Ask the Firms 2021

What makes each a great place to work

Seattle skyline


For the third year running (see blogs from 2019 and 2020) we have asked the Seattle area Accounting firms for some insights on various topics.   This year we asked them the following question about their own unique qualities:

Accounting students often choose their first job based on pay and prestige, however, there are so many other special qualities that every firm has to offer.  Tell us about your firm’s less obvious qualities that make it a great place to work.

Tarah Williams at Armanino

What makes Armanino an awesome place to work is that we truly live by our purpose, values, and anchors (aka our PVAs). Some of these include positive energy, empowerment, innovation, entrepreneurialism, and growth. One example of how we exhibit our PVAs is Armanino has created practices around industries that other companies view as too risky, such as cannabis and blockchain. These practices started with employees who wanted to take on the challenge of growing an innovative practice that they found incredibly interesting and Armanino empowered them to do that. Armanino also values its employees by recognizing that work/life balance is crucial, and they have put policies in place to make sure that shows. It was announced earlier this year that we will be implementing a “flex-in” office/work-from-home hybrid schedule effective later this year, an annual “Recharge Day” for each department, an extra holiday off per year, and everyone will get their birthday off. In addition, the firm is always hosting social events (both virtual and in person) so we can all stay connected. Finally, Armanino has a “Day 1 mentality,” which means we treat every day like it’s our first day on the job so we’re constantly giving it our all.

We are looking forward to telling you more about what makes Armanino unique this upcoming recruiting season!

Tamera Pumphrey at BDO

What has kept me at BDO is the ability to take control of my career and people’s genuine support of my non-work life. I started as an Auditor and after expressing interest in recruiting was able to smoothly transition to the Campus Recruiter role. We offer business line rotations, secondments, Inclusion groups, flex schedules, etc. But it’s not just an offering, I can introduce you to people who are heavily involved and have actually done these. For the right people, the firm will support you wherever and in whatever direction you want your career to go.

My passion is dance and I teach a fitness class and coach a high school team. I’ve had my colleagues pay money to take my class and they always ask about competitions (and to bring the trophy to the office!). I never imagined a bunch of CPAs would be interested in what I love! And we reciprocate that support. I’ve gone to choir concerts, a kid’s band debut, attempted a Mt. Olympus summit (we were close!), surfing, and more with my BDO-ers.

We always say “it’s the People”! When you’re surrounded by the right support system you are set up for success.

Erica Freund at CBIZ

CBIZ Berntson Porter out-nationals the locals & out-locals the nationals! We are a mid-sized office located in Bellevue, WA with a reputation of excellence in the Pacific Northwest, serving a variety of clients, and utilizing our national resources and training to support early leadership/growth for our Associates. As one of the newest offices that represents CBIZ Inc., we have already created a strong and unique reputation in the Pacific Northwest. We have been ranked nationally as one of the best firms for young accountants as well as for women, and we have also received recognition for our involvement in community. We take pride in offering unique opportunities to get involved in both our internal and external community events including volunteering with non-profits and hosting Diversity and Inclusion related events. Our merge with CBIZ has only amplified these great options. At CBIZ Berntson Porter we put our people first – offering generous benefits and a great work-life balance. We understand you want more than a job, you deserve a career that embraces you interests and provides a supportive community. Consider CBIZ Berntson Porter! Apply to our internships and full time Associate opportunities today.

Carie Graves at Clark Nuber

At Clark Nuber, we believe that being well-rounded professionals helps us communicate better with a diverse range of clients and come up with new solutions to challenging problems. This means you will begin your career gaining experience in a wide variety of industries while learning solutions to a variety of client needs. As your career progresses, you will have the opportunity paint your picture and customize your specialty that aligns with your interests and goals.

Having empathetic leaders who support individual’s professional interests helps to create our culture of collaboration and encourages creative thinking from everyone who works here. Our goal is to create an environment in which learning from each other, from our clients, and from our peers is encouraged and valued.

Supporting professional and personal goals means maintaining work life balance. Flexible work hours, remote work opportunities, and a diverse range of clients helps reduce burnout and is designed to keep you from missing out on the important things in life. We are proud of this support leading to 56% of our firm leadership being female which is unique to firms in our industry.

Siobhan Loyd at Deloitte

At Deloitte, our culture, people, and emphasis on well-being are what make the firm such an incredible place to work. We strive to be an organization where our people can thrive. The firm understands that well-being extends beyond physical health – to be our best selves, we need to focus on all aspects of our well-being, including, physical, mental, financial, and social. That’s why Deloitte encourages its professionals to design and integrate work and life to meet their unique needs no matter where they are in life’s journey and so that they can thrive in their professional careers.

Kaila Bonnie and Kyle Sewell at Frank Rimmerman

While Frank, Rimerman has many unique qualities, two less obvious ones are career flexibility and organic growth. In regard to career flexibility, we remain one the few firms that offer rotational opportunities in Tax, Audit, and Advisory at both the internship and full-time levels. The Rotational Programs not only help build a strong foundation in accounting knowledge, but also give employees the control to craft their career path within the Firm. Our Managing Partner jokes about his many different careers throughout his 29 years at Frank, Rimerman due to the ability to voice his interests and act on the support to pursue them.

The second quality to highlight about our Firm is our commitment to organic growth—from our interns to our Partners, you’ll see our focus on internal training and development. In fact, 30 out of our 39 Partners are homegrown, meaning they grew into the Partnership at the Firm. With organic growth, we can focus on nurturing individual career paths and lasting relationships. This builds a community of caring, collaborative, and passionate team members that allows us to maintain our culture and stay true to our Core Values. Looking forward to sharing more with you soon!

Solveig Haugen at KPMG

KPMG is a great place to work for a variety of reasons! However, what stands out is KPMG’s culture of excellence and foundation of teamwork. KPMG is always striving for excellence. KPMG wants to be the best for their clients, coworkers and community. KPMG prioritizes training to help employees achieve excellence and is constantly seeking improvements and innovation. The goal of excellence promotes a culture where employees from all levels, Interns to Partners, are pushing themselves to perform at the top of their ability. This is a great environment for professional growth. Additionally, KPMG has a foundation of teamwork, which creates a culture of collaboration and mentorship. KPMG wants everyone to succeed, and therefore mentors and teams are there to help individuals reach their goals. The combination of KPMG’s culture of excellence and teamwork make KPMG a place a great place to work.

Sadie Robinson at PwC

One of the qualities that makes PwC a great place to work are our values: act with integrity, make a difference, care, work together and reimagine the possible. These values are significant in how we collaborate and teams, how we approach our client relationships, and how we live out our purpose every day – to build trust in society and solve important problems.

Another quality is PwC’s investment in our well-being. Our Be Well, Work Well initiative.  helps PwC employees’ feel empowered to put their well-being first, providing helpful tips and resources in the PwC Habit Bank. The dimensions of our well-being we focus on improving are physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, financial and social — which are proven drivers of performance, fulfillment and engagement.

Lastly, PwC is building and maintaining a culture of belonging through diversity and inclusion. The US firm is made up of 55,000 people of different races, ethnicities, genders, backgrounds, religions and beliefs. Operating as one firm, we have made an effort to be a voice of change. To be bold, intentional, and unwavering in our commitment to transparency and accountability, we released our first D&I transparency report to show that in order to lead, we must acknowledge that we have to continue to do better ourselves.

Michelle Peters at Sweeney Conrad

Strong Relationships
We have People First culture. Walking into the office in the morning and knowing the folks you pass by in the hall on a deeper level makes this such an incredible place to work. There is no barrier between interns and those that have been with the firm for a long time and you get many opportunities to meet people at our various team building events during work hours.

Direct Shareholder Interactions
Our Shareholder group is committed to investing in the growth and success of all employees at every level. In our office, we have an open door policy and an abundance of opportunities to work directly with the Shareholders. This is one of the keys to our professional long term success in developing the next generation of CPAs.

Diversity in Clients and Growth Opportunities
We have a very diverse client roster, ranging from investors, tech start-ups, multinational corporations, non-profits, breweries, high net worth individuals and real estate partnerships (to name a few). You get exposure to an array of clients early on. Professionals are also given the opportunity and flexibility to learn, grow and steer their career path.


Learn more about and the Master of Professional Accounting and the Master of Science in Taxation.

Foster School Accounting students, graduate and undergraduate, have the outstanding Foster Career Services to help you prepare for the recruiting process. Visit them right away.


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