Why Your Firm Needs a Mentoring Program

When you think back over the course of your career, does anyone stand out as a source of inspiration or someone who guided you professionally? Maybe this person was a seasoned CPA, or maybe it was someone outside the industry who helped you with networking, soft skills, or leadership. Even if there wasn’t a formal mentoring relationship, having someone guide you in the right direction as you progress through your career has been an invaluable resource.

Across industries, there is a strong focus on recruiting and retaining quality employees. To appeal to the newer generation of the labor force, CPA firms are adapting to fit the needs of younger workers. Research has shown that one of the things that matters to them is having a defined career path. This is where mentoring within your organization is so important. Not only does it help guide your young CPAs, it shows that you are invested in their future at your firm. However, mentoring does more than just strengthen your firm – it benefits the profession as a whole.

When you set up a mentoring program at your firm, it’s absolutely essential that the mentor be willing and able to work with the fledgling CPA. You don’t want the partner feeling inconvenienced and resentful of the additional obligation. This would be counterproductive, and a waste of everyone’s time. Any personality issues should be corrected as soon as possible for the greatest benefit.

In addition, be realistic with the workload of the partner taking on the apprentice. Many mentoring programs begin with the best of intentions, and then schedules collide and the two never meet up after the first few months. You will have to give your program some structure to ensure that the goals of this partnership are being met. Ideally, the mentor would specialize in the same type of work the young CPA is interested in. However, a well-rounded CPA can learn a lot from others outside their specialty area. Whatever the formula is for the right fit is what will be most beneficial to your new talent, your firm, and the profession as a whole.

To read more about mentoring and CPA firms, see the article from Accounting Today.