Memory like a Steel Trap

by Kristen M. Conway, CPA, Audit Manager

Posted on January 30, 2020

It seems like every other day there is some new compliance requirement or accounting standard that has to be implemented. It seems likely you will not remember all of those changes unless of course you have a memory like a “steel trap”. If you know me or have seen my profile on our website, you know that my memory is often referred to as the “steel trap”.

Why you ask? The answer is simple: I have a knack for remembering all kinds of information (just don’t ask me to remember dates). I can remember client specific information for clients that I don’t even work with, just by over hearing other co-workers talk about the client. My brother, on the other hand, can’t remember anything and I do mean anything! We were out to dinner recently and our server was someone that went to grade school with my brother for years. You guessed it, my brother had no idea who this person was.

One might think that being able to remember a lot of information is useful. Believe me while it can be very useful, it also has its drawbacks. For example, we all have certain things we would rather forget, but for me they tend to get stuck in the steel trap.

I have always found it interesting how different my memory is from others and how it always surprises people what information I can remember. When I think back to when I was kid, I realize I have always tested my memory, I wanted to remember everything. I would purposely try to memorize things. I was very, very good at memory games. I did a lot of word search games during road trips and I would try to look at the word bank once and then see how many words I could find. Next time you are on a road trip, try playing the “Alphabet Categories” game. Start with a category like food or animals, then starting with the A go through the alphabet. The challenge: each person has to repeat everything said since letter A.

I even discovered that there are memory competitions around the world. They even have their own World Championships. While most of us may not have memories on that level, here are some tips I found to help improve memory skills:

  • Meditation
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Train your brain
  • Exercise
  • Eat berries

My challenge to you is to pick one or two items from the list above and see if you can improve your memory. Remember our audits are typically a year behind, so improving your memory, might help you recall exactly what happened and where that documentation is that just might help prevent an audit finding!