Russell Bedford releases CEO End of Year video message

December 2020

Global professional services network, Russell Bedford International, releases their CEO’s message in a year like no other. Stephen Hamlet talks about professionals opening up to their concerns and anxieties, whilst at the same time being astonished by the kindness of others.

“It is a time when we really have learnt who our true friends are and those who mean the most to us,” Stephen says, “And accountants have indeed been the true friends in respect of businesses.”

He continues, “This year, we saw accountants demonstrate incredible resilience, empathy, passion and delivery. You’ll find words there not normally associated with the accounting profession. It adapted. It was shown to be flexible. And so, businesses looked at accountants as the front line to those under immense financial pressure, as much as the nurses were looking after those medically affected.

This was a year like no other.

And for many, to get to the end will be some achievement, and bring some relief. We trust what is around the corner will deliver more certainty, and more of a sense of normality. Whatever that new norm may be.”

Stephen then discusses the tremendous year for the network, which greeted him with somewhat surprising and unexpected success.

The network displayed so much togetherness, vibrancy and optimism, during a period when all meetings had to go online and become virtual. The initial challenges were quickly superseded by a realisation that such online meetings, embracing modern technologies, can reach so many more people from firms around the world, at all levels, with no travel and other such costs prohibiting attendance.

The network broke records with 600 people attending an online meeting for Latin America, and 70 countries being represented at its annual global meeting.

New initiatives were created, particularly for Covid-19, with global updates on measures around the world, daily bulletins, regular insights; but was then soon followed by a re-launch of specialist groups via Centres of Excellence and the creation of a brand new Professional Development Programme and online platform for people development, including a special online course on health and well-being.

Following the devastating explosion in Beirut in August, Russell Bedford was proud to sponsor a project for its Lebanon office to take to the streets and distribute supplies to those badly affected.

When the latest revenue results were announced in November, Stephen was delighted to reveal 15% growth for the network; in terms of bringing on new members and increases in existing members.

Stephen commented: “This was remarkable when the average growth across all other international networks was little more than 3%. The second highest organic growth achieved by any other network in the Top 20 was half that of our growth at Russell Bedford,” highlighting that “the importance of international connectivity was emphasised even more during these times.”

The network was also excited to reveal, comparing 2019 to 2018, a further 10% increase in international referrals, which resulted in a 45% increase when looking back over the past three years.

Stephen added, “This is a credit to our network’s expansion with new members joining, and the activities of all our members, working together and attracting international business."

The video, recorded prior to the network’s annual ‘taking you further’ day, where member firms celebrate in all countries around the world, can be seen in full on Russell Bedford’s YouTube channel “RBI Live” below: 

Stephen ends by thanking his Chair, board of directors and his team for relentless dedication and support throughout this most unique year; with his final words of the video being,

“We look forward to whatever next year may bring… and with pride, satisfaction and positivity, based on how supportive and productive we, and our members, have been this year. And my best wishes to all of you, our people around the world. Russell Bedford shall continue to be taking you further into 2021.”

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