GBH CPAs

  www.gbhcpas.com
  www.gbhcpas.com

GBH CPAs Reviews

Updated October 16, 2014
Updated October 16, 2014
4 Reviews
2.9
4 Reviews

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Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A Great Place to Grow

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

    I worked at GBH CPAs full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I started as an audit staff at GBH CPAs in the early years of the firm. Right from the start, this firm established a culture of commitment to teaching and enhancing employee growth through mentorship. The managers and partners I worked with all took a vested interest in my career growth and invested valuable time in expanding my career skill set through training, one-on-one teaching, and encouraging business networking. As a woman in a historically male dominated field, I was initially concerned about the opportunities available to me as I advanced in my experience at the firm. After being promoted to senior and assigned to manage increasingly challenging jobs, it was clear that the sky is the limit at this firm if you are willing to commit the time and effort required to succeed in the public accounting world. Although I eventually chose to leave the firm to pursue a different career path, I consider my time at GBH CPAs as the foundation of all of my subsequent business success. Throughout my career, the professional connections I made while working at GBH have proven to be incredibly valuable resources. I believe their recent merger and continued growth make this firm an excellent choice for anyone looking for an equally challenging and rewarding work environment.

    Cons

    There are hard deadlines that must be met, and it will require long hours at times. This is not isolated to this firm, but just the nature of a career in public accounting. In my experience, the long term benefits reaped from making this commitment far outweigh the intermittent time demands.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Great opportunity to gain quality experience in a growing regional firm

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

    I worked at GBH CPAs full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Having worked at GBH in the initial years, I have watched the firm grow from a handful of experienced professionals to a contender as one of the best regional audit and tax firms serving both public and private markets.

    In 2007, the firm managed to grow and prosper in spite of the 2008 economic downturn. This was in part due to the leadership of the firm and the focus on audit efficiency, quality, training and client service. The leadership all had Big 6 experience and they took the time to build a firm that would last. In conjunction with my peers, we developed training and processes to allow the firm to bring in new staff and build the confidence in them to be successful as CPAs. There were certainly some rough days in the beginning, but as I have learned throughout my career, that can always be expected when you are trying to build something great. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. For some, they enjoy the challenge as they know it comes with higher reward and gratification. For others, they prefer that nothing change and are content with status quo. Neither is right or wrong and each is a matter of choice. I have been in both positions throughout my career and can attest to the fact that the only constant is change.

    Having lived through multiple mergers and acquisitions, I can also attest to the fact that nothing works out exactly a expected and that it takes the right outlook to come out on top. Things also seem to take twice as long as planned, but as long as you understand and believe in the vision, eventually you will come out the other end successful. I lived through the initial vision of GBH CPAs and was rewarded for it in both experience and success. I suspect the current merger will have it's growing pains and not all the pieces will fit together initially. In watching now from the outside, I do believe in their current vision of offering both audit and tax. The synergies of their merger with manifest themselves eventually given it only happened earlier this year. It took us three years to meet some our initial goals and be able to look back with a sense of achievement.

    For those with patience who want a rare opportunity to grow a firm and put their own mark on it, this is a great place to work and be part of a growing firm. Whether it be through organic growth or mergers of complimentary services, the firm offers an environment to learn more than just tax and audit. It offers an environment to gain critical thinking skills with exposure to a variety of real world business, audit, accounting and tax issues.

    Cons

    As I tell all those looking to go the CPA route, the initial years are a commitment. GBH CPAs is not unlike any other quality CPA firm. There will be busy times when sacrifices have to be made, which is a personal choice. Those who sacrifice are generally rewarded whether it be immediately or later on in their careers. The first few years in any CPA firm are the formative years and with the right attitude, you will survive. I would not recommend working at GBH CPAs if you are not willing to accept the challenge of change and adapt. Becoming a CPA is also a personal commitment, which is why not everyone is able to achieve this milestone in their career.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to listen to employees as you grow and communicate your vision regularly and concisely.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Post Merger Problems. Bad Culture.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Staff Accountant in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Staff Accountant in Houston, TX

    I worked at GBH CPAs full-time

    Pros

    Good benefits, good facilities, good place to get work experience with a somewhat notable regional CPA firm.

    Cons

    GBH CPAs merged with Prather Kalman PC in 1/2014. GBH had little to no tax oriented service capabilities, and Prather Kalman's audit department ceased to exist due to high turnover and management issues. GBH would get PK tax expertise, while PK would get access to clients who wouldn't even look at them before the merger, as well as fancy facilities and the instant name recognition, since GBH is somewhat recognized regionally. The hope was to combine both firms so that they would be greater than the sum of their parts.

    Ironically, the merger turned out to be just that, a new company that was no more than the sum of its parts. This is unequivocally due to a large gap in the corporate culture with few meaningful efforts to bridge the divide. In fact, one might say some office policies reinforce a division between the two companies:

    - Seating arrangements. I understand for the sake of convenience it's best to keep departmental staff seated nearby one another. However the way the office is setup, there is little to no interaction at the staff level between the two companies. It feels like two different companies moved into the same building, and we just haven't put in that divider wall yet... Furthermore, the tax department has a seating arrangement only a Gestapo appointed hall monitor could love.

    - Unequal pay. Both Tax and Audit staff work similar hours. Employees with similar work history and skill levels in their respective concentrations are NOT getting paid the same. That is a FACT. People waited 6 months for raises to see if pay would be equalized at any level. It was not. Staff talks. You think its nice to find out that you as experienced tax staff get paid what GBH audit interns make? Or how about the awkwardness when a GBH audit staff member realizes that they're making more than a tax manager? I'm not talking about 2-5k differences, I'm talking about 10k differences in salary at the low end.

    -There is a lack of cross-departmental training. Other than a few employees being shifted around to pick up slack, there are NO new learning opportunities. GBH has an excellent audit training program - yet tax department employees are rarely invited or encouraged to attend. PK developed a tax training program after the merger to get that big-boy-company feel as far as structured training goes - but it was developed in house, and is not of sufficient caliber. This is a particular sticking point with me, because this was advertised as one of the new benefits of the merger, at least on the PK side. Audit training for whoever wants it? Not really...

    The last point mentions getting that Big 4 feeling. That needs to be discussed more as another con. As I mentioned previously, PK benefited from the association with a more name brand (relatively speaking) firm, the higher end facilities, and the access to higher dollar audit clients than they would have ever had access to at PK alone. You could say PK went from being a small, family run firm that worked hard and played hard - to being tied to a firm that clearly runs a tighter ship, and whose corporate culture more closely resembles a mid major or Big 4. And rightfully so - that's how they present themselves, that's the quality of work they do - and they charge accordingly, and that's how they treat their employees, in both demands and perks. After the merger, there were a lot of ridiculous changes to transition the family feel of PK's corporate culture to be more inline with GBH. A lot of personal flexibility was lost as far as doing work in your own way or on your own time, telecommuting was all but banned, required office hours were less flexible, lunch breaks were all of a sudden a matter of scrutiny, etc. Also, business casual was no longer, well, business casual (they had a "business attire" adviser come in... seriously. We may not have been a Big 4, but we didn't dress like farmers...). Our billable rates went up without respective increases in salary, and we were reduced to efficiency coefficients and convoluted project/time allocation charts rather than employees. This was met with resistance. Why? We were told it was an equal merger, yet PK was adopting all of GBH's policies and procedures, while GBH merely assimilated us as employees, and not any of our culture. I chose a small firm for better work/life balance and a little more flexibility for a little less pay. I understand a merger brings new ways, but... none of our ways were adopted. The lack of honesty about this fact prior to the merger really rubs salt in the wound.

    And that is a perfect transition into my last point. Lack of honesty. On the PK side of things, employees were assured that everyone would have a job, and enough work. This was my first career oriented job. I was naive. I bought the company line. The audit department dissolved unexpectedly in... summer 2013? This Merger was announced fall 2013. In hindsight and after much revelation of new information, this was a move to save the company, and the partners' financial security on the final leg of their career as active partners. Nothing more. Within four months of the merger, 5 people were asked to leave from the tax side. There were only 20 or so staff, so that's a good chunk. At least 3 of those were "officially" due to not having enough work to go around. Now, no tax clients of significance left due to the merger - nothing to account for 3 staff members' worth of time. We didn't get any new employees. No employees were hired to replace them afterwards for lower salaries. This leaves but one conclusion - again, PK is attempting to wring greater efficiencies out of existing staff in order to come in line with GBH'c culture and fiscal expectations. Should've told me from before hand, I wouldn't have stuck around then. Then again, I was new to corporate politics and didn't realize that that's probably the very reason why you didn't. But to go the extra step and to tell employees in December that there will be work for everyone, and then to start letting people go within 6 weeks of the merger because there's not enough work? You couldn't be so inept in projecting project hours if you tried with all your heart. PK lied. Either about having enough work, or the reasons those employees were terminated.

    FOR THOSE INTERVIEWING: If you get in on the audit side of things and you like the culture, great! Take the job, and decline cross training in to tax/clearly state you're only willing to concentrate in audit. GBH audit experience will carry you to your next position, or you can advance their if you like. If you get in on the tax side of things for an interview, decline. You will be overworked, and underpaid, and the only perks they will dangle in front of you are the ones they get by association with GBH - having that name on you're resume. Some perks will be lies (see: cross departmental training). If you're going to be (want to be?) an over worked, under paid accountant, and you either can't or didn't get into a big 4, go to Grant Thornton or Briggs and Veselka. You'll be just as overworked, a little less underpaid, and they're name will get you further than GBH's in your next position. And you will know where they stand with you. Those regionals have high turnover too, but you know what you're getting into. I would rather be told I'm going to be slaved and then put to work, as opposed to being told to expect A and then get B.

    Ask to speak with current staff members about their experience at GBH. Or at least make some connections with current employees outside of the interview to get the whole truth. Ask about their turnover rate. Ask about their work life balance.

    Bottom line is this:

    Do you want to grow your career while contributing to an organization, or be used to grow a company stuck between small and regional?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There are a handful of people who make that place even more difficult to work at than it already is. They have attitude problems and their positions allow them to spread their whims of malcontent to the whole office. You cannot put on an air of big-4 sophistication on one hand, and then allow such behavior.

    Pay people equally.

    Invest actively in your employees, rather than seeing how far you can string them along for or how much accounting per dollar you can squeeze out of them before they eventually leave, and maybe they wont browse job sites on those mandatory off-season Saturdays...

    Negative Outlook
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  5.  

    GBH has a lot of work to do.

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

    I worked at GBH CPAs full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    GBH is a rapidly growing business. They went through a merger with Prather Kalman in January 2014 and doubled in size. Medical/dental benefits are great.

    Cons

    The company needs more employees for the amount of work they have. To be candid, the work/life balance doesn't exist. This firm has a "Big-4" mentality, since the partners all come from Big-4 backgrounds. Face time is very important here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work/life balance needs to be improved.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

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