Accounting Alumni Profile: Alex Castelli '86

Please describe your current role and responsibilities.

I am an audit partner at CohnReznick LLP, a national accounting, tax and advisory firm. I lead the firm’s Emerging Industries Practice which includes technology, life sciences, renewable energy and health care in addition to serving as the engagement partner on several clients primarily in the technology and life sciences industries.

Why did you originally choose to pursue an accounting degree?

At the time, accounting appeared to be the clearest path to finding a job and not having to go to business or law school. As I learned more about the profession, I enjoyed the problem solving aspect of the profession and the client interaction.  Filling the role of trusted advisor and working closely with entrepreneurs and helping them look for solutions to grow their businesses has been very exciting and rewarding. I have also found that accounting is a profession where you are constantly learning and exposed to new ideas and business practices. The accounting profession like most businesses is undergoing significant changes due to technology and regulation which keeps it interesting and challenging.

How has the accounting material you studied at W&L benefited you in your current position?

Since I am still in public accounting, it goes without saying that my accounting classes laid the foundation for my current position. However, the diversity of courses that I took at W&L, both within the Williams School and in other areas, provided me with a much broader outlook and understanding as I progressed in my career. Learning how to view issues more broadly and communicate with clients are valuable skills that I was first exposed to while at W&L.

What’s one skill that you think has played a significant role in your success thus far?

The ability to deal with different personalities and stay focused on the end goal or objective. Understanding and appreciating people’s strengths and weaknesses and learning how to maximize those strengths so that they are effective, contributing members of the team.

What is your favorite W&L memory?

The time spent with friends. The comradery among the students and the laid-back environment outside the classroom.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I return to W&L annually to recruit students for CohnReznick and I am always amazed at the quality of the students at W&L who are well spoken, interactive, ambitious and excited about the future. I am excited to see how the university continues to evolve and respond to the changing demands of students and employers.