The Columns

Entrepreneurial Advice

— by on September 1st, 2011

The Washington Post had a fascinating interview with Washington and Lee alumnus Alex Castelli not long ago. Alex, a member of the Class of 1986, currently heads the 50-person growth-markets practice in the Tysons Corner, Va., office of the Reznick Group, a top 20 national accounting, tax and business advisory firm. He also is a visiting assistant professor of accounting at W&L, teaching an auditing course in the Williams School during Spring Term. And one more thing: he’s the parent of a current W&L junior, who is also named Alex and who is a defensive lineman for the Generals’ football team, just as his father was.

But back to the Washington Post. Thomas Heath, a business columnist, interviewed Alex about the financial and accounting best practices for entrepreneurial and growing companies. Alex was a logical choice to discuss the topic. After spending three years with Price Waterhouse following his W&L graduation, Alex was controller for a family-owned business, Locker Rooms Inc., which sold sportswear with team logos.

So Alex has a special appreciation for entrepreneurs. As he told Heath, “It’s not a 9-to-5 job. And not everybody hits a home run.”

What does Alex recommend for companies that want to achieve financial success? Here are the nine tips he cited in the Post column:

  1. Be proactive on financial matters.
  2. Don’t forget your accounting department.
  3. Stick to your idea.
  4. Innovate.
  5. Be good to your investors.
  6. Borrow money while times are good.
  7. Know when to delegate on the financial side.
  8. Interview accountants and lawyers as if you’re hiring employees.
  9. Know when to sell.