5 Reasons Accounting Firms Should Have A Formal Mentoring Program

5 Reasons Accounting Firms Should Have A Formal Mentoring Program

Prior to the recession, young leader training and formal mentoring programs to support recruitment and retention were all the rage. Well, mentoring is more critical than ever, but for different reasons and in slightly different forms. BKR International members cite five benefits of mentoring and why it’s important to your firm and the profession to do it consistently.

1. Risk Mitigation

Because CPA firms are at risk for legal claims due to the nature of their work, a formal mentoring plan can be a risk mitigator as well as a benefit to employees for career development.

Mentors can provide guidance on proper communication and document retention relevant to client engagements. You don’t want, for example, a staff member texting another staff member about client work or discussing clients outside the office at lunch. Mentors can share firm policies, but also provide professional etiquette tips.

In the process, mentors can discover any issues mentees may be having on engagements. Handling these discussions in a comfortable, confidential manner can lead to proactive training and management of service issues before there is a client or legal problem.

2. Retention

One of the primary reasons that employees cite for leaving a firm is “lack of clear advancement opportunities.” Most successful accountants want to keep learning and advancing in their careers. A perception that their position is a dead-end is a recipe for turnover.

A formal mentoring program signals to current employees and candidates that your firm is committed to their growth. A program that is consistently managed with good mentor/mentee match-ups sends an even stronger signal of commitment.  Read more on CPA Practice Advisor.