We spent several years in public accounting as the HR Director and HR Consulting lead. Part of our role, to develop and maintain a strong mentoring program. Our objectives included retention of key people, development of key people, and fostering a culture of trust and high expectations for our CPAs, who we wanted to encourage and mentor.
Mentor Training: Three skills are necessary for good mentoring. The first is to offer skills development training for those viewed as leaders within the firm. Rain-maker leaders of firms rarely possess natural mentoring skills. Yet we thought it important to have our key partners committed to mentoring, and the best way to show commitment is to participate. So we offered a half-day training on how to mentor.
Mutual Ownership: The second skill, understanding this mentoring relationship is a mutual ownership process. The mentee drives the objectives, and really should own the process, yet the mentor engages in regular dialogue about the objectives. Developing a plan, identifying who will do what, and a timeline for that mentee to grow, and accomplish their objectives.
Accountability: The regular conversations and follow-up meetings create a sense of accountability for accomplishing the goals. As the partner and mentor, very important to to do what you say you’ll do. If you’re going to have a monthly meeting or phone call and a quarterly meeting, have the monthly conversation and the quarterly meeting.
How are those relationships, mentoring relationships, helping the firm? Are we assessing that annually? These pieces are important to successful mentoring, as well as retaining key people now. Successful development of these mentees means that you are building the future leaders of the firm.
Every successful public accounting firm needs to ask itself, ‘are we relevant’ to our clients today? In this video, Dan Toussant addresses how to use technology to add value and relevancy in today’s CPA firm. Watch for his three ideas to strengthen what you can provide for clients.