New CPA Series: How to Find the Right Mentor in the Accounting Industry

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As a new CPA, it’s in your best interest to find a mentor beyond your practical experience mentor. Having a mentor means receiving ongoing, personalized attention from a professional that you can’t get from traditional training. Being able to learn directly from someone you aspire to be like helps you develop their attributes and behaviors while finding answers to questions about your own career path. Follow these guidelines to find the right mentor in the accounting industry.

Define Your Areas of Need

A mentor can help in a variety of areas. For instance, they can teach you the unwritten rules of the company or accounting industry and help you quickly get up to speed. A mentor also can help you identify long-term career goals so you take the proper steps to get there. Further, they can introduce you to a new network of contacts who also may provide guidance or act as role models. Plus, a mentor can be a neutral sounding board for your ideas and provide impartial opinions and feedback.

Find Your Mentor

To find the right mentor, think about your career goals, personal strengths and weaknesses, and the skill sets, behaviors and work styles you want to emulate. Consider which seasoned accountant in the office you may want to work with. Take into account their personality. You want someone who enjoys teaching, learning and being questioned and is patient, polished and a great communicator. If you can’t find someone who fits your criteria, look through your LinkedIn connections or an industry association for a potential mentor. Both types of mentors can benefit your career.

Master the Ask

Once you select a prospective mentor, ask for their guidance. Mention the fact that you’re impressed with their experience and would love to learn from them. Explain your career goals and which skills you’d like to develop. Establish how often you’d like to meet. Maintain open communication through emails and phone calls. Keep your mentor informed about your success. Include examples of how they helped you along your path. Show your gratitude throughout the process.

Looking to Advance Within the Accounting Industry?

Advance within the accounting industry with help from Mercer Bradley. As a leading accounting and finance recruiting firm, we get to know your experience, goals and interests, then match you with employers and jobs in accounting where you’ll thrive. Get in touch with us today!

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