Sometimes the career you envisioned and the one you end up having could not possibly be more different. That was the case for Oxford resident Kevin Tirella, who anticipated a career in law enforcement, and ended up being a Greenwich-based CPA consultant.
Tirella planned to play football and ultimately become a police officer when he went out of state to attend college. Neither of those pursuits lived up to his expectations, so he returned to Connecticut and ended up at Western Connecticut State University where he enrolled as a business major in the Ancell School of Business. It was his very first accounting class that set him on the path to where he is today.
“I had a gut feeling that being a cop wasn’t for me,” Tirella said. “I decided to try business and entered WCSU as a sophomore transfer student. Basic accounting was required for business majors and I loved my first class, so I kept taking accounting classes. The professors made it fun and they inspired me and drove my success.”
Tirella acknowledged that for some people, accounting has a bad rep as being boring. “I guess I gravitate toward things people stay away from,” he laughed. “I loved every second of it. Professor Monks’ fraud class was amazing — it was my favorite. He shared real-life scenarios and told stories that were intriguing.”
When Tirella was awarded the Senior Accounting Award, Professor of Accounting Dr. Michelle Ganon “was so proud and happy for me,” he recalled. “The professors were excellent. They challenged me and wanted me to push myself and to learn. They actually cared how I developed.”
As a WCSU senior, Tirella took a full-time job as an Accounts Payable Specialist at Tech Air and completed his B.B.A. in Financial Accounting in 2015 by taking night classes. Tech Air promoted him to Staff Accountant, and he continued to work there for four and a half years, returning to WCSU to obtain his MBA in 2019.
As before, WCSU’s accounting faculty demonstrated their interest in Tirella, and encouraged him to pursue his CPA. “They cared how my life was progressing,” he said. “At a bigger school without the relationships I was able to develop with my professors, I probably never would’ve become a CPA. That’s how I got to where I am.”
Tirella applied to — and was hired by — Big 4 accounting firm Deloitte.
“When I was at Deloitte, I realized it’s up to you to make something of yourself,” Tirella said. “I’m a living example that successful people can come from anywhere: you don’t have to be fortunate enough to be able to afford Harvard. I have met so many WCSU students that are extremely smart and have the capability to do whatever they want without the Ivy league degree. It doesn’t matter where you came from — where’s there’s a will there’s a way.”
After two years working with Manhattan and Stamford financial services and technology clients for Deloitte, Tirella decided he wanted a better work-life balance. “Working at Deloitte was a great learning experience, but the hours are tough,” he said. “There, you put yourself at a different level, but ultimately you have to appreciate life and time with your family.”
While some may speculate that life might have been more thrilling in law enforcement, Tirella disagreed. “Accounting can be fun and exciting, despite what people think. I did it backwards from the way most people do it by working in industry first and then doing public accounting, but I’m beyond happy as a CPA consultant at The Siegfried Group, and grateful for the dramatic impact WCSU had on my life by setting the foundation of my success in accounting.”