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CPA Ontario Mentor FAQs

CPA Ontario Mentor FAQs

CPA Ontario Mentor FAQs

  • What are the objectives of the CPA mentorship program?

    To support future CPAs as they acquire the competencies expected of a Professional Accountant, with a focus on developing the enabling competencies, especially through reflective thought.

    Enabling competencies reflect the personal attributes of being a CPA. These can be thought of as the essential skills for ethical behaviour, decision-making, problem-solving, communication and leadership. The enabling competencies are essential  for a CPA to thrive as a competent professional in an increasingly complex and demanding environment.

  • Who can mentor?

    Mentors must meet one of two qualifications:

    • A member in good standing with CPA Ontario or a provincial body.
    • Mentors must successfully complete an orientation webinar delivered by the profession and be approved by CPA Ontario. Mentors are expected to stay up-to-date on CPA practical experience requirements.
  • What is the role of the CPA mentor?

    CPA mentors provide guidance on the competency development of CPA student, and models and facilitates the development of the profession’s values, ethics and attitudes. CPA mentors must meet at least twice a year with CPA students (in-person, via phone, Skype, etc.) to discuss competency development from the CPA students current experience, record a summary of the meeting in the practical experience reporting tool and to identify strategies for further development.

    While CPA mentors may also discuss competency development with the supervisor of the CPA student, they are expected to maintain confidentiality about their progress.

    CPA mentors are required to document any unresolved competency development concerns within the CPA experience reporting tool, but are not responsible if the CPA student does not develop competencies as expected.

    CPA Mentors are not expected to:

    1. Verify the accuracy of future CPAs self-assessments or competency development

    2. Help CPA students progress in pre-requisite education, CPA Professional Education Program, or CPA evaluations

    3. Find jobs for CPA students

  • How does the CPA mentor role fit into the bigger picture?

    Before meeting with a CPA mentor, CPA students must:

    • Record their experience to date and self-assess their level of proficiency,
      using the Practical Experience Reporting Tool (PERT)
    • Identify areas requiring further development to meet the CPA Practical Experience Requirements
    • Request their supervisor verify the accuracy of experience claimed (experience verification only)
    • Request a meeting with their CPA mentor and prepare areas of concern to maximize their CPA mentor's time

    Before meeting with a CPA student, a CPA mentor must:

    • Review the CPA students’ online practical experience report
    • Meet with the CPA student (in-person, via phone, Skype, etc.) to mentor and coach based where needed
    • Document meeting in the online reporting tool, as well as document any concerns

    After the meeting:

    • The CPA student should address any feedback provided by CPA mentor and work towards broader proficiency requirements
    • CPA mentor ensures the requested meeting has been completed in the practical experience reporting tool"
    • At predetermined periods of time, CPA student request their experience report be assessed by CPA Ontario
  • What are the enabling competencies?

    Enabling competencies reflect the personal attributes of being a CPA. These are the essential skills for ethical behaviour, decision-making, problem-solving, communication and leadership. The enabling competencies are essential  for a CPA to thrive as a competent professional in an increasingly complex and demanding environment.

    The enabling competencies cover five key areas. To meet the practical experience requirements, future CPAs must develop all five enabling competencies to the level expected of a newly certified CPA.

    1. Professional and Ethical Behaviour
    2. Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
    3. Communication (oral and written)
    4. Self-Management
    5. Teamwork and Leadership
  • What is the time commitment required from a CPA mentor?

    CPA students must formally meet with their CPA mentor at least twice within every 12 months of practical experience reporting. The number of actual meetings and the time per-meeting is based on achieving learning outcomes, however can have as many informal meetings as necessary. Most CPA students will require less than 15 hours of mentorship per year with investment of time likely happening at the beginning of the relationship. Over the lifecycle of the mentoring relationship, the time spent per-meeting might look like:

    • Month 1: finalize mentoring agreement between CPA mentor and CPA student (optional, but recommended)
    • Month 2: get to know each other and begin learning plan
    • Month 3: relationship building
    • Month 6: First formal mentor meeting recorded in PERT, solid trust established and learning well underway: exploring, practicing, reflecting, gaining feedback
    • Approximately every 6 months: record formal mentor meeting in PERT, review experience report and update learning plan
    • Wrap-up: 6–8 months before completion, start discussions to windup formal relationship
  • How long is the commitment?

    The minimum term of practical experience is 30 months of relevant, paid employment. Ideally, a CPA mentor will stay with the CPA student until that individual has completed their CPA practical experience requirements.
  • Are CPA mentors compensated, either financially or through verifiable CPD?

    CPA mentors are volunteers. Verifiable CPD credits can be awarded for the completion of the mandatory orientation, as well as any of the complimentary webinars exclusively for our CPA mentors. Topics include mentoring techniques and effective coaching. We anticipate many of these skills-based webinars will not only maximize the effectiveness of your relationship with a CPA student, but also improve your professional and leadership skills.

  • What are the practical experience requirements for future CPAs?

    To satisfy the CPA practical experience requirements for certification, CPA students must:

    • Complete a minimum term: at least 30 months of relevant, paid employment
    • Develop and demonstrate competency: Technical — minimum breadth, depth, core and progression standards;; Enabling — all five enabling competency areas to a level 2 proficiency
    • Be appropriately supervised and mentored
    • Report and assess the experience: CPA students must report their experience and self-assess their level of proficiency; profession must assess all practical experience.

    Practical experience can be gained through the experience verification route and/or the pre-approved program route. 

  • Is there a limit to the number of CPA students I have to mentor?

    No, there is no minimum and the profession does not require a minimum number of CPA students per CPA mentor. The maximum will be based on the CPA mentor’s self-assessment of what they can handle and a quality control follow-up by the profession. In the first year, we recommend no more than three CPA students per CPA mentor. 

  • Can I mentor someone I report to?

    In situations where the CPA mentor is not employed within the same organization as the CPA student, the CPA mentor–CPA student relationship must comply with any terms set by the CPA student’s employer. If conflicts of interest are identified, they will be addressed through a letter of agreement. A sample agreement will be provided by the profession.

    • If CPA mentors and CPA students work together, the CPA mentor cannot be subordinate to the CPA student.
    • The employer of a CPA student can be an audit client of a CPA mentor’s employer but the CPA mentor cannot be a part of the team assigned to the client.
    • CPA mentors cannot be a family member. A family member means an individual’s spouse, common-law spouse, natural or adopted parent, sibling, natural or adopted children, natural grandchildren or a child legally adopted by the natural or adopted child of the individual such that the child is considered a grandchild of the individual.
    • CPA mentors cannot charge any fee to CPA student.
    • CPA mentors can be involved with the CPA Certification Program (either as a volunteer or employee), but cannot be engaged by the profession to approve the future CPA’s experience reports.
  • Do I have to be familiar with the CPA Certification Program materials in order to mentor?

    CPA mentors must successfully complete a mandatory orientation webinar which will provide a sufficient overview of the CPA Certification Program. CPA mentors are not expected to have a detailed understanding of the CPA Certification Program or become experts on the competency requirements for CPA students. The profession assumes overall responsibility for ensuring CPA students meet the competency requirements, while CPA mentors are expected to provide guidance and support on how CPA students can develop, or improve, their level of proficiency, with a focus on developing the enabling competencies.

  • Can I only mentor CPA students working in my industry, or the same organization?

    Experience Verification students can be mentored by any approved CPA mentor (as long as they are not their subordinate or a family member). Students who are working within the pre-approved program route must be mentored by a CPA mentor working within the same organization.

  • Can I mentor someone I know?

    Yes, as long as the mentoring relationship complies with the following:
    • The CPA mentor cannot be subordinate to the CPA student.
    • While the employer of the CPA student can be an audit client of a CPA mentor’s employer, the CPA mentor cannot be a part of the team assigned to the client.
    • CPA mentors cannot be a family member. A family member means an individual’s spouse, common-law spouse, natural or adopted parent, sibling, natural or adopted children, natural grandchildren or a child legally adopted by the natural or adopted child of the individual such that the child is considered a grandchild of the individual.
    • CPA students in PPR have to be assigned a mentor from their organization and the mentor has to be employed by the organization.
  • Can I choose my own CPA student?

    Yes, assuming there is agreement with the CPA student and the mentoring relationship is compliant with the following:
    • The CPA mentor cannot be subordinate to the CPA Student
    • While the employer of the CPA student can be an audit client of a CPA mentor’s employer, the CPA mentor cannot be a part of the team assigned to the client.
    • CPA mentors cannot be a family member. A family member means an individual’s spouse, common-law spouse, natural or adopted parent, sibling, natural or adopted children, natural grandchildren or a child legally adopted by the natural or adopted child of the individual such that the child is considered a grandchild of the individual.
  • How am I matched with a CPA student?

    CPA students and CPA mentors working in a pre-approved program will be matched by their employer. CPA students in the experience verification route are required to find a CPA mentor to maximize the potential fit. If CPA students cannot find a mentor, or a CPA mentor does not have a CPA student already, they can be matched through the mentor search portal.

  • Can I stop mentoring at any point?

    Ideally, a CPA mentor will stay with the CPA student until CPA practical experience requirements have been met. If the CPA mentor can no longer meet the mentoring requirements (change of job in a pre-approved program, or unforeseen circumstances) CPA students are able to change their CPA mentor. They can only be without a CPA mentor for 90 days before their calculated duration will be affected.

  • What support will CPA mentors receive?

    CPA mentors will gain access to a range of tools and resources to assist in their mentoring relationship. CPA mentors can seek guidance from the profession by contacting CPA Ontario and/or documenting any concerns in the secure online reporting tool.

  • Do I need to be a competency map expert?

    No. CPA mentors must successfully complete a mandatory orientation webinar that will provide a sufficient overview of the CPA Certification Program. CPA mentors are not expected to have a detailed understanding of the CPA Certification Program or become experts with the competency requirements of CPA students. The profession assumes overall responsibility for ensuring CPA students meet the competency requirements while CPA mentors are expected to provide guidance and support on how CPA students can develop, or improve, their level of proficiency, with a focus on developing the enabling competencies.
  • What constitutes a meeting with a CPA student?

    Meetings may be in person, by phone or other form of communications technology such as Skype or Facetime, but they must be synchronous. Written communication such as e-mail or text, does not qualify as a meeting. 

  • What is the mentorship referral program?

    We encourage members to refer individuals they believe would make excellent CPA mentors. An active referral program is key to ensuring the long-term viability of the mentorship program.
  • How are future CPAs expected to demonstrate and self-assess their level of proficiency for enabling competencies?

    Future CPAs must demonstrate how they have drawn on the enabling competencies while developing their technical competencies. They do this by answering five three-part questions that allow them to describe a situation, its implications towards developing and achieving enabling competencies and how what they have learned will affect their future behaviour for each of the five enabling competency areas.

    When looking back at a future CPA’s experience in developing enabling competencies, the three parts of each question seek to ask "what?" "so what?" and "now what?"* If you should encounter an ethical competency upon which you are unable to provide guidance, contact CPA Ontario for assistance.

    *Driscoll, J. (2007). Practising clinical supervision: A reflective approach for healthcare professionals (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Bailliere Tindall Elsevier