Movie fans will smile when they remember Groundhog Day, the film where Bill Murray is destined to live the same dismal day over and over again, with apparently no end in sight. That is what 2020 has felt like for many of us. Horizons have narrowed to the same four walls, routines have shrunk, and life has felt less rich.
This is why one of my hopes for 2021 is simply for more variety in our lives, more adventure, more chances to get out into the world, to meet new people, to sample fresh experiences and see new places. I’d love to replace the black-and-white monotony of the past year with a technicolour extravaganza in the coming 12 months.
Specifically for our profession, that includes the challenge of rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck into the vital rebuilding work that our clients, companies and economies require once we break free from the shackles of Covid-19.
Of course, we aren’t quite there yet. In the UK, as in many other places, restrictions remain tight and Christmas was a buttoned-down, smaller-than-usual affair. But thanks to the astonishing skills of scientists, it seems likely that the widespread arrival of vaccines will spell the end of the pandemic in the coming months.
My hope is that all people in all communities and in all countries can receive the life-preserving inoculation in a process that is timely and fair.
Time of hope
If I can expand my vision beyond the limits of the horrid virus, I also see 2021 as a time of hope for rebuilding a greener global economy. I sense a real shift in mood on this issue, and a deepening commitment to tackling the do-or-die challenge of climate change.
I can see countries and companies finally grasping what ACCA has long believed – that careful stewardship of the environment must be built into every macro-economic decision, every investment choice and every spending programme.
I get such a feeling of hope from knowing members all over the world are dedicated to the same humanitarian values of equality, inclusion and simple kindness
As well as a greener economy, I cherish hopes for a fairer economy as we reshape our post-pandemic world. By any calculation, it is simply wrong that on a planet blessed with stupendous natural wealth, famine still stalks the underdeveloped world and children die for want of clean water. It is also wrong that in the wealthy west prosperity is shared so erratically.
There is a lot to do to make our world a better place, but as president of ACCA I feel a surge of optimism that we can make a great contribution. I get such a feeling of hope from knowing that our members all over the world are dedicated to the same humanitarian values of equality, inclusion and simple kindness.
This feeling of hope makes me believe that 2021 can be better for everyone. It takes my mind back to Groundhog Day, and the scene in a bar where Murray shares a drink with Andie MacDowell.
‘What shall we drink to?’ MacDowell asks. Murray muses for a moment, and answers: ‘I like to say a prayer, and drink to world peace.’
At midnight on New Year’s Eve I raised my glass, silently sent my wishes to all my dear friends across ACCA’s world, and did exactly the same.