UHY Advisors, Inc. at a Glance


  • "Values hardworking and capable people"
  • "More collegial and less hierarchical" than at bigger firms


  • "Low pay"
  • Diversity is "virtually nonexistent"

The Buzz

  • "Great workplace"
  • "In trouble, on the decline"
  • "Great individuals"
  • "Sweatshop"

About UHY Advisors, Inc.

Only getting better

Formed through the merger of seven regional accounting and other professional service firms, UHY Advisors (formerly Centerprise Advisors) offers accounting, tax and business consulting services to middle market clients, including private companies, governmental entities, not-for-profit organizations and wealthy individuals.  Audit services are provided through the firm's alternative practice structure arrangement with UHY, LLP.  In 2008, UHY Advisors came in at No. 12 on Accounting Today's Top 100 Firms list, moving up a spot from the previous year, with $277.3 million in revenue, up 16 percent from 2007.

UHY Advisors is affiliated with the Urbach Hacker Young (UHY) International network, which includes 185 worldwide offices.  The network was founded in 1986, by accounting firms Hacker Young and Urbach Kahn & Werlin.  The two firms had worked together under a reciprocal agreement: This was the opportunity to include others in a truly international network.  Early members included firms from Holland, Germany and Singapore.  In May 2004, Hacker Young Group adopted a new corporate identity, linking all member firms to one another and to its international network, UHY.  Today, all the members of the Hacker Young Group prefix their names with UHY.

New CEO lives up to expectations

In January 2006, UHY Advisors appointed a new chief executive, Steve Samek.  The former head of U.S. operations at Arthur Andersen took over for acting co-CEOs Tony Frabotta and Rick Stein.  A Chicago native, Samek also is co-author of Cracking the Value Code, a business best seller chronicling successful businesses in the postindustrial global economy.  His testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs has been cited as some of the thought leadership that helped to influence Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

Well-suited match

UHY Advisors, in June 2006, thought it wise to couple with a company of similar mentality.  The firm announced plans to merge with Brown & Brown, LLP, a full-service CPA firm based in Boston.  As part of the deal, Brown & Brown combined its operations with UHY Advisors' existing Boston office, with no compromise in staff or interruption in service to customers of either firm.  According to a company press release announcing the deal, UHY Advisors and Brown & Brown have a similar client-service mentality and quality-oriented culture.  This similarity was more than a determining factor in both companies' decision to merge.  Brown & Brown's expertise in key industries, such as high tech, energy and broker-dealers, also made it an attractive partner for UHY.

"One of the keys to a successful merger is forming a shared culture," said UHY Advisors CEO Samek, in a company statement.  "There's a lot we can learn from the Brown & Brown management and staff, and we should look for opportunities to reach out to them whenever appropriate.  They have a number of best of class processes and practices, which we can adopt."

Stormy times

In May 2007, UHY Advisors premiered Business in the Eye of the Storm, a 30-minute TV program airing on the Discovery Channel in a paid programming block.  The "eye of the storm" is a phrase, based in part on CEO Samek's book, Cracking the Value Code, that refers to a period between the Technology Age and what some believe will be the next economic period-the Knowledge Age.  Each month, the show features a company successfully enduring the shift, and includes comments from outside experts (such as college professors and venture capitalists) as well as UHY Advisors experts on various topics.  Throughout 2008, the series has focused on a number of topics, including an episode in October 2008 focusing on governance, risk and compliance-and how recent regulations have changed the way companies operate.  Along with the TV show, the firm publishes a magazine and website on the same topic.

Accolades from all over

The firm has established itself as a leading employer in not only the Detroit area, but beyond the region as well.  In September 2008, the Michigan Business and Professional Association named UHY one of Metropolitan Detroit's 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, for the fifth consecutive year.  The selection honors companies that recognize their employees as their greatest asset, and work with imagination and conviction to create organizational value and business results through their policies and best practices.  Thousands of nominations are received each year, from which 500 finalists are selected; the list is then narrowed down to 101 winners.

UHY Advisors' care for its employees isn't just managing to impress publications in its immediate vicinity.  In June 2008, the firm was named to the Houston Business Journal's Best Places to Work list for companies whose corporate headquarters lie outside of Houston.  UHY's ranking is based on employee surveys that score team effectiveness, trust in managers, people practices and other factors.  CEO Rick Stein said of the ranking, "We consider this honor to be a very prestigious one for our firm because we know the survey results depend on our staff's ranking of issues that are important to them.  We value their opinions and we are proud to see that they think it's a great place to work."

King of compliance

The firm itself isn't the only one to regularly receive recognition-its people are singled out for awards as well.  In September 2008, Audimation Services named David King as the recipient of the 2008 IDEA of Excellent Award for his work as a certified fraud examiner.  King's client assistance with compliance issues secured him the award, which was presented to him at the first annual North America IDEA User Conference in Atlanta.

Howdy, partner

In January 2008, UHY Advisors was designated as a SAP Services Partner with SAP America, a business software services provider with customers in 120 countries.  In this role, UHY will be working on evaluating software, systems integration and other improvements.  UHY will also work closely with SAP's partner programs, which help to give UHY a bigger global footprint.  Additionally, the firm will partner with SAP to help clients with their governance, risk management and compliance requirements.

Mid-Atlantic marriage

In September 2007, UHY Advisors merged its mid-Atlantic practices with those of The PCA Group, a Columbia, MD, firm.  The PCA Group will maintain its offices in Columbia, and its founders, Jim Peacock, David Condron and Jennine Anderson, will remain with the combined firm.  The merged firm will operate as UHY Advisors Mid-Atlantic MD, Inc., for tax and business consulting work.  Audit and assurance services will be provided by UHY, LLP.

"It all came down to shared values," said Paul Mueller, CEO of UHY Advisors Mid-Atlantic, in a statement announcing the merger.  "The more we talked about our mutual dreams and desires, they all centered on honoring the commitments to our clients, our people and our communities. [PCA's] client base includes high-tech, not-for-profit and other commercial entities, and is an ideal complement to our base of primarily federal government engagements."


If you match, you're in

According to UHY, its ideal candidate is "an energetic team player who leads by example and who effectively communicates at all levels."  Insiders say that although UHY can be selective, "it doesn't hesitate to hire the people it feels are a good match."  For most campus hires, a minimum 3.0 GPA is required.

Campus recruiting targets "regional colleges" near the firm's offices across the country. Experienced candidates hail from "other large and middle market accounting firms."  Current job openings-ranging from seasonal tax help to entry-level staff to upper management-are posted on UHY's website, and candidates are encouraged to apply online.  Sources say that after a preliminary "filter" interview, candidates "usually meet with four professionals of varying levels, depending on the candidate's experience level."  As for UHY internships, an insider says there are "limited paid positions due to contract requirements."


Going from small to midsize

Yes, UHY is "very professional," but sources say it's simultaneously "friendly and relaxed." "This is a firm that values hardworking and capable people," says a recent hire.  "I'd describe the environment as frank and fair, with a very good sense of fun."  It's a "small firm culture in the process of migrating to a midsized firm" environment, another contact explains.  "Young and casual," a partner sums up.

Despite UHY's growth, insiders believe the firm still struggles with a "lack of market identity and brand."  As a result, the firm sometimes has "difficulty achieving desired work" from top clients.  "We expect this to change," a source adds.

No Big Four hours (or pay)

According to one insider, UHY still maintains "the worst part of a small firm-low pay."  Others give average marks to their compensation, and another source says that at least the hours aren't as bad as they could be.  "People are expected to have a life," he explains.  "This is seen as a way of attracting better rounded and more socialized people.  This makes us a better firm and differentiates us from the Big Four."  The firm's official dress code is "business casual always, except for client contact," and some locations offer "casual Fridays."

UHY respondents say they typically average 40 to 50 hours a week, though some wind up working more depending on the assignment.  One CPA notes that when "contracts are fixed-fee, pressure is limited."  And even when the midnight oil needs to be burned, "senior management puts in the hours as well."

Friendly folks

Employee/manager rapport is "more collegial and less hierarchical" than at bigger firms, insiders say.  Employees enjoy "close and personable" relationships with their superiors (and each other), thanks to an open-door policy.  As one contact puts it, "Opinions are respected and encouraged at all levels."

Much of UHY's "very well-rounded" training is "hands-on."  In 2007, the firm also launched UHY University, which the firm describes as "a series of professional and life skills classes designed to help employees flourish in every aspect of their lives."  Through online sessions, UHY U covers topics like personal financial planning, stress management, current business trends, communication skills and more.  All courses are self-serve modules that employees can access at any time.  Besides formal training sessions, the firm sponsors virtual NEXT Course programs, which address industry trends, life skills and practice topics.

Not too diverse

Diversity at UHY is "virtually nonexistent," but one insider adds, "I do not believe they are discriminatory."  The real problem, sources say, is that many minority candidates "are vigorously pursued by Big Four firms that provide twice the pay."  Some respondents give UHY low marks for its treatment of women, as well.  "The firm is run by old, white men," a male source says.  "They have little respect for the challenges women face.  At least they have begun to pretend to care about women's issues, but so far it is just hot air."  Another reports overhearing "snide comments by some managers" about GLBT issues.  "I do not believe there is any discrimination here," he says, "but I would not describe it as welcoming."

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UHY Advisors, Inc.

30 South Wacker Drive
Suite 2850
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 578-9600
Fax: (312) 346-6500


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Co-CEOs: Rick Stein & Anthony Frabotta
  • 2010 Employees: 1,044

Major Office Locations

  • Chicago, IL