your team on restructuring.
  • Plan with the long term in mind as well as the short.
  • Review supply chains, look for stock/product buying opportunities.
  • Look for new ways to work, often using technology such as Zoom, Teams, Slack.
  • Can you adapt your business model to online and direct delivery?
  • Communicate with your customers more than ever.

BUT, remember to protect your own business:

  • Clients will remember how you treated them in this time of crisis but remember you need to make money too.
  • How much time are you spending on free advice?
  • Can this client pay now, or soon?
  • Will the client survive?

Your practice, your business

  • All the advice you give to your clients applies to you (see above). Again, cash is king.

  • Use the technology

    • The Cloud – you should be moving your and your clients’ data and applications to the cloud.

    • Teams, Slack, Sococo, One Drive, DropBox, Planner, etc. for team and project coordination.

    • Plus Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp for communication
  • Be aware of employment responsibilities for home working

Managing your teams

  • Prepare to take tough decisions – furloughs and layoffs.

  • Be compassionate, even where you have to lay off.

  • Be honest with staff and don’t delegate the difficult conversation to HR and more junior managers.

  • Staff, like customers, will remember how you dealt with them. When the business comes back – and it will – you’ll need them.

  • Check your teams have the right equipment and setup – software, internet, home office.

  • They will be in their home office for months not weeks – are their chairs and desks ergonomic, as they are in the office? One of our member firms sent all their staff their chairs from the office – consider doing the same.

  • Don't expect the same level of performance, at least during a transition phase.

  • Be understanding of new work patterns.

  • Communication

    • Always prefer video to voice – this maintains the human contact.

    • Maintain daily contact with all team members, as a whole, in groups or individually.

    • Think of new ways of giving support, advice, mentoring.

    • Include non-work-oriented sessions – group coffee meetings, fun stuff, personal issues.

    • Keep a special eye out for how people who are alone are doing.

    • Make it clear that it’s normal for kids, pets, partners to come in and out of the shot. It’s not easy to work in the middle of a family environment.
  • Webinar Your practice and your staff: how to manage a practice and the challenges of home working, including the psychological effects on staff in isolation. The first 30 minutes of the following 2 webinars, are led by psychologist Dr Stuart Baker, who talks about some of the challenges of working from home and took questions from participants.
  • Webinar Helping Clients: how to help clients deal with cash flow, business maintenance, new approaches using technology and so on.

    To access the webinars, visit the Coronavirus member support webinars page in the Member Area (login required), where you will find all links and required passwords to the above webinars.

The psychological effects of working from home

Click on the links below to read more

The psychology of working in isolation – the risks

  • You must not ignore the mental health and psychological issues, they are real and not weakness or HR mumbo-jumbo.

  • Most of your staff are not used to working from home for long stretches.

  • They will all have anxieties – separation from friends and family, tensions at home, fear over losing their jobs or income, fear of getting sick, fear that their performance is not up to the usual level and so on.

  • People working alone are especially vulnerable – it is not accidental that solitary confinement is a punishment and can be defined as torture. You have a moral and probably legal duty to support them.

  • Having your family around is good but can also cause stresses through disturbance, limited office facilities and just being enclosed with the same people day after day, however much you love them.

  • You also need to watch your team’s physical health – are they getting exercise, using comfortable chairs, taking breaks, following a routine, not over-indulging in food or alcohol.

  • You will also be facing many of the same anxieties and stresses yourself.

The psychology of working in isolation – tips

  • Make a routine, allowing for exercise, breaks, light-hearted communication.

  • Separate your working area from your living area as far as you can.

  • When you stop work, move away from your work area, move into relaxation mode.

  • Minimise viewing of the news to necessary updates – don’t get obsessed by the stream of stories and statistics.

  • Social distancing doesn’t mean disconnecting - keep connected with your friends and family.

  • Outside work, look for online group or shared activities, rather than just escaping into TV or video games.

  • Remember compassion to others “Just like me…”, even when you have to take difficult decisions.
  • Webinar: Your practice and your staff: how to manage a practice and the challenges of home working, including the psychological effects on staff in isolation.

    The first 30 minutes of the 2 webinars, (Session 1 & 2) are led by psychologist Dr Stuart Baker, who talks about some of the challenges of working from home and took questions from participants.

    To access the webinar visit the Coronavirus member support webinars page in the Member Area (login required), where you will find the link and required password to the above webinar.


Effects on audit, financial reporting and tax

Click on the links below to read more

The key word in audit this year will be uncertainty, especially for year ends after 31 December 2019. The key issues that were pointed out for special attention were:

  • Impact on risk assessments and materiality. Need to look at high risks in specific industries, greater supervision of quality control.
  • Higher risk of fraud – scanned documents, pressure to “improve” results and cash flow forecasts, stock/inventory uncertain.
  • Unsure nature of audit evidence obtained, without physical access to inventory, paper records and documents, property plant and equipment and the lack of close interactions with clients’ managers.
  • Great uncertainty in the assessment of going concern and of disclosures in financial statements. Deeper, broader and much more hypothetical risk analysis needed.
  • Weak measurement of assets and liabilities, whether physical or those depending on forecasting. Are changes post balance sheet adjusting or non-adjusting?
  • Project management of the audit process – managing teams, communications, support to more junior team members, supervision and signing off.
  • Qualification of audit reports. Many more reports will be qualified, probably with less push back from clients and finance sources. Extending year-end may help in some cases.
  • 2020 will be viewed as an unreliable year for audit reports. In addition to all the above, uncertainty of what will happen in a week’s time, let alone the rest of the financial year is too great to allow real accuracy in forecasting and risk assessment.

It is essential to look at guidance from your own regulators and professional institutes. It can also be useful to look at the guidance issued by reputable regulator/institutes in other countries. Please see the references below for examples of guidance. I particularly recommend the recording of an open online session we held, including members of our Technical Committee and other experts.

  • Webinar The effect on audit validity: the effects on the practice and validity of audit - remote audit, going concern in a crisis of unknown duration and other issues.

    To access the webinar visit the Coronavirus member support webinars page in the Member Area (login required), where you will find the link and required password to the above webinar.


  • Financial Reporting Council guidance: frc.org.uk

  • Accountants Institute (ICAEW) resource hub: icaew.com

Wellness

Click on the links below to read more




News and more positive stories

China members meet up with Mackrell

After the successful call between MGI Worldwide, CPAAI & MI members in India, Audrey Danasamy, Asia Regional Director together with Sandeep Peters Mackrell International Asia Pacific Business Development Coordinator decided to replicate the call for members in the Greater China region. This was the first time all the member firms in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau were met together, including their respective managers. “The virtual introduction of each of the firms and their key contacts was significant in itself,” said Audrey. 

On keeping up firm moral!

There are lots of fun ways to keep your staff and team upbeat in these uncertain times.  At BPO AUDIT TAX in Hungary, the HR department organised a Friday Quiz to keep morale high and everyone in their firm connected. Questions included: “Which organization merged with MGI last October?” and “Who is the CEO of MGI Worldwide?” Congratulations to the winner, Alexadra Nagy who received home delivery Pizza as the firm is still #workingfromhome.

On Business, COVID-19 and GST implications

As the coronavirus pandemic disrupts trade at a local and global level, India-based C. R. Sharedalal share a detailed paper they have produced for their clients outlining implications for GST in India. SEE THE FULL PAPER HERE.

On building a Business Resilience plan

The hospitality industry, in particular, is expected to experience a long term negative impact from the COVID19 pandemic, and MGI Vision of Oman have produced a paper setting out a list of suggested actions aimed at mitigating the various risks by building a Business Resilience Plan (BRP). READ THE FULL PAPER HERE.

 

As the Middle East faces COVID-19 and the oil crash

MGI Vision of Oman shares flyers produced to help clients manage their cash flow through the double blow of COVID-19 and the collapse of oil prices in the region, and marketing their own services. Read MGI Vision's flyers about MANAGING CASH FLOW HERE and about their ACCOUNTING SERVICES HERE.

A "silver lining from the Covid19 cloud."

Nancy Damato, Marketing Director for North America says, "It was wonderful to gather Canadian-based member firms of MGI Worldwide with CPAAI and Mackrell International on a web call!  MGI and Mackrell have enjoyed many years of partnering and collaborating, and now more than ever, it is essential to have strong relationships and friendships.  We look forward to continuing our conversations, enhancing our relationships, and exploring opportunities to collaborate.

Keith Heddle, Managing Director at Mackrell International adds, "From my perspective, it was really good to see a great bunch of people across Canada, from West to East, getting on famously and finding commonalities of experience, of purpose and of opportunity for clients – both now and for the future. It’s great to be cooperating like this – a definite silver lining from the Covid19 cloud."

 

On the effects of COVID-19 on accounting

Ricardo Ruiz, Partner at MGI LT Accountant & Asociados Asesores y Auditores, Dominican Republic presents a short article discussing the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic on global markets and the ramifications these could have in the world of accounting. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

 

Dealing with business valuations and divorce during the pandemic

MGI Worldwide with CPAAAI Co-Chair and leading UK forensic accountant from Milsted Langdon, Roger Isaacs, presents a short video in which he considers how divorce lawyers should deal with the valuation of family businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, when many of those businesses have effectively been “mothballed”.  He considers the pros and cons of pressing ahead with valuations now compared with waiting for a time of less economic uncertainty, bearing in mind the fact that divorcing clients will want to avoid being left in limbo and will bee keen to finalise their financial separation. WATCH FULL VIDEO HERE.

 

On OECD Guidance to Tax Issues Created by the COVID-19 Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lockdown in the majority of the countries, people are stranded in countries where they are not residents. This has resulted in Tax issues impacting the right to Tax between countries. OECD has given guidance on the subject and Amit Chopra from Gopal Chopra & Associates, India gives a brief summary. READ FULL PAPER HERE.

On regions 'getting together'

As members around the world adapt to the new reality of working from home and dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, many have reached out to fellow MGI Worldwide and CPAAI network and association members as a means of support. 

Andrea Pallas, MGI Latin America Regional Director says: "Members of MGI Worldwide with CPAAI in Latin America met via ZOOM to discuss and share experiences related to COVID-19 within Audit activity. We had a very interesting meeting with 49 participants!"

 

On meeting up with sister law network

Audrey Danasamy, Asia Regional Director together with Sandeep Peters Mackrell International Asia Pacific Business Development Coordinator for our sister law network Mackrell International, set up a zoom call amongst their India firms. The objective of the call, apart from introducing the members to each other, was to provide a platform for members to share and discuss legal and financial issues due to the current pandemic and how they are managing their firms in the present situation. “It was a good call”, said Sandeep “and meeting the new members from CPAAI was beneficial.” READ MORE HERE

On hosting a successful webinar discussing recent C-19 legislation 

Tom Neff, Managing Partner at RINA, USA, commented, “I think the webinar went very well and that’s the general tone of the feedback I’ve received. Around 200 people connected to the webinar and we got 5 new clients as a result, which I’m happy with. We will be doing a follow up soon as the laws are changing so fast here; we have a lot to add after only 1 week.” WATCH WEBINAR HERE

 

On engagement from the top down

Stuart Hendler, Managing Partner at MGI Bass Gordon, South Africa says: "We have over 100 staff and we can’t get to them daily while we work remotely and so each week I send out a personal video message via YouTube and WhatsApp. Firm member Nicole Stopforth says: "The last video message was so well received by staff and had them all in stitches. Everyone enjoyed seeing our Managing Partner, Stuart’s personal video message. When the buy-in comes from the top, the staff are more eager to also show engagement." WATCH STUART'S VIDEO HERE.

On motivating junior staff

Joanna Żmuda–Trzebiatowska from Arena Tax, Poland says: “Keeping in touch with our younger generation staff is important for motivation, something daily they have as part of their routine, even if only for 10 minutes - this is working well. We encourage them to come into the office if they don’t come on public transport, even if it's for one day a week.” 

On the potential for more international business

Rachel Pugh from Seymour Taylor, UK says: “Something positive that we can take away from this experience could be more international business. We’ve all learnt to use the technology and know now  that we can do this face-to-face.”  

On establishing routine and keeping in touch

Nini de Freitas from MGI Bass Gordon, South Africa says: "Encouraging staff to ‘get dressed for work’, make a point of packing away work things at the end of the day, and making sure mentors and mentees are keeping contact all helps. We also use Microsoft teams to keep in touch."

On seeing this time as an opportunity rather than adversity

Amit Chopra from Gopal Chopra & Associates, India has published his thoughts and ideas on the present coronavirus crisis and ​the ways in which we can learn valuable lessons from this experience. He says: "It is indeed a time for self-discovery. It is time to get into maintenance on the physical, professional and spiritual front. The need of the hour is to look positively at the future and consider this time as an opportunity rather than adversity." READ FULL PAPER HERE.

Virtual meeting for Middle East & North Africa region

Audrey Danasay, Regional Director for MGI Middle East & North Africa says: "MGI MENA region held a zoom call on 8 April and although it was only a small gathering, the discussion was very fruitful. It was good to have the attendance of Kais CPAAI member from Tunisia."

On MGI's webinars and weekly 'drop-in' zoom calls 

Karin Monchak from MGI Assurance Auditores Independentes S.S., Curitiba, Brazil, says: "I want to thank all at MGI with CPAAI for your initiative and your loving care for the members of the network through these webinars. I hope more and more colleagues will participate! Actions like these confirm and identify our MGI community. After all this is over, (hopefully very soon), I hope that we will be able to hold on to the good things we have learned from this - certainly, these experiences will be among them. Thank you"

On using technology for better engagement


Abe Petersen from MGI Bass Gordon, South Africa says: "We started using Microsoft Teams for chats, video calls and setting up meetings besides other things. We were not using this extensively before the pandemic but it works well to keep us connected and working collaboratively.”

On mindfulness, meditation and yoga for staff


Anuj Sharedalal, from C.R. Sharedalal & Co., Ahmedabad, India, says: "We are having daily meetings over zoom to ask about safety and well being of the team and family members. We are encouraging our team to practice yoga and meditation in the morning and we have organised a yoga session where we invite a local yoga instructor to be part of our zoom call to lead the session."

On interacting with Clients


Sharon Gregor from Selden Fox, Ltd., Chicago, Illinois, US says, "I have arranged two Client luncheons over video call recently which means we get to talk about more things outside of work and it really helps with staying connected and keeping in touch with our Clients."

 
 

On supporting staff while working remotely


Sarah Jenkins from Milsted Langdon LLP, Bristol, UK says: "We have arranged for everyone's office chair to be sent to their home so we can all work comfortably. We also have an advent calendar with a positive quote of the day to help lift everyone's mood while we work remotely."

On connecting with people while working remotely


Karin Monchak from MGI Assurance Auditores Independentes S.S., Curitiba, Brazil, says: "I try to keep it fun with daily coffee meetings over web call which is important for us to see each other and keep the visual connection. I also reach out regularly and check in with staff on messenger adding some humour to keep up the positivity.

"I wanted to share with all our members a picture of our firm's Skype meeting this week. It wasn't a business meeting, just a chat to share experiences, have a bit of a laugh and bring some lightness and joy to these difficult days. This week we brought along the mascots of our favourite football teams. We continue together, firm and strengthening one another."

On #workingfromhome


As firms around the world take to #
workingfromhome it has been great to see RINA Accountants & Advisors sharing the positives from their new home offices on their LinkedIn and Facebook feeds. Fun to see them meeting together online and showing that life goes on, despite the upheaval. Please share you’re your #workingfromhome and #collaboration  stories and tag @Emma Rowley so we can pass them on!
#globalcommunity #togetherness #strongtogether #globalnetwork #friends #stayathome

On the value using the network to support your clients


László
Killik, from BPO AUDIT TAX in Budapest, Hungary, arranged a live webinar hosted for Clients and bringing together MGI Worldwide and CPAAI partners from Italy to talk about the impact of Coronavirus on business. We all agreed that it was a great chat and many of my Clients attended. The experience was very positive for everyone and we would recommend having more European and Worldwide discussions like this." 

 

On the value of being part of a network


Abe Petersen from MGI Bass Gordon, South Africa says: "It was good to hear from MGI Worldwide - thank you so much for the kind words expressed and for the publication of our Tax Guide. We appreciate your efforts during these trying times, it is certainly turning out to be more like “business unusual” as opposed to as usual. Bearing all in mind we will continue to focus on delivering the best service we can to our clients and are comforted by the fact that worldwide, all within the MGI with CPPAI family will be doing the same."



Meetings update – up until June 2020 

We can confirm that all MGI Worldwide and CPAAI events previously programmed to take place up to and including June will either be postponed or cancelled. New dates will be advised to members once we all know the long-term situation.   

Moving our meetings online – virtual meetings

We are starting to look closely at how we can make the most of technology to maintain and enhance our network/association community. We hope to have some of our planned meetings recreated as a virtual meetings, including the possibility of interactive engagement, breakouts, multiple streams, conversation rooms and private conversations among delegates. As more information becomes available, we will advise you.

For further help or advice please contact clive.bennett@mgiworld.com or maxine.brock@mgiworld.com