There is a nice addition to the AICPA Web site at www.aicpa.org/YoungCPANetwork. It is geared to those just beginning their careers in accounting. The sections that caught my attention were Mentoring, Career Planning & Development, Work/Life Balance and Professional Issues.

It is not only the new generation of accountants that can benefit from exploring this section of the AICPA Web site, but also firms themselves. Work/life balance in particular, is an important concern of younger generation CPAs. It would do firms well to understand and modify their operations by taking work/life balance into consideration. Too many firms think the only way they will be able to improve staff retention is by increasing salaries. In fact, attention to work/life balance might be the most important key.

There also is some very good material in this section of the site. For example, the AICPA publication, Mentoring Guidelines, delineates the role and responsibilities of mentors and protégés, has tips for a successful mentoring partnership, and contains a mentoring agreement with periodic review forms. Interestingly, the publication has some extremely useful material regarding mentoring of individuals at all levels in firms -- all the way up to partner and managing partner.

One of the continuing critical issues facing most firms today is still staffing. A vital aspect of this problem is that in many firms there are three generations, or more, in their workforce. It is critical then that the younger generation understands how to succeed in public accounting and that the older generation understands how to successfully interact with and motivate the beginning accountants. The Young CPA Network is a tool that should help with both.

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