Flashback 2020: Year of survival

2019 was a busy year for me. I was so busy that I wrote my 2019 year-end review at the end of January 2020 and the new year resolution in01 February 2020. This is a clear indication that my year of 2020 has started on February 2020 instead of January 2020.

I started my year of 2020 with my wife at a local hospital. Those who have read my 2019-year end review might know that my wife was hospitalized and underwent a major surgery at the end of December 2019. She was in hospital when the year 2020 rang its bell.

My wife was released from hospital after the first week of January 2020 with instruction of bed rest of at least 2 more weeks. I tried my best to support her during those time while I was trying my best to management my office works. As the year began, so did many of my statutory audit engagements. I had to manage & guide my teams for the clients which had year end at 31 December 2020 or nearby times.

Things were pretty normal till the beginning of March. After that things were getting complicated due to global pandemic of COVID-19 which is yet to be over. At the end of March government issued countrywide lockdown which was later extended up to 31 May 2020. During the lockdown, I faced the busiest time of my life so far. Every day I started my works around 8:30/ 9:00 am in the morning which continued till the 3:00/3:30 AM in the night. Sometimes it went till 5:00 in the morning and I had to start fresh after 3/4 hours. Not only me but most of my team members had those extreme timetables coping up with the new normal. We had to support our December year end clients, March year end clients while planning for the June year end clients. Each of December and March end clients were pushing us to close our audits while both the clients and us were having difficult time with sudden adoption of digital audit practices.

By end of June, we have managed to reduce our work pressure to an acceptable level. But in the meantime, I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and blood sugar level. My doctors have prescribed me to undergo physical exercise/ walk at least for an hour every day. It was difficult for me to make room for physical exercise, but I was able to start morning walk from end of July 2020. It was difficult for in the beginning, but my friends were there to support me. Couple of them has also started to join with me in my morning walk. Soon my family members have also joined me.

After the first one and half week, I saw my weight dropped about a kilo. I felt motivated and soon I became obsessed with morning walk. By August, we started to play badminton in the morning at Chandrima Uddan in the morning which has now become a badminton club. I also bought a bicycle for morning ride. All these physical exercises helped me to normalize my blood pressure and blood sugar level. It also helped me to change my lifestyle for better. I started to sleep early due to exhaustion and wake up early in the morning. Changed my food habit by taking my meals right on time and reducing sugar intake nearly to zero.

In addition to taking care of my physical wellbeing, I also focused on my professional development and career during the year. I have been active member of various committee and sub-committees at ICAB. I have been member of Quality Assurance Board, Continuous Professional Learning (CPD) committee, Taxation & Corporate Laws Committee and Sub-committee for evaluation of audit software. During the year I have conducted my first CPD session at ICAB on ‘Digitalizing audit practice in Bangladesh’ with 3 other esteemed members of ICAB. I also facilitated in several training sessions arranged by ICAB for the internal auditors and accountants of Rural Electrification Board (REB), Bangladesh. In addition to my contributions at ICAB, I also contributed for ICMAB in developing new syllabus on Income tax, VAT and Customs of different levels. During the year, I have been promoted to Associate Director by my firm. I have rotated half of my client portfolio to take on new clients and engagements.

Because of the COVID-19, I have lost several of my relatives and professional acquaintances in this year. I pray for their departed soul. Each of those demise shocked us as well as sadden us. Also, many of my family members, friends, relatives, colleagues and professional acquaintances has suffered from covid-19 and some of them are still suffering. I pray for their early recovery. Because of covid, not only people lost their close ones or suffered from it, but also many lost their jobs or faced financial difficulties. People have become jobless; business has been shut down causing difficulties in earning bread and butter. I sincerely hope for things to change for better.

Now here comes the moment to review the status of the resolutions I made for 2020. I had 10 resolutions out of which 6 continued from earlier years and 4 were new.

Part 1: Continuous resolution

1. Become member of CIMA.

Yes, I have finally become member of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of UK earning designation of ACMA and CGMA. Although I have passed all my exams of CIMA back in 2016, I didn’t apply for membership till 2020. This year I have become member of CIMA and actively participating in CIMA events.

2. Make some new investments.

I was able to make some new investment this year however mostly to get tax rebates.

3. Pay off the liabilities.

I have paid of significant parts of my liabilities. However, I also made some new liabilities in the process. Hoping to pay off all the liabilities as soon as possible.

4. Visit some place new. Travel at least 3 districts within Bangladesh and 1 foreign country.

Yes, I had the opportunity to visit some places this year. Sadly, none of them were new. I planned to visit 3 districts of Bangladesh and one other country. I have visited Chittagong and Chandpur during the year. For the first time I have visited Chandpur by driving my own car. At the end of the year I have visited Delhi, India for my mother’s treatment.

5. Write at least one blog every week (so minimum 52 blogs in 2020).

This is a big no in this case. Despite the intention of publishing 52 blogs, was able to publish only 3 blogs. Out of them one is related to 2020 resolutions. I have to put more effort on this area.

6. Try to be a practicing Muslim and recite Holy Quran regularly.

Alhamdulillah, there has been significant improvement in this area. I am now praying 5 times a day. Though I am not reading/reciting Holy Quran regularly, I am trying to read/recite more frequently.

Part 2: New Resolutions

1. Read at least 20 books in 2020.

In order to fulfil this resolution, I have bought nearly 50 books at the beginning of the year. I have read 5/6 books before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country and made my life stressful.

2. Change lifestyle and live healthy.

There has been significant improvement in this area. As I already mentioned in this post, I have started physical exercise. Now I walk nearly 7,000 steps per day and more than 250,000 steps every month. I have lost weight nearly 10 KG without cutting my diet (other than sugar). My sleeping cycle has improved, and I can have sound sleep.

3. Make time for personal growth and aim for new professional credential.

I have become Associate Director of Assurance at my Firm. I have been part of different committee members of ICAB and participated in many professional events which helped me to achieve some level of professional growth. During the year I have not started any new professional credential or nor have I aimed for one. Current plan is to manage my current credentials and apply the knowledge I have acquired.

4. Contribute to professional & social development.

Yes, I have made some growth in professional capacity. I have participated in many meetings of ICAB committees, Conducted CPD session, facilitated in training sessions. I have contributed in evaluating audit software that has been suggested by ICAB to enhance the professional quality of my Audit firms in Bangladesh. I have also contributed by facilitating/ providing training to the employees of REB.

I believe I was able to fulfil most of my resolutions this year. This was a successful year. But nothing can be counted as success compared to our survival amid this COVID hardship.

N.B. I started the year with my wife at a hospital. I have also ended the year 2020 in a hospital due to my mother’s treatment. My mother has been diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma. We are trying our best to get treatment from a hospital at Delhi, India. Please pray for her quick recovery.

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