The Importance of Continued Professional Education and Networking


In order to advance in your level of knowledge within any career, it is necessary to invest in learning opportunities and to expand your professional network. This can be accomplished through avenues such as training and conferences. 

I recently attended a local government auditor’s conference in Austin, TX.

This conference actually consisted of dozens of breakout sessions conducted over the course of three days. These sessions were facilitated by auditors from all over the country who have a wealth of knowledge about their profession. 

Each facilitator selects a topic and shares their experience and what they have learned from it in hopes of helping other auditors. It is a great to be able to listen to those that have been where you are and where you are trying to get to in your career. The facilitators that I witnessed were passionate about their topic and offered ways to navigate different circumstances that may be encountered. I am always appreciative when someone is willing to share their experiences in hopes that others will learn something valuable. Many times, continuing professional education (CPE) credit is granted, which is necessary for individuals to have—especially in the accounting profession. 

From this conference, I also gained a new perspective of local government auditing from the wide range of topics that were discussed.

For example, fraud is an issue that is frequently talked about in government. Ideally, there should be ways for employees to report suspicions of fraud anonymously without the fear of being identified or retaliated against. 

Fraud hotlines are used by local governments for this reason. Most often, fraud goes unreported because of employees’ loyalty to their employer or the person committing the fraud. In addition, employees are fearful of consequently losing their jobs. As a result, the conference taught us ways to make the reporting process more transparent. It should be emphasized to employees that they do not have to know all of the facts before calling the fraud hotline. The goal is to get everyone in the habit of reporting suspicious activity and reinforcing trust in government. 

In addition to continued education, I have learned the value of building relationships with others as a resource for future use.

This conference was an awesome opportunity to network with other auditors from all over the country, which was the most exciting part for me. Although the sessions were awesome and I learned so much about how to enhance my skillset, the relationships that were cultivated will be lasting ones. 

I exchanged contact information with auditors from places like Denver, Austin, Charlotte, and Seattle. If I have a question in the future about a particular audit, or vice versa, we can use each other as a resource and provide advice based on our unique experiences. Audits are usually allotted a certain number of budgeted hours and there is not a lot of time to waste. I am always looking for ways to make the most efficient use of my time on each of my projects. 

By ensuring you’re involved in continued education and networking, you are able to stay updated on about what issues are prevalent within your career field.

The COSO framework, along with the Yellow Book governmental standards, is always heavily discussed amongst government auditors. Internal control and risk assessment continue to be important issues that get overlooked in government departments. You must always keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on in the world of accounting. Standards and regulations are always changing. Getting the necessary training that is relevant to your field of interest will help to ensure that you are prepared for these changes, and expanding your network will benefit you for current and future success in your career. 

–Kimberly Smith, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review 

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