Cotton & Co. Reviews

Updated June 12, 2015
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3.7
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David L. Cotton
4 Ratings

13 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great Place to have a Career!

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

    I have been working at Cotton & Co. (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Work-Life Balance is great at this Company. It is a CPA firm so the work can be stressful at times, but the company tries to prevent overworking its employees. Extra effort and time is recognized and often rewarded. The company is large enough to offer great salaries, benefits, and have large clients, but small enough to still get personal attention from upper management and partners. Promotion potential is high since the company is still growing. You will learn a lot on the jobs at Cotton.

    Cons

    Formal Training classes are improving, but there is not alot to choose from once you have been with the Company for a number of years. They will reimburse outside training courses though.


  2. Not for the long haul....

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

    I worked at Cotton & Co. full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Continuing education is encouraged and certification is well rewarded with bonuses. Paid parking. Good work life balance depending upon the assignment. Partners are Subject Matter Experts in the federal government industry.

    Cons

    The benefit package is average. There is limited upward mobility. The companywide communications are poor. Little feedback is given during the year and annual reviews are one sided, often done on paper without discussion between employees and management. Salaries were not industry competitive.


  3. Good CPA firm to work for

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

    I have been working at Cotton & Co. full-time (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good people to work for and with
    Good growth potential
    Base salaries are competitive
    Still has somewhat of a small business feel and mentality, if you are looking for that

    Cons

    Troubles retaining quality employees
    Work can get repetitive
    Bonuses are okay but not great
    Training programs are lacking, especially for newer staff


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  5. Great place to work!

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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.


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

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    - 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.


  7. Helpful (3)

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

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

    I have been working at Cotton & Co.

    Recommends
    Recommends

    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 Management

    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!


  8. Gives you the opportunity to grow, if you want it

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

    I have been working at Cotton & Co.

    Recommends
    Recommends

    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 Management

    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).


  9. Great learning opportunity but not so good for overall professional growth

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

    I have been working at Cotton & Co.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    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 Management

    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.


  10. Great starter job.

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

    I worked at Cotton & Co.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Salary is way below industry standard.

    Advice to Management

    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.


  11. It was great

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

    I worked at Cotton & Co.

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    The Pay is ok at cotton

    Cons

    Not a lot of resourses

    Advice to Management

    more training



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