Top 8 Questions Before Selecting a CPA Firm to Work For

What type of clients will I work with?

At Sullivan & Company, CPAs, we work with primarily with businesses with one to fifty employees. One of the benefits of working with Sullivan & Company is that we don’t focus on one or even three or four industries. We have clients in many different industries, including auto repair, construction, doctor’s offices, retail, restaurants, staffing agencies, law firms, engineering companies, therapists, hair salons, video production, plumbing, electricians, HVAC, real estate development, rental properties, dentists, manufacturing, etc. 

These clients use various income tax structures including partnerships, S-Corporations, C-Corporations, sole-proprietors, and non-profit organizations. Working at Sullivan & Company will give you significant experience in each of these entity types.

How many team members will work with me?

Sullivan & Company is a growing firm with approximately 25 full time team members. Of these team members, approximately 17 to 18 are accounting professionals and approximately 7 to 8 are administrative professionals. At Sullivan & Company, we focus on accountants doing accounting tasks and not doing administrative tasks. You will work alongside administrative staff in completing all aspects of the client engagement. You will learn to work with administrative in order to be efficient and spend your time logically throughout your work week.

Will I be able to talk to clients?

At Sullivan & Company, you will absolutely be able to talk to clients. When a new team member first joins, for a number of weeks or months, their supervisor will communicate with all clients. However, this quickly ends once the team member demonstrates the knowledge and skillset necessary to communicate with clients. This differs from other firms where mostly the partner talks to clients and new team members have to wait for many years before they even pick up a phone. 

We place a very high value on accountants who communicate well with clients. We are not simply looking for someone who will complete forms and get them out the door. We want someone who will communicate with the client and be a resource for the client for answering their questions and making recommendations. 

Do you do any work besides tax returns?

Yes, there is much more to working at Sullivan & Company than just completing tax returns. We provide outsourced accounting to businesses. This means you will either be updating the client’s accounting on a monthly basis, or you’ll be supervising someone who does update the client’s books on a monthly basis. All accountants are responsible for knowing how to prepare financial statements at the preparation, compilation, and review levels. 

Most importantly our job is to be a trusted financial advisor to the clients. We have a job to make recommendations for both tax purposes and general business improvements. This is one way we distinguish ourselves from other accounting firms. In other firms, maybe just the partner will be responsible for this, but at Sullivan & Company, you will learn at an early stage the recommendations we make to clients for their specific situations. You’re not expected to know this when you enter employment at Sullivan & Company but will learn it quickly. We also advise clients on entity type, tax saving strategies, and retirement plans for their business.

Your website says you have personal financial planning, what does this mean?

We have a section of our company that provides our clients with personal financial planning strategies. We map out the client’s assets and liabilities and determine their current network then we project the future given what the client is doing now and give them suggests for improvement. This is done by about 3 or 4 members of the Sullivan & Company team. Most of these team members are also accountants, so if you are interested in doing more than just accounting, this could be a department of the company that you could volunteer to take part of. 

All team members are expected to have at least an idea of what the financial planning department does and provide clients with a recommendation to speak to the financial planning department if they believe it will be beneficial to the client. This is another way that Sullivan & Company tries to help clients by doing more than just preparing tax returns. 

I hear tax season is a difficult time. What are the requirements for tax season?

At Sullivan & Company, we generally work 45 to 60 hours per week depending on our personal situations and that would begin approximately at the beginning of February through April 15th. At Sullivan & Company, overtime is paid. Other firms require more hours and do not pay overtime. Depending on when you are hired and how quickly you learn, you may or may not be needed for overtime the first time the first year. By year two, you should be able to work this number of hours. 

Tax season begins with business accounting and tax returns, which can be started in the middle of January and are continued through March. Most business tax returns are due March 15th, and some are completed on extension after that. Most individual tax returns we can begin in early March, and they are due on April 15th. Most new team members begin with businesses and work their way up to individuals as time goes on. You may work on individuals in your first tax season if you are learning quickly.

Do I need to be a CPA to apply here?

No. We do not require a CPA license in order to work at Sullivan & Company, but we strongly encourage our employees to become certified in the first 2 to 3 years of employment. We believe the CPA exam shows a commitment to the field and learning a wide variety of different accounting areas. Passing the CPA license is also a great way to market our firm to potential clients. 

Is there upward mobility?

At Sullivan & Company, there is plenty of upward mobility. We are a growing firm. You will find that some other firms, when you talk to them about new clients, they will say “we don’t get many new clients” or even “we are not accepting any new clients.” We are a firm that typically contracts with 2 to 5 new business clients per month. If you do well at Sullivan & Company, you should be supervising by 1 to 2 years. We have a good management team at Sullivan & Company, but we are always looking for people to join supervisors and management. We do not expect you to come into Sullivan & Company at a high level. However, we want you to move up quickly and grow your career with our company.