Firm: RKE LLP

Date: April 3, 2018

Website: https://rkellp.com/


Presenters:

  • Matt Regan - Tax Manager
    • Started his CPA career when he joined RKE in 2010
    • Received a Bachelors degree from Loyola Marymount University
  • Josh Ramsey - Tax Professional
    • Formally worked in private accounting
    • Had previously been in audit and consulting before switching to tax
    • Received a Bachelors degree from California State University, Long Beach

About the firm:

  • Founded in 2006 and located in Torrance, CA
  • A full service CPA firm that assists clients with financial, tax, and strategic accounting needs
  • Nine partners with 55 total employees
    • 24 employees are CSUF Alumni

Client Overview:

  • Industries:
    • Apparel
    • Manufacturing and Distribution
    • Food and Beverage
    • Service Providers
  • Has clients with revenues of up to $300 million
  • Focuses mostly on middle-market companies

Student Development:

  • Education:
    • Looking for students pursuing either a Bachelors or Masters degree
      • Firm pays for extended education for employees pursuing a Masters
    • Pursuing a CPA is also highly important
      • The firm will reimburse up to $2500 for CPA costs
      • You can't surpass senior rank without a CPA license
  • Experience:
    • Summer Leadership Programs are highly desirable and look good on a transcript
    • Internships show you have experience and can lead to a full time offer with firms
    • Volunteer work is also highly recommended to put on a resume which shows experience and special interests

Choosing the Right Firm:

  • "Many students typically go for big four and the mid tiers like Moss and GT. However, local firms provide just as many great opportunities. In fact, at bigger firms your forced to specialize into niche interests while local firms give you a much broader view of a company." - Matt

Discipline:

  • Different lines of service for CPAs:
    • Tax
    • Audit
    • Consulting
  • Experience all disciplines
    • Take the time and opportunity to work in tax and assurance and then choose the discipline that is the best fit for you
  • Choose the discipline that fits your skill set

Industry and Focus:

  • Exposure to various industries vs specialization
    • RKE gives employees exposure to multiple clients, industries, etc. while bigger firms tend to make employees specialize
  • Domestic and International Experience
  • Firm focuses on privately held, middle-market companies
    • Bigger firms typically focuses on publicly held companies
  • Clients are made of business entities and individuals

Client Involvement and Interaction:

  • Upfront exposure to clients
    • "From day one, I was sitting with a partner as we were both on a call with the client." - skinny guy
  • Phases of the Client Cycle:
    • Proposal > Planning > Engagement > Billing
  • Exposure to diverse and technical client matters

Work-Life Balance

  • Work Hours
    • During busy season you typically work 50-55 hours per week
      • 10 hours per day Monday through Friday and typically 5-6 hours on Saturdays
    • In non-busy season its closer to 40-45 hours per week
  • Annual Workload:
    • In the tax line, the workload is very consistent and stays the same every year
    • Assurance is busy from the beginning of busy season to May and then its much less intense the rest of the year
  • Turnover Ratio:
    • Much lower than bigger firms because employees have better pay, more benefits, and closer relationships to their coworkers

Typical Public Accounting Timeline:

  • Year 1 - 3 = Staff
  • Year 3 - 5 = Senior
  • Year 5 - 10 = Manager
  • Year 10 - 15 = Partner

Career Growth:

  • Ask for guidelines for promotion
  • Buddy/mentorship
  • Employer sponsored continued education
  • Ask for feedback on each project
  • Biannual reviews
    • Take feedback constructively
  • Professional networking opportunities
    • Seize opportunities to find referral sources early in your career
  • Say yes to projects that broaden your knowledge-base
  • Become the go-to resource for your clients
  • "When you find your firm, you still need to network. Networking is key to continuing your career. When you get to the senior manager level, many at your firm will expect you to start bringing in clients. You need a network by then and need to bring new clients into the firm." - Matt