Mentoring can pay off big, for both you and your firm. Whether you choose an informal or formal mentoring arrangement, remember that the best mentoring relationships require trust and a good quality match between mentor and the young CPA. That does not mean that your mentor has to have the same personality that you have or a position that you would like to pursue. Sometimes a mentor with an outgoing personality can show a timid staffer how to expand his/her leadership skills. A mentor that has followed a different path than you are pursuing can impart knowledge that you will otherwise be unable to obtain.
A good mentor can guide you through decision-making, help you develop leadership skills and take your career to new levels.
For firms, the benefits are increased employee loyalty, satisfaction and a qualified pool of future leaders. If your firm does not have a mentoring program, the AICPA has developed resources and tools to help get them started. Feel free to share these articles and tools with your firm to help them help you.
Even if your firm does not have a formal mentoring program, and doesn’t wish to start one, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a mentor. Use the resources below to find out if mentoring is right for you and how to get started.
Do You Need a Mentor?
The following questions will help you to determine if you will benefit from a mentoring program.
- Are you limited in your ability to advance to a new level or take on new projects?
- Do you wish to sharpen your technical or interpersonal skills?
- Do you need to acquire “soft skills,” such as managing people, handling negotiations, resolving personnel conflicts or interacting with clients?
- Are you being considered for a promotion?
- Do you seek professional development or career counseling?
- Are you looking to shift your career focus, perhaps to a new specialty area?
- If you are new to an organization, do you have a clear understanding of the firm’s corporate culture, policies and procedures?
(Reference: "Someone to Look Up to" by Cecil Gregg, Journal of Accountancy, Nov. 1999)
These guidelines, from the AICPA Work/Life and Women's Initiatives Executive Committee, were developed to help firms start a mentoring program and provide information about finding a mentor or becoming one yourself.
State Society Mentoring Programs
Check to see if your state CPA society has a mentoring program in which you can get involved.
"The Smart Way to Train New Hires" (Journal of Accountancy, Sept. 2004)
Read this article about the benefits of “buddy” and mentoring programs.
"Someone to Look Up To" (Journal of Accountancy, Nov. 1999)
Read this article about how mentoring will position your firm or company for tomorrow.