Q: What modern-day challenges do businesses face?
A: Information overload – in the new world we live in, there’s never a lack of information. About 2.5 quintillion data bytes are added every day; more data is created in a single day than the combined amount generated over 99 percent of human history.

Previous generations of corporate leaders struggled due to a lack of information whereas our problem now is determining the authenticity and relevance of the available information.

In this environment, our focus as a firm of chartered accountants and tax consultants is to identify new trends, and be as simple, succinct and specific as possible in dealing with the complex issues of businesses that need us.

This understanding directs us towards a strategy that is targeted at creating tools for information assimilation, and delivery internally and externally. Patterns, trends and insights are now the keys to success as information is democratised further.

Q: And what are your expectations of the business environment in the next 12 months or so?
A: Expectations are hard to have and even if you do, they may need to change dramatically. What we can do is categorise them based on a few large groups.

The first category is COVID-19 related industries that presently face falling margins. With the threat of new entrants being low, established players have more business but extraordinary profits may become rare.

The second category of businesses involves companies that have significantly benefitted from import and exchange controls. These operations will most likely be the smoothest in the 12 months ahead as our country’s foreign exchange reserves have depleted.

Until tourism and other sources of foreign exchange restart, the current anti-import regime and restrictive foreign exchange policies will remain. Consequently, affected industries will have to recalibrate their business and move on to other areas, such as agriculture, technology and exports.

Finally, service providers will have the hardest time as they’ll be forced to create more value and synergies for clients since businesses’ ability to obtain services may be limited due to the challenges they face in mobilising sales.

Holistically speaking, the route to success in the next 12 months will be the ability to experiment with new products and services at cost levels that are low enough not to affect the overall sustainability of the core business.

However, the best we can expect from business and country leaders is to provide their constituents a form of managed chaos that allows all involved to survive and maybe thrive in this new world.