THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORING AT Michael Litwin CPA Inc.
To achieve success as an accountant in the profession, it is important to have a good mentor. Successful mentoring relationships can be formal (assignments and evaluation), and also informal (brainstorm, protocol, advice, etc.). Both are essential.
Young aspiring accountants must acquire the necessary skills set to succeed in life. That means exposing young people directly to clients, challenging work and real life experiences. They must be given the opportunity to demonstrate that they can take full responsibility of files.
Mentoring issues have become increasingly important, not only for young accountants, but for partners and managers who wish to ensure their continued success. Today, there is an increasing awareness in the CA profession that past practices do not always meet today’s needs.
We know that more than 50% of today’s CA graduates are female. The make-up of new accountants is becoming more representative of the diversity reflected in Canadian society as a whole. Mentoring issues are important to all accountants and the community they serve.
OUR GOAL BEYOND THE WORKING EXPERIENCE
We endeavour to expose our staff to external lectures and presentations and to community events in an effort to help our young people to become aware of the outside world, grow as individuals and gain a place in our greater community.
We embrace the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Goal for “Share, Learn, Grow”, which is reproduced below:
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES – MENTOR
A mentor motivates his or her protégé to do his or her best work and make decisions that will bring career and personal happiness. In this coach-like role, a mentor asks thought-provoking questions, identifies political relationships, assimilates the protégé into the corporate culture and assists him or her in developing short- and long-term goals.
The mentor benefits from this relationship in the form of personal satisfaction thanks to being able to give back to the organization; a legacy of knowledge, insight and experience; and enhanced visibility and prestige. The mentor also will gain new perspective and insight from the protégé’s viewpoints and experience.
A MENTOR SHOULD HAVE
- Ability to influence and persuade others in positions of power
- Credibility with and respect from colleagues
- Seniority in relation to the protégé
- Desire to help the protégé as well as the organization
- Ability to help the protégé set and attain goals
A MENTOR SHOULD PROVIDE
- Vision, insight and encouragement
- A safer environment for taking risks
- Insight into corporate culture
- Constructive feedback and critical analysis
- Crisis or failure-control plans
- Regular meetings
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES – PROTÉGÉ
A protégé seeks constructive feedback as well as encouragement, and has a strong commitment to professional growth and the ambition to succeed. In recognition of the time and effort a mentor must put into establishing a relationship and providing support, a protégé is willing to take the initiative to ask questions, seek out learning opportunities and listen to constructive feedback.
The protégé benefits from this relationship via personalized education, training and counsel; increased visibility and opportunities for advancement in the organization; and a greater awareness of career and personal capabilities and possibilities.
A PROTÉGÉ SHOULD HAVE:
- Desire to learn, grow and succeed
- Ability to accept risk
- Commitment and loyalty to the organization
- Awareness of personal responsibility and goals
- Ability to listen and follow through with directions
A PROTÉGÉ SHOULD BE WILLING TO:
- Assess his or her individual needs
- Take initiative in skill and career development
- Participate in the mentoring relationship
- Take advantage of the training and assistance offered
- Develop and utilize the skills of professionalism
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MENTORING PARTNERSHIP
- Establish boundaries and maintain professional behavior
- Don’t stereotype, generalize, or assume your mentor or protégé will not understand your perspective
- Maintain records of activities and career growth
- Keep supervisors informed
- Meet regularly, but be flexible