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Overview

Introduction

Tampa-based Schellman is the largest CPA firm specializing in attestation and certification services. New hires get extensive informal mentoring and “boot camp” training for certifications. Schellman places an emphasis on volunteering and giving back, and has active affinity groups that promote diversity for women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people of color.

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President

Firsthand Findings

Schellman is looking for experienced candidates who are personable, driven, motivated, hardworking, and smart, with strong time management skills. For its new hires, Schellman offers a lot of effective informal mentoring and in-house “boot camp” training for major certifications. In general, the firm is very willing to invest in the development of its people.

Schellman has a family-friendly culture and promotes a healthy work/balance. Some insiders note that it can be difficult to fully unplug while on vacation. As for compensation, it is very generous. Salaries, bonuses, and benefits are very competitive, and the firm’s 10 percent 401(k) match is among the best in the industry. In addition, the firm offers several wellness benefits, including gym reimbursements...

About the Company

Based in Tampa, Fla., Schellman & Company, LLC is now the 65th largest CPA firm in the U.S., as measured by annual revenues. It booked $77 million in revenues in its latest fiscal year. Also, Schellman is the largest specialized CPA firm that only focuses on attestation and certification services.

Schellman provides a wide range of attestation and compliance services, including SOC examinations, ISO certifications, payment card assessments, federal assessments, cloud security assessments, healthcare assessments, CSA Star assessments, privacy assessments, cloud security assessments, and cybersecurity assessments.

Schellman is led by Chris Schellman, its CEO and founder, and Avani Desai, its president. Schellman operates out of eight offices and employs more than 270 people.

Employee Reviews


  • “The firm is very family-friendly and family-oriented. People work very hard here but take the time to be with their families on weekends and holidays. It is nearly nonexistent that I hear from coworkers over the weekend, which is great.”
  • “At times, it is possible to achieve work/life balance with the appropriate planning and motivation. At other times, too many projects end at the same time, which prevents any type of work/life balance. Travel is non-existent currently, but it's usually less than I've experienced at other firms. Our clients are some of the best people I've met, so I really enjoy the clients we retain.”
  • “The most difficult thing is using all of the PTO we have. As a manager, I find it difficult to fully unplug when I have five to 10 ongoing projects, so most PTO isn't fully unplugged. However, that’s a very minor negative.”
  • “They heavily promote quality of life. It’s one of the things I enjoy most about the firm.”
  • “In addition to standard benefits, Schellman offers Lasik for employees after five years of service, additional vacation/PTO time after the five-year work anniversary, offices are closed for two weeks at the end of each year for employees to recharge, annual corporate gatherings (non-COVID times), 10-year recognition with a Rolex, annual holiday gifts that can be selected by employees from a set of gifting options, and more.”
  • “Very, very generous bonuses. No other firm I have been a part of shares profit like this one to its employees. Mostly working at home, 10 percent 401(k) match, and firm shutdowns are just among the many perks. The only thing I'd like to see is less cost for family health insurance, but this appears to be better than most firms our size, so I can't really complain about that.”
  • “Benefits are very generous, and the firm works hard to figure out how to make them better.”
  • “Schellman has a 10 percent 401(k) match, which is the best program in the industry.”
  • “They've recently published very specific requirements necessary for advancement, which is great. Also, should anyone express a desire, there is an effort made by the management team to accommodate those wishes.”
  • “Lots of informal, effective mentoring. Leadership is very willing to invest in people. In some cases, it's difficult to advance, given the ratio of the pool of candidates vs. available spots for advancement.”
  • “We traditionally hire experienced personnel. If the employee does not come with a decent level of IT audit knowledge (sometimes specifically in a given framework), it would be very hard to adapt at Schellman. However, the informal training and mentoring program I've experienced has worked for me.”
  • “The firm offers in-house ‘boot camp’ training courses for major certifications such as CISA and CISSP. But formal trainings could be more extensive. As of now, there is a technical task force that publishes on-demand training content, but there is not currently a formal regional training for my area.”
  • “Lots of emphasis on volunteering, charitable giving, support for LGBTQ+, and veterans. Less formally stated but still very visible is support for women and POC in leadership roles.”
  • “For the industry we are in (IT audit; one that could be more diverse) I feel like Schellman is better than many of our competitors. We have the SchellmanCares groups. We also have SchellmanWIN, which is the support group for our female professionals (and male allies). We also celebrate Pride Month and have a group for LGBTQ+ employees and allies. The groups are creative and organize small scale social events to educate the broader group.”
  • “Schellman has a strong diversity within the workforce. In addition, there are multiple internal groups to represent and promote further diversity around specific groups. I'm very pleased with Schellman's ability to promote diversity.”
  • “The firm has many affinity groups, which is great, but I don't feel like they do too much. We're still relatively small, so it's difficult to have a sustainable population of members for some of these groups.”
  • “Our breadth of experience and expertise in compliance is unmatched. This builds strong and long-term relationships with our clients. Some of our audits are under attack by technology companies looking to ‘automate SOC reports’ and partner with smaller firms. This has the risk of commoditizing the work we do versus allowing clients to realize the value.”
  • “Schellman has remained strong and increased business during a tough time for many other businesses and peers. I feel confident in our leadership's ability to navigate any obstacle. In addition, we focus more on client retention than selling new clients. This allows us to focus on taking care of our current customers, rather than chasing every potential sale. This is a much better fiscal policy for the future than other firms have.”
  • “We're growing steadily every year and seem to have more work than we can handle. That can be negative, as we are sometimes selling more work than we have the bandwidth to handle fully, and that can definitely overwork some of our service lines. That said, the generous compensation packages help to offset the additional stress/work.”
  • “Leadership has done an amazing job staying focused and driven during these tough times. I have ultimate confidence that we are heading in the right direction with those currently leading the charge.”

Wellness Efforts

  • “Schellman has various support groups referred to as SchellmanCares. This includes various diversity groups, and also includes SchellmanWell. This group provides educational and group activities around fitness and nutrition, mental wellness, and financial health.”
  • “The firm puts on a program for individuals to share their hobbies and talents with one another in a fun environment while still remaining virtual.”
  • “Gym reimbursement, mental health app, mental health days.”
  • “The firm has a dedicated wellness effort that regularly gauges employees and provides resources as needed.”

Response to Anti-Racist Protests and BLM Movement

  • “Schellman President Avani Desai issued public statements around our support for BLM, including our employees of color. We have a working group for this as well under SchellmanCares.”
  • “The president strongly supported the BLM movement and provided MLK day off to the entire firm, showing support of BLM. She also set up an affinity group and had an entire marketing campaign on Juneteenth. She took a strong stance to denounce racism and told the firm it will never be tolerated and it is now learning and working on how to increase diversity.”
  • “We pushed forward with formalizing our ERG that focuses on racial inclusion. We made a public statement about inequality and commitment to supporting causes that facilitate/educate on this topic. We spotlight racial causes throughout the year and promote giving towards charitable causes that support these causes.”
  • “Added MLK day as a permanent holiday starting in 2021. Was not a holiday previously.”

Response to Covid-19

  • “They very early shut down travel and our corporate office, and enforced a no client visit policy. We know that we'll have at least two months of warning before we start traveling again, which is more than enough time to plan ahead.”
  • “The firm has been very transparent and proactive in regards to the global pandemic. Schellman switched to 100 percent remote services in early March. They did not layoff any personnel. They did not hold bonuses or raises. For all intents and purposes, management was able to navigate the challenges of Covid much better than our competitors that did quite the opposite.”
  • “They provided us with a work-from-home allowance that made working from home more comfortable and manageable.”
  • “The firm was ahead of most companies in restricting travel, closing the office, etc.”

Why Work Here


Getting Hired Here


  • “The interview process was extremely laid-back. My interviews consisted of one 30-minute phone call and a casual breakfast with my manager and principal. I received a callback the day after my initial phone call and a day after the breakfast interview. I believe my firm is seeking candidates who possess effective time management skills, are personable, have a solid work ethic, and can navigate tough situations which require thinking on-the-fly.”
  • “We’re looking for driven, motivated, and smart candidates. I enjoyed the hiring process. The interviews were conversational, and the process was transparent.”
  • “Schellman only hires experienced auditors. We have found that within the SOC practice, more than two years of external audit/accounting experience is a great fit for our team. For other practice areas, the experience requirements and backgrounds may differ.”
  • “The firm’s hiring process is very objective, fair, and transparent.”
  • “Schellman conducts a series of interviews to evaluate a candidate’s interpersonal skills, communication skills, technical and audit skills. There is a capture-the-flag exercise for our security team, and are audit scenarios and questions for our attestation/certification practice areas, etc.”
  • “What ITGC areas have you audited? What is your strongest skill? Why would you make a good fit at Schellman?”
  • “We give them audit scenarios and have them talk us through their approach to them. It’s good to understand how they think on their feet, respond to unpredictable situations, etc.”
  • “Compliance-related questions to test expertise. Technical-related questions to quiz their ability to understand and audit IT environments. Scenario exercises for dealing with difficult clients.”