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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at BDO USA full-time (more than a year)Pros
Free carbonated beverages in the kitchen and paid parking.Cons
I rarely leave reviews (of any kind), but I am compelled to write a review about the BDO Atlanta Tax office. If you are looking for a firm that will provide you career opportunities and professional growth with a culture that is fun/energetic and conducive to learning, camaraderie, and a purpose this is not the place. Far from it!
I realize that opinion articles are just opinions and many times the reviewer is/was the problem to begin with and it is difficult for the reader to grasp truth in the review. Many times those dissatisfied with an employer or service provider will exaggerate their experience; thus I will simply list facts that I know about this office.
First things first: They do not have a receptionist when you enter their lobby. There is no one to greet visitors. I should have realized this when I first interviewed. This speaks volumes about who they are, especially since they tout themselves as the '5th largest accounting firm in the world'.
There is no one to pick their main line tel. number if a someone were to call BDO's Atlanta office. You will have to dial an extension or dial by directory. Again, this is not something you would expect from an international accounting firm! Can't they hire a full time receptionist to answer calls and greet visitors like any respectable organization?!
They do not have have nor have they had (in a very long time) an International Tax practice. This alone should be a major red flag as to why the "5th largest accounting firm in the world" does not have an Intl. Tax presence in a major city with many International companies and foreign consulates.
They do not have a transaction tax practice in the Atlanta market. Again, another red flag. Atlanta is a hotbed of M&A activity.
Their managers and senior managers prep tax returns. This is unheard of in mid-sized and large firms. Managers and senior managers should be doing high level review and consulting work, not doing data entry into tax preparation software and tying balance sheet numbers in excel!
Their turnover is incredible high. At any given time they have only 1-3 staff and 0-2 senior staff. Their total tax group is quite small, even by local firm standards.
The female managers have a habit of walking throughout the office without shoes & socks during normal business hours. A bit unprofessional in my opinion.
The managers micromanage the staff. All staff and sr. staff will be asked to email the managers at the end of each day with a detailed outline of work completed that day and tasks to be worked on the next day. Staff are required to highlight how much time they have spent on each assignment/client and how much time they think it will take to complete the next day's tasks. Managers typically want a lot of detail as to exactly how the staff are spending their time on client tax returns.
***This is in addition to putting in your time in the BDO billing system. There are also DAILY meetings during the fall busy season to go over what staff are doing and when parts of the tax returns will be finished and review notes cleared, etc. This level of micro mgmt. is unheard of and unnecessary, especially when dealing with highly skilled professionals who are CPAs and typically have graduate degrees.
Their clients only use them for compliance work. During acquisitions and mergers, BDO's clients will actually use Big 4 firms for any transaction tax consulting. I saw this first hand and asked why we were not hired to which my question was brushed off.
They do not have name recognition in the Atlanta market. Most business people have never heard of BDO while they have heard of Grant Thornton, Habif Arogeti Wynn, Alvarez Marsal, Cherry Bekaert, (the Big 4 of course) and similar peer firms.
There is little firm culture here. Example: After busy season, they do not have an after work party or luncheon which is very common even at the smallest and most cost conscious firms.
You are severely limited in spending money on after work dining/drinking activities even after spending 12-16 hours at work. It is common in the accounting/law industry for companies to bill clients for reasonable out of pocked expense costs (i.e. firm dinners, drinks, etc.). This was not allowed due to 'firm policy'.
It is common for national firms to have on going learning initiatives during & after busy season. There was none at this office. But I suppose it would be futile to teach staff about transaction tax, or ACS 740, when the firm will not do much in consulting projects to begin with and staff turnover is very high.
Managers expect you to come into the office even if you can complete your work form home. Managers are allowed to do this yet staff must be present in the office. I still don't understand this logic. This is especially hard for young mothers.
Expect to work 80+ hours a week. Although to be fair, this is common in Public Accounting. You will work more during the fall busy season, sometimes past midnight.
Their offices are something out of the 1980's. Everything is dark gray and very bland. If you are looking for work space that is invigorating/motivating and something you'd look forward to step into on a Monday morning, this is not it, unless you like gray cubicles, stained ceiling tiles, and carpet from the 1980s.
BDO has been caught up in several major fraud cases in the recent past, including generating $6.5 Billion in phony tax shelters. This may have hampered their growth in a major market like Atlanta. You will have to do your own research on that.
........well I hope I was able to shed some light on this particular office for anyone thinking about applying there. Good Luck.Advice to ManagementAdvice
Fire everyone. Close the office down and start fresh.Doesn't RecommendNegative Outlook