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Celebrating Black History Month: Spotlighting Lonnie Gary, Tax Partner


As Black History Month continues, we want to shine a spotlight on Lonnie Gary, a tax partner who is soon to embark on a well-deserved retirement. His professional journey is a testament to determination and the transformative power of embracing change.

Lonnie was kind enough to share his reflections on a variety of topics — from why he chose accounting to the need for diversity in recruitment to the importance of pursuing your passions:

Entering accounting

I became an Enrolled Agent because I wanted to be able to challenge IRS positions and represent the taxpayers. It’s taught me tax ethics, as well as given me the confidence to solve my clients’ greatest tax problems.

Seeing the big picture

My first job in engineering was in the cost estimating department for an architect engineering firm specializing in power plant construction, and I flirted with becoming a cost engineer, using my accounting knowledge to help develop budgets and monitor construction spending. This taught me to learn how to pay attention to detail — but also how to look at the big picture.

Embracing change

Be able to embrace change and be open to new beginnings. View the initial frustration with beginning again as an opportunity for growth. Sometimes, you’ve got to take a step back in order to go forward. Accounting — especially taxation — is a great field if you like to help people. There’s great joy in saving someone money or developing a strategy to reduce taxes.

Continually learning

In our profession, we have the endless opportunity to learn something new. The laws frequently change, and new laws are enacted, so you have to stay up to date with what you’ve learned.

Diversity in accounting

Colleges must do a better job recruiting accounting majors of all types, seeking diversity in ethnicity, nationality, gender, age…we know accounting doesn’t have the ‘sexy’ perception of other business majors, but it’s equally rewarding.

Pursuing your passion

If I were able to give my younger self some advice, it would be to take the plunge sooner. Never be afraid to pursue your passion.



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