Chris and Andy


  • 77 employees, 30 CPA’s, 12 partners
    • Looking to hit that 100 person mark
  • Full Service firm – Audit, Tax, dedicated estate/ trust line
  • Serve middle market – not a lot of SEC clients, largely focus on private companies
    • ‘Closely held businesses’, lots of family owned businesses
  • A lot of 401k audits
    • Credit karma, BJ’s, Anaheim ducks


  • Respect and compassion to all people
  • Integrity in all they say and do
  • Casual Fridays, prospective casual everydays
    • Half day Fridays during the down season where you leave at 12


  • Work life balance, rarely work longer than 40/50 hours
  • Recognize that 60+ hours hurt productivity and employee morale
  • Learn the entire process in a smaller firm
    • See the business’ process from beginning to end
  • Buddy & Mentor program
    • Designated staff/ senior buddy to assist in your everyday
    • Manager level mentor to assist in your career goals and professional education
  • Give back to the community
    • You can pick a charity to give money to and the firm will allocated you money to donate
    • You can organize your own charity events at the firm
      • Ie Andy organized a food drive at the office
    • Vet the charity to make sure the charity spends most of their donations to the community
  • Partners are very involved in the work of the engagement

Day in the life of audit and tax professionals

  • Assurance auditors go into the businesses to actually see how they make their products
    • Ie Andy goes to a foundry client and sees their production process
    • Good deal of traveling
    • Audit also assists with future planning
    • Auditors work is documentation all day, a lot of writing and articulation
    • Start verbose and learn to pare it down
    • Probably start working in cash


  • Deals with more tick and tying the numbers
  • Come in and just start dealing with tax returns
  • Most tax clients are pass through entities
  • Year 1-5 you’re mostly preparing tax returns
    • Year 2-3 you start mentoring and reviewing work
  • Use Pro System FX


  • Years 1-5 are for growing your technical expertise
  • Manager up you start doing things like billing and time utilization
    • Start thinking about the profitability of the client
    • Start to see the bidding process to gain clients also
    • Start working in marketing, business development, and networking (if you want)
    • Start to sit in planning meetings and meet IRS agents during IRS audits
  • People are promoted ‘when they’re ready’, year marks are just general guidelines
  • Offer CPE using CALCPA, webcasts etc
  • Put people through the Masters in Tax program

– Audit Manager

  • HVAC,
  • Want to be learning every day as an accountant
    • Know when to ask questions
  • Graduated from CSUF 16 years ago
  • Will work directly with staff with some larger clients

Chris - Tax Partner

  • Cosmetics industry, RV dealer, metal foundry,
  • When in doubt, Google it
  • CPA can represent clients when calling the IRS

What can you avoid as a 1st year staff?


  • Don’t plug-in a number unless someone approves and documents it
  • Don’t override the software
  • Write it down. You’re probably working on 6-8 projects a day


  • Just ask the question. No dumb questions, but don’t ask the same questions over and over
  • Accumulate questions and then ask them
  • What’re they looking for in a new member
  • GPA not prohibitive, but not a 100%