Planting seeds to maximize future yields

Apr. 3, 2017  |  Geno Fragnito

As winter fades, I’m sure your thoughts are drifting from year-end or tax deadlines to evenings of grilling on the deck, a day at the lake or a weekend summer getaway. I know I’m thinking about doing all those things as the 2017 legislative session enters the home stretch; six weeks remain for an agreement to be reached.

In many ways, the work you do as a CPA and the work I do advocating at the Capitol have a lot in common with agriculture and farming. The end goal is to find the most efficient means to maximize the results we want. But there are many essential steps in between the beginning and end of the journey. Success requires a well-designed and executed plan, perfect timing, and yes -- occasionally a little good luck.

The MNCPA spends hundreds of hours at the Capitol planting the seeds of change to benefit the businesses you work for and the clients you represent. The legislative process may seem slow and unproductive to you. However, new laws require careful deliberation and planning. It’s more like marathon than a 50-meter sprint.

Effecting change at the Capitol is a lot like how CPAs grow a business or acquire new clients. To grow your business, you need to have products or services consumers are interested in buying. To grow a CPA firm, you must recruit clients who need the services you provide. To pass new laws, one must demonstrate a need and a benefit, educate lawmakers on the benefit, and convince them the result will be reduced complexity resulting in increased ease of compliance -- everyone wins.

Several items on the MNCPA legislative agenda have been on the agenda for a few years. Change requires extensive outreach, many hours of meetings, and support from CPAs who have been willing to engage and educate legislators to help them understand the issues.  

Sometimes the legislative process is compared to making sausage. I like to think passing legislation is like fine wine -- it can take many years to get the perfect grape crop, but the result is spectacular.  

As you can see, the similarities between your work, agriculture and passing laws are many. You already have the knowledge and talent needed to influence change. Will you sit idly on the side and let others decide the rules you must follow, or will you take advantage of the respect you have as a CPA and use your trusted adviser role to make positive change?

Plant the seeds of success now. You never know when you will need them.

Topics: Legislative

Geno Fragnito

Geno Fragnito is the MNCPA’s government relations director, advocating on behalf of the CPA profession. His days consist of last-minute meeting changes, building relationships with lawmakers, helping CPAs navigate state government, and putting in more than 15,000 steps per day walking the halls of the Capitol. Geno unwinds with a little golf and traveling with his family. If he weren’t a lobbyist, Geno would perfect his cast and be a professional fisherman. Geno can be reached at 952-885-5550 or

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