Let’s start with a question.
When was the last time you had a conversation with someone without talking about Corona?
It does honestly feel like forever to me – and I am guessing I won’t be able to completely avoid the topic in this article either.
Since March Corona has followed us wherever we go, like a negative, dark shadow.
Many – if not all of us, were affected in their professional and private life and had to adapt– what a year.
But before continuing with the rather negative aspects of corona, I would like to set a different tone:
Wow, what a year!
For us at zapliance 2020 was definitely one of the most challenging but at the same time the most eventful years we had.
People & Progress
If you read our blog and follow what is happening at zapliance, then you often only read it explained from my perspective.
But of course there is an entire team behind me, without literally nothing would be possible at zapliance.
And also that team has faced a lot of change this year.
Just in time, Steffi joined our team in March and had to immediately deal with urgent topics as the new HR Manager.
For example, what Corona means for the employer and the employee.
Another challenge for Steffi:
Restructuring our team.
We had a very typical start up structure, which wasn’t very clear at times.
Maybe an actual structure never existed?
Steffi had to immediately think about important topics such as meeting culture and personal development – It’s amazing Steffi is here now!
Sophie was the second addition to the team this year, who moved back to her home in Hamburg after living in Dublin for several years.
If you and me are connected on LinkedIn, you might have noticed a lot has changed since June thanks to Sophie.
Next to our LinkedIn communication Sophie is also responsible for Marketing and has brought some seriously fresh breeze into our office.
Last joining this year is Dennis, who literally started two days ago and will be helping in customer and project support.
An additional hand is quite overdue, because this year was quite busy, but more about that later.
Now we are definitely ready to give our customers 110% in 2021.
In September we also had quite a few guests.
Steffi and Ivone organized the auditor’s roundtable.
Probably not the easiest task given the current situation and the restrictions we had to follow.
Thankfully, our office is quite large and has more than enough space for just a small group of people.
It was great to see each other in person, talk about latest industry trends and discuss the results of some of our student projects.
I hope it was as much fun to our guests as it was for me and hope we will be able to have pizza and beer in person soon!
Products & Projects
Did you follow our zap Audit free campaign which was running from April to June?
Let me explain:
Basically, very early on in the pandemic, we offered a free-of-charge full zap Audit version to new customers.
We wanted to help those companies in those difficult times with what we know best:
Our expert knowledge and our software.
This led to something super exciting for us.
We received more customer feedback and suggestions than ever before.
Of all tickets that were implemented in the zap audit 2.5 update, 33% originated from Customer Support, so from your feedback!
Thanks for that!
We supervise and support around 30 students here at zapliance ever year.
This year especially the results were fantastic.
For example, Malte and his team were working on the project “Design and implementation of an interactive virtual reality risk world map for corporations”.
We were able to see – or better experience their results firsthand with VR glasses.
Everyone was able to give the glasses a go and fly like Captain Kirk in a spaceship – only in a world full of transactions and invoices.
It was great fun, even though it felt a bit awkward in the beginning.
If you have the chance to try VR glasses, you should definitely give it a go!
Simeon’s project was also super interesting:
The discovery of duplicate payments with the help of artificial, neural networks using zapliance as an example.
Sounds complicated right?
Because it really is!
Simeon really knocked it out of the park on this one, respect!
Basically, he received a data set from us and developed a model, that can detect if a payment was incorrectly paid twice.
The idea for this project is based on zap Cash – our Artificial Intelligence software that can find duplicate payments.
I think our development team was the most excited about Simeon’s results as they were able to implement many of the ideas into zap Cash.
Talking about zap Cash:
We are busy developing the software nonstop and once there is more exciting news, you’ll be the first to know!
As you can tell form our highlights, there was really a lot to do at zapliance – and we are continuing full speed until Christmas so we can close this year successfully.
For you to close your year successfully too, I have a few tips for you, which will make it easier for you to prepare for your holidays, start fresh into 2021 and leave old baggage in 2020.
First things first: Make a To-Do list.
Depending on when you go on leave, it might be a few weeks or days until Christmas and your well-deserved break.
I personally like to think about what needs to be done before I leave on holidays as early as possible.
You probably aren’t the only one leaving for their holidays.
Your colleagues from other specialist departments are likely also on leave.
So, the earlier you close any open matters with them, the less stress you and they will have.
Either with a To-Do list or just in your head.
That is the best way to avoid unnecessary stress before Christmas!
Throw out what you don’t need.
Do we really need everything we have so carefully, but mindlessly curated over the last 12 months?
You probably need less than half of what you have saved.
Take a look in your files and folders on your computer and delete what you don’t need.
Same for your mindset:
Free yourself from unnecessary things and resolve any open issues in this year!
Take a look at the big picture and see what can go.
Don’t forget your desk drawers.
Sort out your paper files – you will see it’s almost like meditating and helps to start the new year fresh, sorted and with motivation!
You wouldn’t want to take all the messy baggage into the next year.
If you really want to be precise, why not disinfect your computer mouse and keyboard.
I bet it’s been a while!
Breathe in and take a look at what you have accomplished.
It’s called a Christmas break for a reason, time for your break!
Well only if you have already sorted out all your presents for your loved ones.
This reminds me of something:
I still need a present for my wife!
Okay back to the point.
Take a break, you deserve it.
This year was tough, no doubt.
But besides the challenges and the resulting opportunities to improve, you should really take a step back and be proud of yourself!
Think about your successes this year and celebrate them with your family, who is probably also very proud of you.
My last tip for now:
Don’t forget to say ‘Thank you’ – it goes a long way.
The time before Christmas is stressful for many people.
Try to actively look for opportunities to thank your coworkers or your team.
Maybe you could even celebrate your successes together with a glass of mulled wine via Microsoft Teams.
2021 is just around the corner, so cheers to your future.
Everyone deserves their Christmas Break – even our blog.
Of course, you deserve a big thank you too!
Thank you for reading our blog, your feedback, and the comments you left.
It’s time for our blog to take a break as well.
We’d like to take the time to plan the blog content for next year, so that you’ll have a reason to come back regularly next year.
In the past it was mostly us coming up with content for the blog.
This is something we’d like to change.
It’s your turn!
Let us know which topics you’d be interest to read about and we will integrate your suggestions into our blog.
I’m looking forward to your ideas and content wishes.
I hope to speak to many of you – directly or via phone or Email, in the next year!
I’m looking forward to our cooperation but would also be up for just having a spontaneous (virtual) coffee and a good chat with you.
Don’t get stressed before Christmas.
Enjoy the time with your family and look forward to new, exciting blog content in the next year when we return.
Cheers to 2021!
About the author:
Alexander Rühle, CAI, CISA, is the CEO and CO-founder at zapliance. After 15 years in the finance and auditing world and having met his partner in crime, Prof. Dr. Nick Gehrke, at PWC, they started zapliance together, with the mission to change the way business professionals of the future work with data.