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Acknowledging the good in challenging times

Chair's Message

Katie Gabriel, CPA | April 2021 Footnote

Editor's note: Updated March 31, 2021

This is such an exciting time for CPAs and the accounting and finance profession.

While the last year-plus has been turbulent — to say the least — the accounting industry, for the most part, has fared well. The CPA profession has really stepped up and made a huge impact in helping businesses and individuals alike navigate these uncertain times: from helping interpret the CARES Act and other new tax laws to securing PPP loans and loan forgiveness; from helping CEOs prioritize in ensuring businesses survive to forecasting and forecasting again; from helping IT through an accelerated transformation to working with HR and facilities management to design the workplaces of today and tomorrow.

I’m exhausted thinking of all of this. This doesn’t even take in account the personal challenges many of us have faced when our worlds were upended, juggling caring for young children, assisting with elderly parents and navigating distance learning. I’d be remiss not to acknowledge the mental health challenges many have faced, as well as health-related issues for those impacted directly by COVID-19 and, of course, remembering those we’ve lost in the past year.

I’m reminded of an oft-quoted Fred Rogers’ line: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

We’re incredibly fortunate to have the health care professionals and other frontline workers who have kept our country and world moving forward this past year. But accounting and finance professionals, while not as visible, have also played a tremendous part in this helper role. I’m filled with gratitude and appreciation for all of you not only for what you accomplished in the past year, but how you accomplished it.

We should be proud to be in this profession and hopefully many students will notice how accountants helped to save the day for many during this pandemic, which will ultimately help our pipeline of new recruits into the profession. We should also be proud to be MNCPA members. The MNCPA has stepped up in a big way this past year to advocate for our members and provide real-time relevant continuing education. Please know that the MNCPA staff hold this profession with high regard and continue to go above and beyond for you.

Looking ahead

I am thrilled to be stepping in as your MNCPA board chair. You can read more about my journey to this role on page 8. I will work hard to represent you and am happy to hear your voice.

If you’re anything like me, you’re craving opportunities for connection in this time where many are still working remotely. The MNCPA offers a variety of ways to get involved throughout the year and is always looking for ways to engage with its members. Here’s a sampling of ways to get involved: Join the Legislative Issues Committee and get involved with advocacy efforts; volunteer for a conference task force; attend a Special Interest Section (there are many!); apply to serve on the Peer Review Committee; author an article for one of the MNCPA’s many content channels; or check out a YPG event.

I’d like to thank Ben Ellingson, last year’s chair, for his outstanding leadership during one of the most challenging years we’ve seen in some time. I’ve learned a lot from him, and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the board as we forge ahead.

Katie Gabriel, CPA
Chair, MNCPA board of directors