We’re a small, growing company where employees have multiple roles. We don’t offer the traditional career growth plans or customary promotions after a particular time. Whirks is not a place for those looking to fast-track it to the C-suite.
Having served as Sales and Marketing Team Leader for the past three years, I’m here to share with you what I think are the benefits and obstacles of working at Whirks and Patrick Accounting. Although, I’m clearly biased, I’m will do my best to describe the realities of working here, so you can decide if it’s a good fit for you.
We are a company that rewards good work, cheers you on to success, supports your ideas, and provides plenty of opportunity for growth both in and out of your field. There’s a lot of wiggle room working for a smaller company. Some people love wiggle room, and some people like to be wrapped up like a burrito.
It’s like running as exercise. Some people can’t get enough. They join groups and spend weekends racing through national parks and major metropolitan areas. And some people will only be found running if an ax murderer or Yeti is chasing them. It’s all about preference.
So let me tell you what it’s like working for Patrick Accounting & Whirks and you can decide if you want to lace up or grab a bag of chips and keep scrolling.
Leadership. Leadership. Leadership.
Ultimately, the reason I chose to work here is the people.
When I first met Matt Patrick, the owner/founder of our firm, I thought he was nuts. He talks a million miles a minute, is incredibly smart, and was ten steps ahead of me on every strategy-related thing I mentioned during my first interviews.
Today, I realize he is a visionary with the passion of an entrepreneur and has the guts needed to make hard decisions. He’s humble too, so if he makes a mistake – whether a bad hire or bad service provider – he’s willing to part ways and move on. No ego is involved, which is unique for a leader.
He’s optimistic and upbeat and genuinely wants you to win. It makes working here a lot of fun. He celebrates the important stuff and is spontaneous with praise. He is a good-natured leader to serve, and the business he built is on a solid foundation.
If Matt is our yin, then our Chief Operating Officer Mike Shaeffer is our yang. Where Matt is a visionary and big-picture guy, Mike keeps us grounded and focused on creating consistent, sustainable processes.
When expectations fall short, or something goes wrong, Mike’s quick to ask questions and determine ways to improve our operations. He’s got a teacher’s heart, and he genuinely cares about our employees being their best selves.
Our co-owner, Mandy Patrick, is our firm administrator, and she spearheads our culture by planning birthday lunches for all team members, scheduling an occasional fun night out, and ensuring we have the right tools for each of our roles. (I’m not the accountant in the bunch, but most accountants like their desks set up a certain way! I’m told this is a big perk if you’re on the production side of the house.)
More than just a job description
Working for a smaller company means that an employee might wear a lot of hats out of necessity. Some days I might be the one to start the dishwasher or make the coffee. And yea, that’s not technically my role, but it’s expected that you’ll pitch in sometimes. But my point is if you prefer only doing what’s listed in the job description, you may get frustrated here.
On the flip side, working in a smaller group means your impact is more significant, and you don’t have to cut your way through miles of red tape to get your ideas heard. Team members are encouraged to share ideas and test them out, and it’s gratifying when your idea positively impacts the company.
The great part about sharing multiple roles is that you learn so much and gain skills you wouldn’t have the chance to in a large corporation. Our marketing coordinator spent months writing blog articles for our website until we hired a content manager. She can add published articles to her portfolio and writer to her resume.
One Step Better
Inspired by Rocky Balboa’s triumphant stair-climb in the movie Rocky, we adopted the creed “One Step Better.” One Step Better means that every single day, if you consistently do the right things, you’ll see positive results. If you consistently try to improve, by getting a little faster or a little better every day, those small successes will get you where you want to go. We encourage our clients to get one step better every day, and we support each other in the same endeavor.
Running up the 72 concrete steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum is no easy feat. And it’s not something you can do literally or metaphorically on your own. The Whirks’ leadership team (Much like Coach Mick in Rocky) genuinely wants me to meet every personal and professional goal I’ve set. They understand how important it is that my job be a fulfilling part of my life.
There’s enormous satisfaction when you’re the right person, in the right seat, doing the right job. We care about getting better every day (even when getting better means admitting we didn’t win the day before.)
We’re a Work-in-Progress.
We’re a fast-growing small business just teetering on the edge of being a medium-sized company. This means that we’re still laying the groundwork, which can be aggravating to some.
For example, recently I created a job description for a videographer. Have we ever hired a videographer before? Nope. Do I know what equipment they need to be successful? No clue. Do I have a solid idea about what they’ll need to succeed in their role? Mostly yes, but it’s still uncharted territory! So when we find a talented videographer, they’ll need a healthy dose of ingenuity to make it work.
It does mean though, if you’re a high performer where you are, and frustrated by the continual roadblocks of mid-level managers, you may really love it here. If you’ve never quite fit into a traditional accounting firm, or been frustrated and stressed out about constantly changing sales organizations, we might be a good fit for you.
If you like freedom, don’t mind being held to high expectations, and have a focused personal drive to accomplish tasks even when the boss man isn’t looking, Whirks could be your place to shine.
It’s a sad fact of life, but the bottom line is everything we do is about production. We produce financial statements, renew business licenses, file taxes, make sure employees get paid daily for our clients. We bring on new accounts weekly.
We have realistic workloads, but the nature of our business requires each of us to work productively, be smart with our time, and consistently produce our deliverables. It might sound silly, but this is what sets us apart from more traditional accounting and payroll firms.
And that means if you can’t keep up, you’re going to get let go.
Firing someone is a horrible experience, but the bottom line is we must all carry our weight here. That’s an unpleasant but necessary statement to make, and sometimes, really cool people we’ve liked personally have not been able to be here long-term. We train and coach and have one-on-ones to make sure you have every opportunity to learn, but the buck starts and stops with you.
Ready to suit up or are you swiping left?
If you’re thinking about applying to one of our open positions, I hope this article has shed some light on what it would be like to join our team.
Our leadership is dedicated to integrity and improvement, both for our clients and our team members. Our employees share the workload of running an office, serving our clients, and managing their specific roles. Some people love the variety and learning different facets of the company, and some people prefer to be laser-focused on a singular function.
We challenge and support each other to win every day, even when winning is accepting defeat. But our company goal is for each team member and client to take a step toward their goals every day. Of course, that means that every team member must be progressing up those metaphorical stairs. Sure, sometimes you have to pause to catch your breath, but then you get right back to climbing. Standing still is not an option at Patrick Accounting/Whirks.
We’re not a perfect place, but I’ve worked here for three years, and honestly, my only regret is that I didn’t start looking for this place sooner.
If you’re intrigued either apply for one of our open positions or sign up for job alerts. Want a closer look at the inner workings of our offices? Check out our Instagram. We are always looking to add quality talent to our team, so feel free to connect with us on LinkedIn.