May 21, 2021

Take to the Skies

Take to the Skies

Before the pandemic, I spent time multiple times a month on planes or working on my laptop in airport lounges. When you’re running and growing a company, I find it’s much more meaningful to meet with clients and colleagues in person whenever possible, rather than on Zoom, and there’s no substitute for breaking bread with business partners afterward.

Now, after a year-long break, I’m slowly returning to my pre-pandemic road-warrior routine. As some of you know, Marcum just announced our merger with Starter-Fluid, a CFO services outsourcing firm that is now part of our Financial Accounting & Advisory Practice, and very likely there will be other mergers in 2021. That is sure to keep me on the move. We are also planning to start hosting live client events later in the year, where we look forward to seeing many of you.

I’m hoping the flights I take will be uneventful. We’re all on edge after a year of quarantine. But hopefully now that we can start resuming our regular lives again, including air travel, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief and just relax a little.

Still, some people apparently just can’t help themselves. As you may have read, the FAA just proposed new financial penalties for unruly passengers – like the man who is facing a $52,500 fine for attempting to open a cockpit door and assaulting a crew member on a Delta Airlines flight. Let’s hope the FAA’s new measures are a deterrent to this kind of madness.

With the CDC relaxing mask mandates, apparently wearing a mask when you don’t have to is a new kind of affront to those not wearing a mask, inciting a whole new level of pushback. I can just hear the debate in the airplane aisle now. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my commercial flights nice and calm.

And speaking of polite behavior, did you hear that the FAA has suggested that airlines (wait for it) randomly weigh passengers before they board to make sure planes aren’t over capacity? The FAA’s advisory might give Weight Watchers a boost, but this clearly is not going to go over well with everyone. Who wants to ‘fess up to the extra pounds that mystifyingly accumulated during all that pandemic TV snacking?

That said, at least the airline industry is back in business, thanks to the aggressive rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. With the EU opening its borders to vaccinated Americans and the hospitality industry gradually transitioning back to “normal” in time for summer vacation season, many of our clients should see some welcome relief from the prolonged pressure they’ve been under.

Given how hard everyone on our team at Marcum has worked to keep up with pandemic aid programs and regulatory deadlines, I hope many of them will be booking plane tickets to head somewhere to relax this summer – or planning a well-deserved staycation. After a crisis like the one we’ve been through, plus the filing extension that added weeks – not to mention extra pressure – to our regular busy season, I’m very mindful of the potential for burnout. As we did last year, we are requesting that our team take at least half of their PTO before the end of July. We all simply need to rest and replenish.

Fortunately, with the world opening back up and Memorial Day just 10 days away, summer fun and relaxation is just around the corner. I’m already looking forward to spending time at the beach with Tracy and the kids – when I’m not buckling my seatbelt and preparing for takeoff.

And as the world starts to return to normal again, next week has me starting on the charity golf circuit, which didn’t exist last spring, with two separate charity outings on Long Island at two of my favorite courses, Maidstone and Sebonack. It looks to be beautiful weather and so perhaps normalcy is back.

Enjoy the weekend!