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Giving thanks in trying times

Ben Ellingson, CPA, CGMA | November 2020 Footnote

I’ve heard it for months: “We just need 2020 to be over!”

The end of the year is now near. But, before we get there, many of us are also thinking about our Thanksgiving plans. For me, Thanksgiving is normally a bustling time of extended family, hearty meals and a hunting trip to connect with friends. Like most traditions this year, Thanksgiving is likely going to look different. But, despite the challenges we have all encountered recently, I think we can still find a number of reasons to give thanks.
This year will be remembered as a year of loss in so many ways, but as I’ve reflected on the past several months, I’ve noticed and heard others comment on several things to be grateful for as well. For starters, many of us have gained more time with our families, which means we have new memories and special moments that we may have otherwise missed. We’ve also gained new insights, new forms of entertainment (Zoom happy hours?) and a new appreciation for the little things, like going out to a restaurant for an overdue chat with friends.

Many of us are also fortunate to have been able to quickly move to a remote work environment and maintain our employment through the pandemic. This hasn’t been without its challenges, but it has allowed us to stay connected and learn to work differently. The accounting profession as a whole has had to pivot in so many ways — from remote working and limited in-person meetings to learning new software and more — and I am thankful to be working in an industry that has been able to continue to move forward. I think this year has the potential to change how businesses work; processes and environments previously thought to be impossible or inefficient have become commonplace, and the ways people connect and work together look different as a result. Not all of these changes will be permanent, but I’m sure some of them will be with us for years to come.

While there’s no downplaying the difficulties and misfortune this year has brought, let’s take a moment to remember the things we’ve gained. Taking time to reflect on what we’re thankful for brings great perspective and is good for our collective mental health. And, with the holidays just around the corner, I hope the rest of the year can bring us all more things to be thankful for!

Autumn means annual Tax Conference

Speaking of traditions looking different in 2020, the 66th Annual MNCPA Tax Conference is going virtual this year.

This usual two-day event is expanding to three days, Nov. 16–18. Hear from renowned speakers like Susan Smith, Tommy Stephens and Paul Neiffer, and earn as many as 24 CPE credits for the price of 16. Check out the agenda and register at

Ben Ellingson, CPA, CGMA
Chair, MNCPA board of directors