Whitley Penn
3.2 out of 5 stars.
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Whitley Penn Employee Reviews

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3.0Work-Life Balance

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Good place for broad experience; iffy culture and structure.

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The company itself has a lot to offer and has many friendly employees. As part of the tax team, you have a chance to work with a wide range of clients. Guidance on returns I pulled varied a lot, and the team I worked with changed frequently (many of mine weren't even in my office). Hardest parts were the 60 billable hour expectation for busy season and differences in management/workpapers per office. Many times, I'd find myself attending trainings for new software and workpapers that other offices refused to adopt; I expect that the merger will only worsen the situation. Culture can be iffy, and communication/training was lacking at times.
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You could do worse...

The culture of the department and office I was is was pretty friendly and fun, but that isn't enough to overcome the soul crushing workload. During my tenure, there was enough revenue growth to support a few additional partners, but there was nobody in the queue to replace them as managers, and so we were very short on managers. As a result there were limited engagements with a full team. Managers still have to senior as there are no seniors available, senior associates commonly have no assigned manager, and experienced staff often have to senior jobs, a huge cluster all around. This results in substantial and perpetual turnover. To top it off, there were so many clients that you were never unassigned or had time to catch up on old jobs to get them done. No dead weeks or catch up weeks scheduled, just client after client after client until you quit. Of the starting classes I'm familiar with, most incoming personnel quit after an average of about 3.5 years, and only about 1 in 6 or so will stay to make manager. This doesn't seem any better if you transfer offices either. The comp at Whitley Penn is about 10% below market, and the benefits are just okay. Several folks have left just after having kids because the insurance was not adequate. Finally, if you don't have your exams completed in your first year or two, then you'll be so thoroughly assigned to client engagements that you'll never have the time to do them.
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Tax associate

People were great. I was paid very poorly. Lots of overtime, no overtime pay and a $500 bonus. I was flabbergasted to find out there are PA firms that pay time and a half overtime today.

Pros

People

Cons

Pay and hours
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Extreme and blatant favoritism

You have to start as an intern, and immediately start trying to be friends with partners (including personal errands and babysitting for partners). You must be exactly like the partners and have a lot in common, including race and culture. You must be super social and love to go to happy hours. You must be willing to put in a lot of admin time that won't count towards your billable hours even during busy season. Even if you are of a different heritage, you must look, speak, and pretend to be white. Partner's favorites get first choice on everything - projects, raises, promotions, picking or even attending social events etc. Each partner mostly works with only 1-2 people. You don't even get invited to lunch or coffee if you are not in the inner circle. No one can volunteer to be involved in any leadership/administrative position, you are asked/assigned and if you are not in the inner circle you will never even find out about any opportunities until they are already filled and announced. The inner circle people get special treatment no matter how bad their work is or how much they "work" from home. They say that the default is to come to the office but the inner circle gets to work from home, everyone should be able to have that flexibility. If you want to have a future at Whitley Penn, make sure you look and act like the partners at all times, no matter your background and immediately get into the inner circle. I want to work at a place that offers opportunities to all and rewards hard work so I had to leave.

Pros

Billable hour minimums are reasonable.

Cons

Opportunities not open to everyone
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Overworked and Under-appreciated

It depends on which team you were assigned to and your manager. No matter how much workload you have, you won’t receive any help from other teams at all even though they practically have nothing to do. Unfair and bad management overall.
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Great Public Accounting Firm

Like any public accounting firm, you get what you give here. You need to be willing to work and put in the time when necessary (mainly Springtime but also sometimes in the Fall). However, if you're willing to do the work you will be rewarded. Promotions and raises are basically guaranteed here as long as you do your job well. The partners are all super nice and never make you feel that you are "beneath" them. Most managers are also great to work with and are open to help you learn, as long as you are willing to try and take ownership of your work. I feel that i am always learning something new. Benefits are very good with 4 weeks of vacation from the get go, medical, dental,, etc. All in all, I love working here and can see myself spending a long time here.

Pros

Good vacation, raises every year, bonuses every year, clean workspace, good management

Cons

Busy season (obviously). Steep learning curve. Some managers are not as willing to help you learn.
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Not the greatest place to work

I came in thinking it was a great place to work. They talked about good work life balance, a great place to grow, and a place with a great culture. But it was nothing like that. Unless you were in their little circle you were out.
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Diversity is Non Existent - Very Dishonest

They only value those in their 'lil groups. Employees are not treated equally. Retaliation is common. Work is good, but not a good place.Not worth it.
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Official response from Whitley Penn

2 December 2019
Whitley Penn is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer that is committed to inclusion and diversity. In our Houston office alone, we have employees from multiple nationalities and more than six languages that are spoken. We value our employees and understand the importance of fostering a positive work environment. Whitley Penn has been consistently recognized for hiring the best of the best and it is a top priority for the firm.

WP Family

Whitley Penn is a safe and friendly work environment. I appericated the time during my paid internship to get to know my fellow coworkers. I would only recommend public accounting at mid trim Texas based firm to those who plan on becoming a CPA and enjoy the work. WP moto is work hard. However, for those who wish for exist opportunities BDO and the Big Four are a good starting points.
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Corporate focus is on growth of the firm

The firm expects a great deal of exempt overtime. The focus of corporate management is on rapid growth of the firm rather than on personnel or clients.
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Productive, fun, free snacks

Management is pretty great. The important take away is that you need to be your own advocate. Do not come on board and expect them to provide you with personalized training. Inquire into their mentor program. Be clear about the resources you need to succeed.

Pros

Free snacks. Never had to buy my own breakfast.

Cons

Not enough personalized training.
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Hostile enviroment

To many angry people that express their feeling outwardly to other with no discipline action. The tax department and admin team leaders either do not see or want to see the hostile attitudes, nor are they want to provide support for their employees when needed.
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Hate it

Management was NOT good, high turnover due to one partner and management did not care. Very tiered company, if you were not one of the professionals (accountants) you really didn't matter to the company.

Pros

Good salary

Cons

Management
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Okay place to work

Okay place to work and it has very flexible with hours. It's a small firm and very different from larger firms. Regular and affordable benefits and 401k plan.

Pros

Flexible

Cons

Lack of training
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CPA firm

Could have been a good place to work if there was work to do. People do not want to give up there little areas. Company may have tried to expand to quickly and not enough clients.
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Great People & Culture

Great firm to work for with excellent people and a great culture. The firm is growing the right way and provides great opportunity for hard working young professionals.
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It is a fast pace fast growning Corporation.

It is an excellent company for young people fresh out of college and wanting to learn Accounting. There are many opportunities to grow with the company. It is a very large company and I enjoy working in a smaller more "family" oriented company so it isn't my ideal fit. I was formally with Null-Lairson for 12 years and then they merged with Whitley Penn which has an office in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Texas City and Houston.

Pros

Busy growing corporation

Cons

For me it's too big, I prefer a smaller company to work in.
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Great place to start

Good place to start and learn a lot about accounting and manage multiple personalities. The hardest part are the deadlines and not having enough good staff to help you. It has been good for promotion and to grow a career over the years. However, making partners within the firm has not been as truthful as advertised by the Firm.

Pros

Paid for employee only health benefits. Vacation days are good 20+

Cons

6 year vesting for 401k and the bonuses are marginal at best. Family health benefit costs are high
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Good for accountants new to the industry

Seniors and Managers are willing to take the time and teach new-hires and interns. The hours during busy season are comparable to similar sized firms (60 billable hours during busy season).
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productive and fun workplace

It is a nice office with lots of perks. I go in in the morning and everyone greets you. It is a beautiful and clean workspace and everyone is friendly
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Great experience, uncomfortable environment

Basic Training, unfair evaluation process, and I always felt like I was walking on egg shells. The work was interesting and I liked being able to go work out in the field.
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Overall rating

Based on 24 reviews

Ratings by category

3.0 out of 5 stars for Work/Life Balance
3.6 out of 5 stars for Compensation/Benefits
3.1 out of 5 stars for Job Security/Advancement
3.0 out of 5 stars for Management
3.0 out of 5 stars for Culture
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