Working at Peterson Sullivan | Glassdoor

Peterson Sullivan Overview

Seattle, WA
51 to 200 employees
Company - Private
Accounting & Legal
$25 to $50 million (USD) per year
Peterson Sullivan is a leading local public accounting and business advisory firm based in Seattle, Washington. We are ranked among the top 10 largest CPA firms in the Puget Sound region, with more than 170 professionals and support staff.

We serve clients ... Read more

Mission: To be an agile firm that is a valued asset to our clients all year round—anticipating needs, understanding their business, and providing the expertise and insight to help achieve goals.

Company Updates

  • We are thrilled to be named a Best Accounting Firm to Work For 2017 by Accounting Today! Thank you and congratulations to all of our outstanding employees who make PS a Best Workplace!

    Accounting Today names 2017 Best Firms to Work For

    Accounting Today has announced its 2017 Best Accounting Firms to Work For. The annual survey and awards program, which is conducted in partnership with Best Companies Group, is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best employers in the accounting profession, benefiting its economy, workforce and businesses.

  • Preston Paulson was awarded for his high scholastic standing at the Western Washington University BAP Banquet. Congratulations, Preston on your outstanding academic achievements! We are excited for you to join us this summer!

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Peterson Sullivan – Why Work For Us?

We're only as good as our people.  At Peterson Sullivan, the high energy and entrepreneurial spirit of Seattle have been in our firm's DNA – and on display in our associates, managers, and partners – for over 60 years.  This spirit has led to exceptional client relationships and healthy growth.  Together, we set the bar high and go the extra mile for our clients and for each other.  Together, we grow not only a successful practice but also successful clients.  Together, we build something greater than ourselves.  Together, we can be more than we ever imagined.

We provide comprehensive accounting, audit, and tax services to publicly traded companies, closely held businesses, nonprofits, auto dealerships, and high net worth individuals throughout the Pacific Northwest and internationally.  Our over 170 professionals draw on a deep pool of knowledge, skill, and experience to provide sound advice and serve our client's needs.  We are committed to technical excellence, uncommonly good communication, and exemplary client service.

Our Values are the key drivers of our culture and support our actions:


  • We are honest hard workers and straight talkers.
  • We keep our word.  We hold ourselves accountable to our clients and to each other.
  • We do what's right, not what's easy.


  • We make and keep commitments.
  • We are empowered to go the extra mile for our community, clients, and fellow employees.
  • We communicate and connect in a thoughtful, personable manner.


  • We know our people are our strength; we encourage collaboration, learning, innovation, and creativity.
  • We are passionate about serving the communities in which we live, work, and play.


  • We focus on continuous improvement to ensure we stay on top of emerging issues that matter to our clients and community.
  • Each of us is a knowledgeable resource—and together, we bring clients the benefits of our shared expertise and insight.


See how far you can go when you put your passion into practice.

For self-starters who want to grow a great career and enjoy the journey, Peterson Sullivan is the best of all worlds. You’ll work with some of the accounting profession’s top talents in an office with a major presence in the heart of downtown Seattle. The high energy and entrepreneurial spirit of Seattle have been in our firm’s DNA for 60 years, leading to exceptional client relationships and healthy growth.

Concentrating all of our expertise, energy, and resources in the city we love gives the firm unique strengths that unite us in setting the bar high and going the extra mile—for our clients and for each other.

When the fit is right, there’s no better place to find your passion, focus on the client work you love, build a stellar career—and enjoy the company along the way.

As an associate, you come to expect the unexpected. It's hard to pinpoint what you will be doing on a daily basis, because each day is unique! You get constantly challenged with new situations and projects, with a variety of different clients – the work keeps you on your toes. Any given day you have the opportunity to work with a multitude of associates and seniors. 

A Day in the Life of a Tax Associate with Rob Maxfield


Types of work:

  • Preparation of individual, partnership, corporate, gift, trust, estate, FBAR Filings and nonprofit tax returns
  • Update fixed asset schedules and prepare depreciation reports
  • Prepare estimated tax payment vouchers for individuals
  • Prepare extensions for all types of tax returns
  • Prepare LIFO calculations for auto dealer clients

7:00-8:00 am

  • Arrive at the office
  • Catch up with coworkers, grab coffee and some water
  • Catch up on email for firm updates, important tax updates, or information from clients or supervisors
  • Review and check for any updates on statuses of projects currently assigned
  • Review notes left for myself from the prior day
  • Contact Resource Manager if getting low on work to ask for more
  • Establish a priority list once information is gathered

8:00-12:00 PM

  • Begin plugging away on your priority list of returns to prepare, emails to write and other projects to complete
  • Track time via computer timers or on a notepad to ensure proper billing
  • Begin preparing the tax return on top of your list by pulling information from PDF workpapers and entering in the tax return software
  • Update your list of questions as new ones come up and communicating with supervisors about progress and status of current projects
  • If/when you get stumped on how or where to enter information or in the return, seek out help from coworkers or supervisors
  • Contact supervisors or clients for missing information to help keep projects moving

12:00-1:00 PM

  • Grab lunch with coworkers, friends, interview candidates, coaches or by yourself

1:00-3:00 PM

  • Check email or other communication tools for answers to open item questions from clients or supervisors
  • Update tax returns and workpapers as needed with updated information
  • Once all information is entered for the return, complete a thorough self-review looking for any missed information or unanswered questions
  • Sign off on the return and submit a draft to the reviewing supervisor

3:00-4:00 PM

  • Go through the list of review “points” and update the return as necessary
  • Seek out clarification on any review points that you may not understand fully
  • Once review points are cleared, sign off on the second draft and send to the reviewer

4:00-5:00 PM

  • Take an inventory of statuses of current projects and your priority list items
  • Update supervisors on the status of current returns
  • Enter billable and non-billable tracked time in system
  • Leave any notes for yourself for the next day to not waste time the following morning

After Hours

  • Study for CPA exams, they don’t study themselves!
  • Attend networking and recruiting events
  • Join coworkers for happy hour or other firm sponsored events.
  • Participate in one of our many sports teams like softball, dodgeball, beach volleyball or flag football.


What I love about my job

Being a tax associate at Peterson Sullivan is very challenging but also extremely rewarding. As an associate I am constantly learning new things and never leave the office feeling like I didn’t accomplish something that day. One of the advantages of Peterson Sullivan is our varying types of clients. Whether it be high net worth individuals or large corporations, there really is something different to work on every day. Most days, it does not even feel like work because I am working alongside so many great people that make it feel like I am an important part of the team. I truly love coming to work each day knowing that I will be working with some of my close friends on projects that we all want to complete with integrity, respect, commitment, and expertise.

A Day in the Life of an Audit Associate with Michael Tanimoto

A typical day in the office could entail:

  • In-office audits

  • Wrapping up fieldwork

  • Initiating confirmation requests

  • Importing a trial balance

  • Training/Continuing Professional Education
  • Prepping data collection forms

  • Proofreading financial statements

  • Preparing board presentations

  • Attending planning meetings

  • Various projects

A typical day at the client could entail:

  • Connecting with engagement team (setting up workspace and delegating tasks)

  • Meeting with client for an update

  • Auditing various work-papers (cash, prepaid expenses, fixed assets, accounts payable, expenses)

  • Preparing clarifying questions for the client

  • Discussing with senior and manager issues or questions that may arise

  • Wrapping up fieldwork

You may work with clients in these types of industries:

  • Not for profits

  • Construction

  • Hospitality

  • Professional Services

  • Real Estate

After Hours!

  • "First Friday" parties (In-Office Happy Hour/Social Events – PS Tradition!)

  • Firm recruiting events (we went to a Mariner's Game this summer!)

  • Other Firm sponsored activities (softball, flag football, soccer, beach volleyball, putt-putt golf, fantasy football)

  • Coaching and Buddy program activities

  • Networking events such as the Washington State Society Young Professionals Events

What We love about our jobs

The variety of opportunities, individuals, and activities is what makes work at Peterson Sullivan exciting. You have the chance to see a multitude of different business models and structures spanning a wide variety of industries, and get to work with unique individuals from around the United States with a wealth of knowledge and experience. You can also build strong relationships outside of work by participating in the variety of activities that the firm offers. No single day is ever the same!


As you enter public accounting, you can expect an incredibly steep learning curve! To support our associate staff level during this transition into their new careers, we offer Coaching and Buddy programs. Each associate is assigned a Buddy and selects a career Coach after onboarding is complete.

Your Buddy will assist you with day-to-day questions, such as how to input time and where to find supplies. This person is also a great resource for meeting people in the office and finding your way around.

Your Coach will be a manager, senior manager, or principal-level accountant who has volunteered to champion your acclimation and success in the firm. During the first week, and then at least quarterly, your Coach will meet with you to discuss your professional goals and any areas of opportunity.

We believe that an important part of enjoying work is getting to know your co-workers. We encourage participation in some or all of the activities we sponsor, such as: accounting league softball, flag football, volleyball, kickball, soccer, dodgeball, and miniature golf.

We also encourage employees to attend networking, professional, and recruiting events. We have annual Holiday and End-of-Tax-Season parties, an annual All-Firm Retreat, “First Friday/4:01” events, and much more to make sure everyone has some fun and gets to know each other.

Peterson Sullivan Reviews

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Recommend to a friend
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Chris Russell
13 Ratings
  • Featured Review

    "Great Company"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Audit Associate in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Audit Associate in Seattle, WA
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO


    I thoroughly enjoyed my two years at PS and only left because I moved out of state.
    Great support from all levels, cares about your career not just the hours you put in, always pushing you to grow but giving you the support to do so, great benefits and compensation.


    Peterson Sullivan may be getting a little too big, but that is my personal preference and I believe they are doing their best to accommodate their growth

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Peterson Sullivan Photos

Peterson Sullivan photo of: All THREE PS softball teams play in the PS Softball Extravaganza! Congrats PS Orange on the wins!
Peterson Sullivan photo of: Life Isn't About Finding Yourself. Life Is About Creating Yourself. Yesterday our group of talented seniors hosted their first annual Leadership Retreat!
Peterson Sullivan photo of: Thank you Wellspring Family Services and Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club for allowing us to be a part of the Shoe Carnival!
Peterson Sullivan photo of: Thank you Wellspring Family Services and Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club for allowing us to be a part of the Shoe Carnival!
Peterson Sullivan photo of: PS teamed up with Pasado’s Safe Haven for Seattle Works Day 2017! Pasado’s is an animal sanctuary in Monroe and our group assisted with a number of projects around the farm.
Peterson Sullivan photo of: Danielly Davidson, Allison Popnoe, Esete Endeshaw, Brittany Harrison, Lindsey Akre, and Caron Schmidt attend a young professionals networking event with the Seattle Chapter of the WSCPA!
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Peterson Sullivan Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview





    Audit Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Peterson Sullivan (Seattle, WA) in November 2016.


    The first interview was conducted over the phone. I spoke with an audit manager and an HR manager. About a week later I got invited to attend their Call Back Day. Call Back Day consisted of interviewing with 3 different people, as well as going out to lunch with 2 associates and a few other interviewees. Interviews were mostly conversational, some behavioral questions, only two very easy technical questions. After the interviews, we had time to socialize with everyone in the office.

    Interview Questions

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Peterson Sullivan Awards & Accolades

  • Washington's Best Workplaces, Puget Sound Business Journal, 2017
  • Best Accounting Firms to Work for, Accounting Today, 2017
  • Top 200 Accounting Firms, Inside Public Accounting, 2017
  • Top 200 Accounting Firms, Inside Public Accounting, 2017
  • Washington's Best Workplaces Finalist, Puget Sound Business Journal, 2016
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