Cotton & Co.

  cottoncpa.com
  cottoncpa.com

Cotton & Co. Reviews

Updated July 10, 2014
Updated July 10, 2014
10 Reviews
3.5
10 Reviews
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David L. Cotton
2 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great place to work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Auditor
    Current Employee - Senior Auditor

    I have been working at Cotton & Co. full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Company will pay for all your professional certification exams, study materials, tuition, professional memberships, etc and really encourage you to pursue these goals. They try really hard to accommodate you when you have an exam coming up and need extra time to study.
    -You work really closely with partners unlike in larger firms.
    -Promotions are based on performance, not some checklist.
    -Great pay
    -Opportunity to really learn a lot and work at some top notch government agencies.

    Cons

    -Don't get paid for overtime
    -Bonuses aren't huge but they're sufficient.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Cotton is a place you can grow as a professional and actively contribute to the firm.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cotton & Co. full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Most engagements involve close interaction with partners and managers on a daily basis which allows you to learn concepts and develop an understanding of specific accounting areas that other firms may not offer.
    - Responsibility and opportunity is given to those who work hard and ask for it. Partners and managers meet with employees throughout the year to provide feedback and guidance. Whenever I've discussed wanting to take on more or pursue something else within the firm, I've always felt as if management listened and then attempted to assist in helping me achieve whatever was discussed.
    - Cotton & Company places an emphasis on supporting charitable work, both locally and nationally. The firm has a Giving Committee which heads up the effort to increase community service and the raising of money/support for various causes.
    - The partners do believe in an open door policy and will give any employee the chance to voice concerns or opportunities for the firm.
    - Work-life balance is strongly encouraged. Not everyone works a 40 hr week every week, but Cotton does make a strong effort to spread the workload among employees. Although I'm sure putting in extra hours is appreciated, it's not a requirement to advance in the firm. If you work hard while you're at work, and help others when it's needed, you're going to do well at the firm.

    Cons

    - Cotton is actively working to improve this, but sometimes interaction with others outside your specific engagement can be limited. This is not uncommon at mid-size or large accounting firms where most of an employee's time is spent on-site at one or two clients the majority of the year.
    - Each partner may do things a little differently. I don't know how you can really change that in a partnership, but it's something to note. Some might even consider it a 'Pro' since if you aren't thrilled with how one partner does something on your engagement, you may be able to switch engagements and work under a different partner that's more aligned with how you prefer to work. I think more effort can be made firm-wide to increase consistency among the partner group and the firm.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Keep looking internally to improve and continue asking for input from the firm's employees.
    - The larger the firm gets, the more effort that must be made to maintain a strong company culture and inclusiveness.
    - Continue developing ways to assist employees in their development; whether through enhanced training, or helping facilitate more mentoring opportunities among employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Excellent career if you want a life outside of work and decent pay!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Auditor in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Senior Auditor in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at Cotton & Co.

    Pros

    - Work/life balance - I rarely work more than 40 hours per week but still get paid the same as some of my collegues who work at Big 4 firms

    -Little to no travel - unless you are on the IT side, you don't really do much travelling. This can be a con for some though

    - Time off - We get a lot of PTO and federal holidays and can pretty much take time off whenever we want....of course, if there is an important deadline, our bosses would probably recommend against it

    -Engagements - we have several big name government clients and are given a lot of responsibility while on the job from an early start

    -Partners and managers - our upper management is very approachable and they really take the time to get to know who you are and what you want out of your career. If you show them you produce quality work and are efficient in doing so, you can go far in this company and the partners will do all they can to help you get there.

    - Advancement - There are no "advancement levels" here...meaning, you could be promoted to senior after 9 months of working or after 3 years. It all depends on the work you produce. With that said, the partners here like things fast - so you can't expect to impress them if you take too much time to do your tasks. It all comes down to the type of worker you are - my advice is to produce high quality work in a short amount of time.

    - Location - Most of our clients are in DC but our home office is in Alexandria. So depending on where you live, the location might be prime!

    -You learn a lot because you get a lot of manager and partner involvement. The partners here are awesome and love it if you are outgoing and are able to talk to them without fear. It is intimidating sometimes to have to talk to a partner, but those who succeed here are the ones who put forth the effort to establish those relationships.

    - Willingness to address your needs - Cotton wants their people to stay, and if you are unhappy with your current engagement, they will work with you to move you somewhere you are better suited.

    - Job security - if you are a good worker and pick up on things fast, then job security is fairly high here. If there isn't a job or an engagement for you to work on, you will not get let go, but you may sit in the office doing nothing for a few months....perfect time to study for your CPA!

    -Fabulous staff meetings (at the Hilton!!) and parties (at the Ritz!!)

    Cons

    - Company involvement - there are one or two committees to get involved in and there is a softball team, but not much besides that. You could be working here for 10 years and still only know the people on your engagement.

    -Cliquey - a lot of the younger staff are very cliquey. If they already have their "group" don't even think about trying to hang or make friends. This isn't the place.

    - Favorites - plain and simple, if the partners and managers like you, you're going to do well. If they don't or if you have an attitude, that'll rub them the wrong way, and you probably won't do well in this company. Its common sense, though. Sometimes you just have to put on a happy face. Fake it till you make it is my motto. And its worked for me!

    -Fairness of engagements - like I said, I usually only work 40 hours. However, there are some more intense engagements where it gets super busy at year or quarter end and the staff has to work 60 hour work weeks. Just hope you don't get on one of those!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I would encourage people to get more involved. If you want a certain committee, talk to your partner and see if you can create it! I would love to see some sort of "Healthy Lifestyle" committee that gets people together after work for running groups, group exercise, whatever. I know a lot of firms reward their employees for a healthy lifestyle. Besides that, keep up the good work and try to get to know each of your employees!

    Recommends
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  5.  

    Gives you the opportunity to grow, if you want it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Supervisory Senior in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Supervisory Senior in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at Cotton & Co.

    Pros

    -If you take the initiative, you will grow and be rewarded. If you just show up to work and do what you're told or expect things to happen for you, it will probably be a very average place to work.
    -Most partners are approachable and very knowledgeable
    -Some fairly young partners
    -Good in house CPE
    -Bonuses for achieving a variety of certifications
    -Better tuition reimbursement than competitors
    -Very smart coworkers
    -Annual casino night at the Ritz

    Cons

    -Technology is fairly old
    -The office is a little hard to get to and not as nice as nearby competitors
    -Somewhat lackluster attitude towards growth. The growth is solid, but competitors in the federal accounting industry are growing much faster
    -Most employees are very audit focused, even those on consulting projects

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be a stronger focus on growth to give employees more room to grow. The technology needs to be improved. Communicate to staff the direction of the firm. There doesn't seem to be a cohesive plan for the direction of the firm (from the staff's perspective anyway).

    Recommends
  6.  

    Great learning opportunity but not so good for overall professional growth

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Auditor in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Senior Auditor in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at Cotton & Co.

    Pros

    Great learning opportunities
    Strong prescence in the federal accounting industry
    Open door policy with partners
    Generous support for certification exams

    Cons

    Lacks in resources and technological advancement
    Compensation is well below the average pay of competing firms
    Advancement opportunities seem to be based on who "bills" the most, regardless of efficiency and competence
    Skewed performance reviews
    Few opportunities for overall professional growth

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Up the pay to at least meet market averages. The pay for experienced and senior staff is much lower than competitors. Staff on certain engagements work much more than some staff on other engagements. Encourage staff to take on leadership and professional opportunities rather than operating as body shops. The staff will not learn how to be successful leaders without guidance.

    Doesn't Recommend
  7.  

    Great starter job.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Auditor in Alexandria, VA
    Former Employee - Auditor in Alexandria, VA

    I worked at Cotton & Co.

    Pros

    You will learn a lot, and will learn how to do high-quality work.

    Cons

    Salary is way below industry standard.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I loved the focus on quality, but you have to realize that quality work is time-consuming work, and the compensation should correlate with that level of effort.

    Doesn't Recommend
  8.  

    It was great

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cotton & Co.

    Pros

    The Pay is ok at cotton

    Cons

    Not a lot of resourses

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    more training

    Recommends
  9.  

    Great Place for foundation

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cotton & Co.

    Pros

    The partners and senior managers are incredibly knowledgable in the Federal Government Sector. There is an open door policy that I appreciated and valued. There is a heavy emphasis for certification which is rewarded with bonuses.

    Cons

    Compensation is below average, opportunity for advancement is difficult and recognition (verbal or monetary) is not provided beyond year end performance reviews.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If Cotton wants to increase retention at all levels then senior management should listen to their employees, recognize people who are working above and beyond as compared to their peers and provide more verbal feedback and on-spot bonuses.

  10.  

    A good place to start your career...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cotton & Co.

    Pros

    Decent work life balance, Adequate opportunities for professional development courses, Most client sites are close to public transportation; Decent employee benefits package.

    Cons

    No 360 reviews; Lower level staff is penalized if they expose weaknesses of incompetent / unprofessional managers; Lack of communication throughout all levels of management; Lackluster salaries, bonuses, and pay raises.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your lower level staff members, and not take them for granted. Just because someone does not have CPA does not mean they are not competent or subject matter experts, especially if they have been in the workforce (industry) for several years. Also, stop being so cheap when it comes to employee compensation.

    Doesn't Recommend
  11.  

    Mediocre

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cotton & Co.

    Pros

    Regional firm with wide range of services offered to government clients. Lots of exposure to different clients and different engagements.

    Cons

    Less than desirable interactions with senior management and management techniques could definitely be improved. Very absent partners on their engagements.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work towards improving employee morale and culture of firm. Encourage team building activity and firm interaction with other employees within firm.

    Doesn't Recommend

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