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2020 – the year we’d all rather forget?

Usually when I sit down to write my review of the year there’s too much to say – but this year I don’t really know where to start.

Usually when I sit down to write my review of the year there’s too much to say – but this year I don’t really know where to start. So maybe let’s start at the end, with my biggest personal news of the year: on 12 December I got married and became Mrs Nixon. We fortuitously sneaked in on the last Saturday before restrictions increased again and were able to have both our ceremony (with 15 guests and around 50 people joining us via Zoom) and a lovely meal afterwards. I was so grateful we were able to go ahead and safely get my Dad from the Midlands to come and give me away. While I’d rather forget most of 2020, I will always remember 12 December!

As for many UK businesses, this has been a year of massive ups and downs, and very unpredictable. Even though we’re not tied to a physical location and can deliver all of our services remotely, the first lockdown in particular was very quiet. Thankfully most of our annual and corporate report work still went ahead, just two, three or even six months later than usual.

2020 was a great testing ground for remote working across different industries and it was interesting to see how other companies adapted. I’ve always been an advocate for remote, flexible and home working – and I hope that a lasting legacy of this year is that more people will be given the option of not working in an office where that’s suitable for them and for their employer.

The Accuracy Matters team has also taken the opportunity to improve processes – focusing on evaluation and feedback in particular – and start training in putting together a formal quality management system and preparing for ISO 9001 certification in 2021.

We added eight new clients to our list during the year, as well as 10 fantastic proofreaders and editors to our approved supplier list. Unfortunately, one of the effects of 2020’s unpredictable workflows is that we’ve been outsourcing much less of our work to our freelance pool and keeping more within the core team. I’m looking forward to a rebalancing of this in the new year so that we can put our new freelance resources to good use.

One of our most significant – and vital – projects this year has been proofreading the Global Monitor of COVID-19’s impact on democracy and human rights. Since July, this initiative has been providing updates on the effects of COVID-19 on human rights and freedoms, elections and participation, and corruption and other issues in most of the world’s countries. A team of three proofreaders has been checking the rolling updates, which cycle around each world region on a fortnightly pattern.

We have also been kept busy checking the formatting and layout of all the translated versions of the books your kids will be getting with their Happy Meals (when we’re able to go to McDonald’s again), as well as editing some of the reports in the Getting It Right First Time suite for NHS Improvement.

While the big projects get the headlines, the majority of our work is for smaller businesses and agencies – the brochures, website copy, company magazines, email newsletters and brand guidelines are our bread and butter. And they’re often where we add the most value – picking up issues that our clients’ teams either haven’t considered or don’t have the time to consider themselves. That’s why we’re experimenting with something new in January 2021 – our January sale, where you can try out our services free of charge. Drop me an email at explaining what your copy is for and we will review up to 500 words for free.

I’m looking forward to a better, brighter 2021 – and the Accuracy Matters team and I wish you all a restful Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

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