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Vault’s Verdict

HCVT is ideally looking for smart, responsible, organized, career-driven, hardworking, detail-oriented team players who can work under stress and are eager to learn and challenge themselves. The firm’s internship program allows students to work on actual tax returns and client projects to get a clear sense of what full-time positions are like. In addition, interns have access to many bonding and networking activities with other interns and staff members. For its full-time staff, HCVT offers extensive career development opportunities, including a week-long initial training, and resources to help staff study for the CPA exam, a strong mentorship program, and a culture in which senior-level staff are genuinely interested in the junior staff’s success and development.

The quality of life at the firm is very high. Although hours can be long during the busy tax seasons, HCVT promotes a healthy work/life balance, offering a lot of schedule flexibility. Since Covid, many employees work a hybrid or fully remote schedule, which continues today and is very much appreciated by insiders. In addition, there are two “recharge” weeks during the year when the firm shuts down. While PTO is easy to get approved, insiders say it can be difficult to fully unplug on vacation due to your workload.

Salaries get extremely high marks, in large part due to the unique policy of giving overtime pay to staff. This makes HCVT’s salary very competitive and difficult to match. There is also a generous vacation policy. On the other hand, staff say the lack of a 401(k) match is a negative and the cost of healthcare benefits for families could be better. HCVT does offer profit sharing, and wellness offerings are plentiful. They include yoga, meditation, and counseling. Throughout the year, the firm also offers tips and classes on mental and physical wellness.

From a diversity aspect, HCVT has a diverse staff and is focused on DEI. There are many women at the partner and principal levels, the firm has an active DEI committee, and insiders say they’ve seen a lot of support for LGBTQIA+ individuals. With respect to overall business outlook, the firm has been growing at a good pace, it has a steady stream of new clients, it has been expanding by recruiting both experienced professionals and recent graduates, and its leadership team is strong.

Hiring Process

“I had a couple of phone interviews before my in-person interview due to being out of state. However, after doing my in-person interview it was clear the firm wanted to make me a competitive offer, and did so quickly after. It was an easy choice for me, as I liked the people I worked with, the work the firm does and talked about, and the aggressiveness the firm showed with the offer timing and pay. I would say the ideal candidate is eager to take on new projects and learn about a very niche practice we do, motivated to learn something they've likely never seen, and willing to accept a new challenge, no matter how foreign it may seem.”

“The interview process was a bit long but straightforward and efficient. I had three interviews (technically two, as the third was a Q&A with some experienced staff). In short, I believe the firm is looking for a team player that has the determination to learn and improve. It is extremely important to communicate with your team so deadlines can be met in a timely manner.”

“My recruiter was extremely communicative with me throughout the process which was great, and I had many opportunities to attend virtual events to learn more about the firm and for them to get to know me as a candidate. The overall interview process was very pleasant, and everyone I interviewed with made me feel sure that this firm was a great fit for me. I believe the ideal candidate is someone with a strong educational background and positive attitude with a willingness to learn.”

“Interview process includes initial resume to recruiting, then recruiting will do phone screens and if you pass that then there are interviews, then discussions, then offers within a week. Ideal candidate is smart, responsible, organized, career-driven, well-liked by everyone, hardworking, detail-oriented, able to work under stress, a quick learner, planning to or has passed the CPA exam, and strives to do better and learn each year.”

Interview Questions

“Give me an example of a situation where you had a difference of opinion with a colleague. Do you prefer to work alone or in a team situation? What past experiences at other employers or schooling have prepared you for this position?”

“I remember my first interview being more about my story and who I was rather than the traditional interview questions of biggest strengths, weaknesses, etc. All my interviews felt more like a pleasant conversation than an intense interview. I was asked why I was pursuing this field, what drew me to the firm, and other questions of that nature.”

“Typically, there are some behavioral questions.”

“What do you already know about tax? Can you give me an example? Why did you choose tax? What do you like about this field? Where do you see yourself in a few years? Also, on the tax side, I like to make sure that candidates understand that we have two busy seasons per year (spring and fall) and that overtime is expected for both (fall being worse than spring). People coming right out of college or from a smaller firm might not expect to be working overtime approximately five months of the year.”

Internship Experience

“I worked with a fantastic team who, despite being in busy season, gave me ample training and professional development, allowing me to successfully work alongside staff in the completion of their audits. I was placed into a rather niche practice within the firm for the duration of the internship; I might have enjoyed having a chance to work on a larger variety of projects.”

“I was given actual tax returns to work on, which gave me the opportunity to really understand what the full-time job position would be like. There were also many bonding activities and lunches with the various groups in the tax department that allowed me to meet many people and see what their day-to-day interactions were like.”

“I learned the software and specific daily tasks required by a full-time tax staff. It laid the foundation for me to become a full-time employee with a very easy transition. I got to meet and connect with all my coworkers and get to know them on a personal level before starting full time. I fully got to experience what the job entailed. Occasionally, I felt overwhelmed and, because it was mostly virtual, not always feeling like I had support throughout the day. It can be hard to reach out for help when working from home, especially during busier times of the year.”

“Supportive office, fun weekly activities with the other interns, the opportunity to take ownership over my work and have my own tax clients.”

Career Development

“The firm offers five to seven days of new hire training that ensures you know what resources you have, how to find them, where to ask questions, and ultimately preparing you for success. Also, HCVT offers employees the opportunity to study for the CPA exam in the slow season and tuition reimbursement to professionals that want to pursue a master of business taxation degree, which is great for our career. As far as work experience, there is a variety of work that can be done. After busy season, we have an informal meeting in which we are encouraged to request more work in a field of our interest.”

“HCVT cares about showing employees that their hard work does not go unnoticed. Within their tax and audit departments, they offer ample amount of opportunities to get promoted and lots of training to learn new information.”

“They provide good opportunities for advancement to the next level. Partners care about the wellbeing of the team. However, pathway to partner could be more clearly defined.”

“I feel like my superiors are genuinely interested in my success and development. My assigned mentor challenges and sets me up to succeed. I am constantly learning new things. The promotion track seems somewhat fixed. I can only be promoted at certain times of the year, and it seems the promotions happen at the same time for most employees despite varying skill levels and commitment to the firm.”

Quality of Life

“Thus far, quality of life at the firm has been fantastic. As with every job, there is a busy season and what feels like an almost never-ending list of things that need to be done. However, at HCVT, there is opportunity to shut it off and devote time to your home life as well. This comes both in the abundant amount of allotted (and needed) time off, as well as flexibility to work from home.”

“The firm allowed me to work remotely even before Covid so that I could/can still be available for my family and maximize my efficiency. Paid time off is not hard to use (no obstacles in getting it approved), but it is sometimes difficult to unplug completely due to workload. However, the firm implemented two recharge weeks during 2022 where the firm was closed and gave everyone a much-needed break. I am treated as professional in that as long as I am getting my work done, I am not being micromanaged.”

“The firm, and especially the engagement teams I am on, are very supportive if and when I take time off. I also feel comfortable and safe if I ever need to log off early or take time off for an emergency. Overall the work/life balance is amazing.”

“Great quality of life. We had a lot of flexibility before Covid and have even more now. We do not require employees to come to the office, and many times during the year we don't expect our professionals to work ‘normal’ work hours if they have something they need to do that isn't work related. In addition to 20 paid PTO days for the staff and seniors, we have 12 paid holidays, as well as six or seven paid recharge days over the 4th of July and Thanksgiving.”

Salary and Benefits

“The best perk is overtime pay. My salary was about 25 percent higher than my base salary which comes out to be a good chunk of change. This makes my firm's overall salary very competitive/difficult to match. Between PTO, recharge days, and paid holidays, the 30+ days off for staff and flexible time off are great. The two things I wish the firm provided are a 401(k) match and 100 percent medical coverage for family, but at least they provide 401(k) profit sharing and 100 percent medical coverage for myself.”

“We have lunch three days a week in the office during non-busy season and every day during busy season, not to mention snacks and drinks. And we offer lunch and dinner allowances for employees that do not want a sponsored lunch. We offer free parking at our building for employees that come in regularly. We have casual dress policy every day. We have 20 days of PTO for our staff/seniors and unlimited PTO for our managers. Other than during busy season, employees can generally work when convenient for them, within reason. We pay our people well and get paid overtime too.”

“The firm compensates well monetarily. An added bonus for non-management employees would be overtime pay. The firm has always been casual dress code, going back over 10 years now. The firm also is generous and flexible with vacation time. Prior to Covid, HCVT was already flexible. The healthcare benefits could improve. They are great if you are single or don’t have anyone on your plan. If you are the head of household, single income, with a family, insurance is expensive.”

“We are competitive with compensation, and there are various perks provided such as unlimited PTO for managers and up. I appreciate the remote/hybrid work arrangements offered. Health care costs tend to be higher compared to other firms, however.”

Wellness Efforts

“We have yoga provided in the building. We have professionals available in confidence if mental issues are impacting our employees. Throughout the year, the firm offers tips and classes on mental and physical wellness.”

“The firm offers meditation and yoga in a virtual environment during busy season to allow people to take a break and concentrate on their mental and physical wellness.”

“We are routinely reminded of wellness efforts of the firm to support all its employees. I can tell there are many programs that have been put in place to encourage all of us to increase our wellness. We've had offers to speak with a nutritionist or counselor. We have access to speak with a professional for legal advice. And we are encouraged to take time off after each busy season.”

“I went through a really tough time this past fall and I let management know what was going on. Throughout the busy tax season, they all checked up on me to make sure I was okay and not feeling overwhelmed by both work and life circumstances. They showed me that they really cared about me. I felt absolutely supported, which relieved the stress I had about performing flawlessly as first-year staff.”

Diversity, Philanthropy, and Green Initiatives

“From a diversity aspect, our firm is very diverse. There are many women at the partner and principal levels as well as minority groups defined by race. I have also seen a lot of acceptance of LGBTQIA+ at the firm. The firm really is very inclusive of all different types of people.”

“The firm seems to have more of a focus on diversity and philanthropy than on green initiatives. We went green many years ago by transitioning 100 percent to a paperless system. Other than that, I don't recall any recent green initiatives. I do appreciate the firm's focus on DEI—the committee and events they put on, the Teams channel, and emails providing DEI information and focus on different groups. The firm has also started making time for informal meetings to facilitate/encourage peer-to-peer discussions, which I think are so important for open communication and understanding and cultivating a culture of respect and awareness.”

“The firm has a women's initiative and a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee that actively work toward goals throughout the year. When I was first drawn to the firm, I noticed there was a women's initiative and that really stood out to me because I wanted to work at a firm where women would support each other and where it was a part of the firm's culture. I see events taking place specifically regarding women in the workplace. I see that the firm doesn't just do things for show, they really believe in these efforts and put resources towards specific goals to continuously improve our culture and experience.”

“I appreciate the firm providing a day of service, which allows employees volunteer in different programs. The firm has a DEI committee that aims at informing the firm about different ethnicities and the LGBTQIA+ community. The firm can do a better job of diversifying. There are not that many people of color in the firm.”

Business Outlook

“I think the firm is doing well overall. Our clients are growing, and we are getting new clients and referrals as well. The clients we are shedding are usually the smaller clients that we've outgrown and in their place we are picking up more sophisticated clients that value and respect the work that we do. I have a lot of confidence in the partners that I work with. They inspire me with their leadership and the way they handle their clients.”

“The firm is growing at a pretty solid pace. Lots of opportunity to grow with the firm, so business outlook seems good. Steady stream of new clients most of the time. Leadership holds monthly firmwide meetings to discuss updates, etc., which is nice. We have monthly firm update Zoom meetings where we hear from the Managing Partner and others in leadership. A Q&A time is always included, and any questions are answered immediately or followed up on quickly. They are very interesting and informative (and sometimes very entertaining) meetings.”

“The firm has experienced strong growth for several years, and teams have been expanding by recruiting more experienced professionals, as well as professionals right out of school. My service line is transaction-driven and has not shown any signs of slowing anytime soon, despite the negative economic outlook for the country.”

“I think our firm is set up for success. I believe in our leadership and know we have something special to offer that other firms do not.”

HCVT

11444 W. Olympic Blvd
11th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone: 310-566-1900

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
Managing Partner: Philip J. Holthouse
2023 Employees (All Locations): 785

Major Office Locations

National
Armenia