06Jun

Amazon’s 7th annual “Prime Day” launched on Monday, June 21. The two-day event features discounts in pretty much every retail category, making it the largest shopping event from Amazon – often surpassing combined sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Coronavirus shutdowns are still affecting the supply chain

In 2020, Amazon postponed Prime Day from the early summer to mid-October. The company cited the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn among its reasons for delaying the coveted sales event

While Prime Day’s return to the summer calendar appears to be a sign of progress, new challenges are arising, and sellers aren’t enthused. Many worry they may run out of stock before the sales event is over.  

“[Prime Day] is coming as the retail industry is grappling with widespread supply chain issues that are making it more challenging to stock stores and distribution centers and keep up with consumer demand,” writes Annie PalmerCNBC News Associate. 

Many supply chains are being hit with the cascading effects of last year’s coronavirus shutdowns. Due to labor and shipping equipment shortages, businesses are struggling to address the backlogs in their systems. 

A new COVID-19 outbreak further complicates Prime Day

new COVID-19 outbreak in China’s southern province of Guangdong adds another stressor: global shipping complications. The outbreak has severely limited the capacity in the Yantian International Container Terminal, affecting shipping times for Amazon sellers who import their goods from China. 

According to Jonathan Gold, Vice President of Supply Chains and Custom Policy for the National Retail Federation (NRF), the unique combination of issues is responsible for increased time and cost across the global supply chain. 

“It’s not just one sector that’s being harmed as a result,” said Gold in a recent interview with CNBC. “Everyone is hurt because of it.” 

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Green Key

COVID-19 Is Teaching Accounting to Get ‘Comfortable With the Uncomfortable’

In the post-pandemic world, life at successful accounting firms will be very different from what it was just last year.

Partners will be more mentor than boss, engaging with staff in a more personal way than ever before. There will be a new emphasis on leadership and development. The consultative part of accounting will be center stage, as clients look for guidance and help in rebuilding their business. Technology adoption will be quicker and remote work will be an accepted practice.

Those predictions are the perspective of a group of accounting thought leaders interviewed by AccountingToday’s editor Danielle Lee.

“The pandemic is giving firms a reason to embrace change like never before,” Marc Rosenberg, president of The Rosenberg Associates, told Lee. “Why? Because they have (or will have) no choice. Life at CPA firms as we knew it pre-pandemic will never return. Normal is gone.”

With everyone working remotely, Angie Grissom, president of The Rainmaker Companies, said firm leaders are learning just how resilient their teams are. “A newfound confidence in the agility of teams will emerge,” she says.

The more progressive firms began embracing remote work long before anyone ever heard of COVID-19. Now the rest of the profession is discovering people can be as productive – or more – working remotely, which will lead to fewer hiring restrictions, says Jeff Phillips, CEO of Accountingfly.

“Some of your best people are not ever going to return to an office again, and I hope firms learn that’s OK,” he said. “If they learn that lesson, they’ll realize they can solve their own war for talent by quickly and easily hiring remote A-player talent based anywhere in the U.S.”

As the economy opens up and people return to work – millions already have – talent retention and training will be critical to firm success. Partners now “Need to be much more deliberate and planful about keeping in touch with staff, not only regarding their client work but their training, development and morale,” says Rosenberg.

Adds Sandra Wiley, president of Boomer Consulting, “As firms develop their strategies over the next few months, they should have a laser focus on talent retention and upskilling, process improvement, technology infrastructure, and new services for growth in the advisory area.”

Even the business model should be up for reconsideration, suggests Ron Baker, founder of the VeraSage Institute. “If you are still hourly billing, your firm is mired in a transactional relationship with your customers based upon inputs, and those are easy to sever when times are tough.”

More directly, Boomer Consulting’s L. Gary Boomer, says, “The existing business model does not meet the needs of most clients or firms. You should move to the subscription model in order to attract new business and retain existing clients. Value can be created through packaging and pricing.”

“Now is a great time to learn or change a habit,” he advised.

Summing up, Jody Padar, vice president of strategy at Botkeeper, declared, “We can’t go back to the way things were, so we need to get comfortable with the uncomfortableness we face.”

Photo by Dillon Shook on Unsplash

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Green Key