CPA Mentoring: Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking world. In the United States, the CPA is a license to provide accounting services directly to the public. It is awarded by each of the 50 states for practice in that state. Additionally, almost every state (49 out of 50) has passed mobility laws in order to allow practice in their state by CPAs from other states. Although state licensing requirements vary, the minimum standard requirements include the passing of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, 150 semester units of college education, and one year of accounting related experience.
Continuing professional education (CPE) is also required to maintain licensure. Individuals who have been awarded the CPA but have lapsed in the fulfillment of the required CPE or have requested to be converted to inactive status are in many states permitted to use the designation “CPA Inactive” or an equivalent phrase. In most U.S. states, only CPAs are legally able to provide to the public attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements. Many CPAs are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and their state CPA society.
State laws vary widely regarding whether a non-CPA is even allowed to use the title accountant. To illustrate, Texas prohibits the use of the designations “accountant” and “auditor” by a person not certified as a Texas CPA, unless that person is a CPA in another state, is a non-resident of Texas, and otherwise meets the requirements for practice in Texas by out-of-state CPA firms and practitioners.
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.
CPA Mentoring: 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 speciality area?
- If you are new to an organisation, do you have a clear understanding of the firm’s corporate culture, policies and procedures?
CPA Mentoring: Resources-
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.
“Someone to Look Up To” (Journal of Accountancy, Nov. 1999)
Read this article about how mentoring will position your firm or company for tomorrow.
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