Welcome back, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Like many of you, I’m optimistic about 2024 and looking forward to the days getting longer now that the Winter Solstice—the shortest day of the year—has passed. I’ve always enjoyed taking long walks in New York City, but between the early morning darkness and frosty temperatures we’ve been having, I’ve been switching to indoor workouts lately.
Many Americans make health-related resolutions this time of year. Some are part of a bigger trend toward healthy living that’s driving a booming business for many of the food & beverage companies we serve, as Marcum Food & Beverage leader Louis Biscotti pointed out in a recent article for The Food Institute. We live in a country where food is abundant, but some of it isn’t good for us. The food & beverage industry is jumping on the chance to provide healthier options—whether it’s organic celery juice or gluten-free soup—and finding there are many untapped growth opportunities.
At Marcum, we’ve embraced the health and wellness trend for our team for many years. Too much sitting isn’t good for anyone, but in a field like accounting, we sometimes do have to hunker down over the computer for long hours during our various “busy” seasons, or squeeze in an online continuing education course during a busy workweek. To counterbalance this, we offer a variety of programs to help our associates feel their best physically, mentally, and emotionally.
At the firm, we have the Marcum Wellness team. It’s been great to see how they have built out a quality program over the years with regular events, speakers, and an internal website with articles on healthy living, news of sports competitions associates can join, fitness library videos and even a virtual kitchen, where home chefs can add to their repertoire of healthy fare to cook. Associates have access to discounted memberships in more than 11,000 gyms nationwide and a virtual fitness program, membership in a premium meditation app, access to wellness newsletters, and many more resources. This is a part of our culture that many people outside the firm don’t know about, but one I’m very proud of.
What does any of this have to do with accounting? Not much, but that’s the point. We all need time to reboot physically and mentally, not just on vacations but every day. Some of my best insights have come on the treadmill, the golf course or the shower, and I’m sure the same is true for many of you. Most people don’t do their best work when they’re not feeling their best, so I strongly encourage all of our associates to tap into the resources we have available to help everyone on our team stay healthy.
Around this time of year, there are many cynical news stories about New Year’s resolutions that get abandoned. What I’d like to see is more data on the ones that stick past Feb. 1. Whoever can come up with that secret sauce has a big market opportunity on their hands.
If you’re looking for some economic/business predictions for 2024, look for:
- interest rates to start declining in the 2nd quarter and go down by 2% by year end
- merger & acquisition activity to pick up, as well, in the 2nd quarter and continue for the rest of 2024; and
- a record number of IPOs in the 2nd half of 2024.
Happy New Year, everyone!