CohnReznick

  www.cohnreznick.com
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1 person found this helpful  

Good public experience in a high demand industry

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Audit Manager  in  Roseland, NJ
Former Employee - Audit Manager in Roseland, NJ

Pros

Good pay, flexible hours, great people to work with, well known and more prestigious.
As with every public accounting firm, the fight is always the long hours vs the good pay. However, here, at least you're not working until 12am like as in the big four. And honestly you're learning and doing the same thing, just on smaller companies.

Cons

Busy season, long hours, limited culture

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Focus on keeping good employees instead of trying to attract new ones

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

Other reviews for CohnReznick

  1.  

    Decent introduction to a CPA Firm

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Audit Associate  in  Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Audit Associate in Baltimore, MD

    Pros

    Put the interns right to work with meaningful tasks; Compensation is slightly less than the Big 4 but on par; Full week of training in the beginning. Once in a while management would throw us a happy hour or provide us lunch even during heart of busy season to "refresh" us.

    Cons

    Even during my limited time, I can see there is too much focus on billable hours. Employees dedicating numerous hours that went unbilled. Not a very good feedback system for interns.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Spend a little less focus on billable hours and more time on viewing your employees as assets.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. 7 people found this helpful  

    Be prepared to get chewed up and spat out!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Tax Associate  in  Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - Senior Tax Associate in Atlanta, GA

    Pros

    Due to various mergers and acquisitions, in addition to organic growth into new markets, CohnReznick is experiencing an incredible period of expansion. If you are hard-working and ambitious, and make solid connections with the right people, you will find lots of opportunity here.

    Although bonuses can leave a bit to be desired, annual pay raises are usually generous.

    During busy season, the firm provides dinner four nights a week as well as breakfast and lunch on Saturdays. Management does a good job of making sure the food is not the same night after night and that there is a good variety of items to choose from. Vegetarians, vegans, and those with food allergies will have their preferences looked after.

    Cons

    Check your ideas about work/life balance at the door. They will not apply here.

    Partners and managers have a fixation on billable time that is almost pathological, and this concern seems to trump all others. They set very ambitious billable hour goals for their seniors and staff to meet, but then pressure them to eat time (and shift time between clients) so that their engagements don't go over budget. During my last busy season at Reznick, I received the following emails from four different people on the very same day. To paraphrase:

    -- Partner A: You were one hour short of your billable hour requirement last month. Why aren't you billing enough time?
    -- Manager B: "Why are you billing so much time to my clients? You're making me look bad!" (exact quote)
    -- Partner C: Why didn't you finalize your time sheet yesterday? Our firm policy yadda yadda yadda...
    -- Senior Manager D: (addressed to the whole department) We're requiring everyone to work this Saturday and Sunday and bill a minimum of 20 hours over the weekend.

    In short, you are forced to play this game of "bill as much time as you can, but don't bill too much to anyone." It's a game that very few seem to master. In addition, almost all non-billable time (other than PTO and CPE) is highly scrutinized and frowned upon.

    The overall message that all of this sends seniors and staff is that they are viewed as little more than cogs in a machine to help generate revenue for the partners of the firm. This message is reinforced at almost every turn.

    Morale is incredibly low and turnover seems very high, even compared with other CPA firms.

    During recruitment, management likes to loosely throw around the buzz phrase "we work hard, but we play hard." Really, that just means that they work hard. Any perk they consider "play" is largely forced and done at a minimum of expense, and it shows.

    Manager busy season bonuses are paid in November of the same year, but senior busy season bonuses are delayed until the subsequent busy season (i.e., your bonus for busy season 2012 won't be paid until March 2013). A clever retention tool, but it has the downside of further demoralizing the group of staff on whom the work demands are often the greatest.

    Office politics is rampant and flagrant. I witnessed serveral instances of managers throwing administrative and professional staff under the bus in order to save face. It's also painful to watch managers regularly schmooze the partners (listening intently to their long stories, forcing a laugh at their jokes whether or not they're funny, etc.) in a shameless effort to advance their careers and make partner themselves.

    A rude and insulting client will have free reign to treat associates however he/she chooses, especially if their engagements are relatively easy and the client has a history of paying their fees in a timely manner.

    Overall, firm management has little idea how to properly motivate their staff (and relies mostly on negative feedback and fear), nor do they seem to care. Also, it is clear that management prioritizes billings and firm revenue over all else, including the health and well-being of their staff. This firm's reputation in the Atlanta market for being a sweatshop is richly deserved.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I know change is tough, but try to free yourself of the limiting mindset that productivity can only be measured in terms of billable hours and time budgets. There is more to it than what you can quantify. Quality of client service is also important. Other firms are making great strides here -- research what is working for them and don't be afraid to try something new.

    Taking your team out to lunch at El Azteca in mid-April, and spending $6 a head, is not a proper way to "say thank you for all of your hard work this busy season." My manager did this after my first busy season and it was, quite frankly, insulting.

    I realize that there are tax and cash flow incentives to delaying bonus payments until March 15 of the following year, but consider how this is received by your senior associates. And having one partner tell us each year that "this is a shame and I will push for this to change next year," only for change to never come, is further insult to injury.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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