To complete the practical experience requirements (PER) needed to get a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation, you don’t have to go it alone. The CPA Mentorship Program supplies you a mentor before you start your qualifying term. CPA mentors meet with their mentees at least semi-annually to make sure they’re developing their skills as future CPAs and to write up reviews of their mentees’ progress.
Who Are CPA Mentors?
Mentors join the CPA Mentorship program on a volunteer basis, sometimes at the request of future CPAs or as part of a pre-approved CPA program. Mentors coach future CPAs, much like personal trainers. Since getting a mentor is a mandatory part of acquiring a CPA designation, it’s a good idea to pick one who matches your personality and accounting specialty. You can even become a mentor yourself once you gain experience as a CPA.
CPA Roles and Responsibilities
CPA mentors only spend about 15 hours per year mentoring, and they interact with mentees mainly through the Practical Experience Reporting Tool (PERT), an online platform. On PERT, mentors have a dashboard listing their mentees’ names, emails, PER statuses, governing bodies, and mentor review statuses, plus a button to end their relationship with each mentee. Mentors can check their students’ CPA PERT requirements at a click.
Mentors must create a profile on PERT and use a CPA mentor login to access it. As their mentees upload experience reports, which show how competent they’re becoming in a wide range of accounting skills, mentors review these reports to ensure their students are on track to becoming CPAs. They also compare the experience reports to students’ self-assessments of their accounting abilities to see if students are overconfident about how much they’re developing. Mentors draw up reviews of their students at their students’ request. These reviews include answers to yes-or-no questions about the students’ progress along with detailed comments. Once a review is finished, a student doesn’t need another one for six months.
The Benefits Having a CPA Mentor
Mentees enjoy a wide range of benefits from CPA mentorship, such as more targeted skill improvement and access to high-quality professional advice. CPA mentees can also network with established accountants to boost their career prospects.
The Benefits of Mentorship for CPA Mentors
Mentees don’t get all the fun. If you choose to mentor, you can enjoy giving back to your industry, deepening your skills as an accountant, and adding a nice new line to your resume. Working as a CPA mentor can also clue you into the mindsets of up-and-coming accountants. New and aspiring CPAs typically have creative ideas about marketing and building client relationships, for example, and their approach to using new financial software is often worth emulating. Becoming a CPA mentor can also hone your leadership skills and boost your confidence.
Joining the CPA Mentorship Program
If you’re a prospective CPA, you can ask your educational program to match you with a mentor or seek one out yourself. If you want to become a mentor, try contacting professional programs in your area and asking to join a mentor list. You should also set up a profile on the CPA mentor portal. Be sure to pack a lot of detail into your profile, as this helps students figure out whether you’re a good match.
Also, if you know accounting professors or other people who work with accounting students, it wouldn’t hurt to let them know you want to be a mentor. They may be willing to share your contact information with CPA candidates. If a CPA student picks you, all you need to do to become a mentor is complete a training webinar and register the mentorship with the appropriate CPA organization in your province or region. Even if you don’t become a mentor, watching the webinar gives you an hour of educational credits.
If you want, you can even set up a mentoring program in your accounting firm. By mentoring CPAs employed or soon to be employed at your firm, you can ensure you have a stable of high-quality accountants at all times. Also, you can introduce mentees to your clients as they move through their mandatory mentorship period to build your clients’ confidence in them.
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