In 1982, 19-year-old Britta Knott walked into the offices of Weiss & Company LLP for her first day of work, fulfilling the “office job” requirement for the Associate’s Degree she was finishing up at Oakton Community College. She figured she’d work there for 6 months or so “until something better came along.”
Nothing ever did.
Thirty-six years later, Britta is still with Weiss, and as the firm’s Administrative Manager, still enjoying every minute. “I liked it here from the start because it didn’t feel like a job, but rather a family business,” she says. “There was always something keeping me here. It’s like my second family.”
She’s far from alone in feeling that way. “I think of this as my ‘work family,’” says Senior Manager Eve Fugiel, who like Britta, has spent her entire 22-year career at Weiss. “Just like at home, where every member my family is unique and different, but we all somehow get along and care for each other – I feel we have that same thing here at Weiss.”
The company complements that “family atmosphere” with a number of perks and policies that make working there more pleasant and fulfilling. The dress code is relaxed and standing work stations are the norm. Fresh fruit and healthy snacks are the rule in the kitchen, and free meals are brought in as needed throughout the hectic tax season. During the summer, it’s “five-hour Fridays” for everyone and special group outings that have ranged from architectural tours in the city to zip-lining in Lake Geneva. And resources are abundantly available for any staff members interested in pursuing continuing education or community service initiatives.
But all staff members agree, it’s the “intangibles” that really differentiate Weiss from other CPA firms, and make it such a great place to work – and hard to leave.
“We’re all team players here,” notes Chris Bozarth, a partner who heads the firm’s Accounting & Advisory Services department. “Titles are meaningless. What matters most is what you bring to the table, the total team effort, on any given job. Partner, manager, associate – anyone can take the lead. We’re all in this together.”
Staff accountant Pawel Makuch concurs. He interned twice at Weiss – first in IT, then in tax accounting – and was surprised when a project that called for IT expertise found the team calling on him to play a key role while he was still an intern. That helped make his decision to join Weiss after graduation an easy one.
It also helps explain why Weiss is able to attract and retain so many high caliber accounting professionals. Case in point is Jeremy Morgan, Manager in the Assurance Services department, who arrived in 2010 after spending the first five years of his career with a small public accounting practice. “There was so much more opportunity to grow here,” he says, citing access to the firm’s multiple partners, a companywide mentoring and coaching program, and above all, an exceptional client roster.
“The clients are awesome,” he says. “Beyond the working relationships, they’re genuinely interested in you as a person: your life, your family. For example, one day I was out with my kids and we happened to be driving by one client’s office, so I just popped in – with the kids in tow. And they loved it.
“Now keep in mind, I’m an auditor. I mean, nobody wants to see their auditor unless they have to, right? But that’s the kind of relationships we build here.” Just what you’d expect from one of the Chicago area’s “best places to work,” year in and year out.
About Weiss & Company LLP
For 50 years, Weiss & Company LLP has been providing accounting and auditing, tax preparation, and consulting services to clients of all sizes in many different industries. Headquartered in Glenview, Illinois, the firm is a member of the BDO Alliance USA, a nationwide association of independently owned accounting and consulting firms.