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Serving in
Public Office
ith specialized training in taxation, compliance,
economics, budgeting, and financial forecasting,
today's CPAs have a unique ability to understand
the complexities of how fiscal policy and regulation affect
Connecticut citizens and businesses.
CPAs can use these skills to help advise their elected lead-
ers on new proposals -- or, better yet, CPAs can become
the elected leaders themselves.
"CPAs in particular are very well-suited for serving in public
office, especially the state legislature," said CTCPA Execu-
tive Director Bonnie Stewart. "Today's CPAs receive not
only financial training, but training in strategic planning,
critical thinking, long-range planning a lot of things that
are imperative if you're going to be a good leader."
"Right now in the accounting world, there's a real emphasis
for members of the profession to be broad-based in their
thinking so they can be part of the C-suite and add value,"
she continued. "That means they're able to look at the big-
ger picture and also draw on financial knowledge to dive
down into the details. We would love to see more CPAs run
for office."
Many Connecticut CPAs serve the public as members of
their local boards of finance, town treasurers, campaign
treasurers, and more. CPA Nancy Rossi was just elected
the first female mayor of West Haven [see page 17.]
There is currently only one CPA in the Connecticut State
Legislature Representative Jason Perillo (R-113) of Shel-
ton. With a family history in politics (his grandfather was the
mayor of Shelton in the 1960s and, later, Worker's Compen-
sation Commissioner), Jason was drawn to public service
early in his career.
Bonnie and I recently sat down with Jason at the Capitol to
talk about his experiences as a CPA running for office and
serving as an elected official.
You're the only CPA in the Connecticut state legislature.
What was your career path?
I did my undergrad education in business, and I learned that
the best way to really get an understanding of business was
to get a degree in accounting. I interned with EY and then
stayed with EY after graduation. I spent four years there out
of the Hartford office. After that, I went back to school to
get my MBA at Boston College. As I was doing that, I was
getting more and more involved in local politics. My family
has always been engaged, and I was really enjoying it. In
my second year in my MBA program, I began to apply to
Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs. I moved
over to Harvard to get my MPA.
At that point I began to see a real confluence between
my interest in business and my interest in local politics.
I realized that there are a lot of political and government
experts who don't have an understanding of or insight into
how business works.
Meet Representative
Jason Perillo, CPA.
By Kirsten Piechota, Managing Editor