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Sharpening the blade

October 18, 2018  |  Faye Hayhurst, CPA

Sharpening the blade

If you’ve ever had to cut up various ingredients to prepare a meal, or perhaps had to gut and clean a just-caught fish, you know the importance of a sharp knife. Even the most skilled and experienced cook or fisherman may take longer, or see a substandard outcome, if the blade they are using is dull.

The same can be said for knowledge workers, including CPAs. We all have times when we are called on to demonstrate our expertise and need to be extremely efficient to handle the workload. Whether it’s during tax season, a quarter-end or preparing to perform (or undergo) an audit, we want to be on top of our game. But to do that, the knowledge blade must be sharp.

This is not new, but this year there is more knowledge to acquire, on more different topics, than usual. A few examples:

  • Tax reform (which encompasses dozens of effects and issues all on its own).
  • Revenue recognition standard implementation (which includes documenting how an entity’s revenue recognition is determined, even if nothing changes under the new standard).
  • Preparing for changes to lease accounting.
  • New not-for-profit reporting standards. (Liquidity disclosures, anyone?)
  • Tighter evaluation of audit risk assessment by peer reviewers.
  • Stricter independence rules, particularly in the areas of cloud computing and preparation of financial statements for the governmental entity being audited.

CPAs are known for their strong work ethic and desire to be productive. Sometimes, that results in putting off continuing education until some better time when the work flow is lighter. This is one year when waiting for the mythical “better time” is a recipe for disaster.

The MNCPA is dedicated to providing our members with many opportunities to acquire the information they need, and fortunately, there are more education options than ever. Nothing beats a live event taught by recognized professionals and sharing expertise with colleagues. The MNCPA Tax Conference, the largest state tax conference in the United States, is a premier event featuring both local and national experts. Two-thirds of the content at this year’s conference is dedicated to tax reform topics.

Niche conferences and seminars provide occasions to learn in a smaller setting. Can’t leave the office? Live webinars and online self-study are available at times that work for you. Check the MNCPA’s online CPE catalog to find an abundance of choices.

New laws and new standards leave us looking dull unless we take action to hone a sharp edge. Is your knowledge blade ready to slice and dice when the need arises?

Topics: Professional Certification, Personal Development

Faye Hayhurst, CPA

Faye Hayhurst is the MNCPA director of finance and administration. She is committed to using numbers to tell relevant stories, although she also employs words, charts and occasionally clothing to communicate a message. While some have questioned her about the pressures of being the CPA for the MNCPA, Faye considers presenting financial information to fellow CPAs a dream job. Outside of storytelling with numbers, Faye enjoys directing her church's handbell choir, visiting national parks and other scenic places, and checking out the chocolate products at Trader Joe's. Faye can be reached at 952-885-5540 or fhayhurst@mncpa.org.

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