Redefining Accountants’ Role In A Crisis

Community Quarantine started last 15 March 2020 here in the Philippines. Since then, the news would never miss to mention the sacrifices of the frontliners each day – the market vendors and delivery guys, security personnel and health professionals, etc. They are the ones ready to fight against COVID-19, and I think it is fitting to call them as our modern heroes. Without them, we cannot survive this pandemic situation.

A lot of my relatives are in the medical field. I am really proud of all their efforts in doing their best, even committing most of their time to help every time there’s a national and/or global calamity.

Community Quarantine heightened to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) last 17 March 2020. Because of this, there are travel restrictions, there are no public transportation, and non-essential businesses were suspended physically. No one is exempted from these, and we are all affected by this unprecedented event.

In times like this, I asked my purpose as an accountant. How can I contribute to support our frontliners to help the nation with the fight against COVID-19? Then, these things popped out of my mind.

Our line of work has always been at the back-end. We are usually not seen when we work. However, it should not be a reason for us not to work with professionalism, integrity, and credibility. Here are some of the things that accountants can contribute during the ECQ:

  1. Fund Distribution. When there is work suspension, everyone needs funds. Without someone to prepare finance matters like payroll and bank operations, it is challenging to distribute salary for every employee in a company. Moreover, a lot of people were not able to go home because of the ECQ. But since financial institutions are still operating, transferring funds to our families who are not with us is made possible.
  • Audit, Tax, and Other Government Compliance. Although a lot of the deadlines have extended, let us not stop assisting our clients. Let us not be lax, but still strive to continue our work diligently. Currently, there are a lot of options like Google Drive, Zoom, Skype, Teamviewer, Microsoft Teams, and other similar communication platforms. Let us take advantage of our technology, and still be effective and efficient with our work.
  • Preparation and Execution of Disaster Risk Management. We plan by preparing the budget for companies to continue and for individuals to survive during a disaster. We provide significant financial information that is helpful in the decision making of every individual. It is necessary to have a contingency plan to minimize disruption, safeguard our data, and ensure the safety of everyone in case the worst scenario occurs. During the catastrophe, it is also our responsibility to assist in the implementation of the disaster risk plan. Lastly, it is our responsibility to advise on how to recover after the disaster.
  • Transparency and Accountability. If there is no one to check the distribution of funds, how will we know if these are properly accounted for? Without accounting the funds collected by the government, a nation can never be flexible enough to cope up with any disaster. Other than the collection and distribution of government funds, there are also a lot of donations initiated by individuals and private institutions. We also need to check these so that donations like personal protective equipment will go to the rightful beneficiaries.

Let us take advantage of the technology to play our roles. We don’t need to be visible to be able to contribute something valuable to our nation. Let us uphold our integrity and credibility to safe keep our nation’s finances during these trying times. Lastly, remember that no matter what our profession is, our sacrifices will never be in vain. Together, we will win this fight against COVID-19.

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About the Author

Abie Real
Abie RealBusiness and Accounting Desk Chief
Abie has about seven years of experience in different fields such as accounting system development and consultancy, auditing and accounting. She started working in April 2013 then, later on, passed the CPA board exam in October 2014 and launched her career as a CPA in SGV & Co. / Ernst & Young Philippines. She graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at Northwestern University - Laoag City.

Currently, Abie trains Fasttrack Community of Reseller (FCORE), assists FCORE in the setup of business processes in Smartbooks, gives solutions to business owners, and helps in the development of their accounting system to be able to cater needs of Philippine MSMEs. She is also a self-development and career coach in Premiere Professional Development Center.

Abie is a member of Victory Christian Fellowship Church and part of Kid's Production Ministry of their church in U-Belt. She is into writing, music, collection of card games, and a Sinigang-master.