Tilotta (’96) & Grace (’85) Connect UH Bauer to Prominent Accounting Firm
After receiving his bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Houston Bauer College of Business in 1996, Billy Tilotta used his education to begin a career as a public accountant. After more than two decades, Tilotta was recently promoted to the position of audit partner at the Houston office of HEIN & ASSOCIATES, LLP, one of the country’s leading accounting firms.
“It’s a great accomplishment, a great accounting firm,” Tilotta said. “Bauer College has great professors and a great accounting program that treated the classes more like you were out in the corporate world. A lot of the students from UH Bauer come from a work mindset.”
He credits the college and his involvement in the student chapter of Beta Alpha Psi for helping him get his first job out of college as an audit manager with Arthur Andersen, LLP. The amount of face time with corporate partners helped give him the edge needed to compete in the job market, Tilotta added.
He began his career with HEIN & ASSOCIATES in 2002 and provides audit and consulting services for both public and private companies. He also specializes in SEC services. “Public accounting is the only job I’ve ever known,” he said. “I started with 40 other people in a start group, and I think I’m the only one still in public accounting.”
Tilotta added that as an auditor, he considers himself similar to a restaurant server, in that both positions aim to provide high levels of customer service. HEIN & ASSOCIATES shares that philosophy, he said, and values personal relationships.
“You have a small firm feel with the people here. We have a family type of atmosphere,” Tilotta said. “But the work is as challenging and complex as the big firm.”
In addition to employing many UH Bauer alumni, the firm has a strong relationship with the college’s Department of Accountancy & Taxation through the Partnership in Growth Plan. This program prepares graduating students with the skill sets, experience and knowledge to succeed in their accounting careers.
HEIN & ASSOCIATES partner Kenny Grace (’85) is one of the organizers of the Partnership in Growth Plan. He recently showed his level of commitment to the effort by organizing a firm-wide recruitment drive, in which he challenged his fellow UH Bauer alumni to make a contribution either financially or through volunteering to mentor students.
“The firm has become the consumer of the Bauer ‘product’ — the students,” Grace said. “Over time, we have built the ranks of Cougars in our Houston office to be more substantial than any other learning institution.”
Director of Professional Accounting Programs and Clinical Professor Michael Newman said this initiative will continue what has become a tradition of UH Bauer accounting students providing immediate value in the job market after graduating.
“The C. T. Bauer College Department of Accounting & Taxation Advisory Board is providing students with the opportunity to get the best training possible and for paid internships that lead to great employment opportunities through its Partnership in Growth Plan,” Newman said.
By Hannah Eastham