Glenn Carrington’s name is synonymous with mentoring, selflessness, and generosity. No, he is not a saint (at least not that we know of) or church minister, but for many aspiring African-American US tax professionals he is close to it.
Glenn’s official title at Ernst & Young LLP is National Tax Director for Client Services. In this capacity, he also serves on the U.S. Executive Board of Ernst & Young and acts as a consultant to many major companies, focusing on M&A, financial products and tax accounting.
After a combined 31 years in government and private practice, Glenn has earned his stripes at E&Y by ensuring that he delivers excellent client service and strategic planning advice at the front end of each deal or transaction he works on. He has earned the respect of his peers and clients, and with that the title of lead engagement partner for several fortune 200 companies with all major decisions flowing through him.
In addition to his day-to-day commitments at the office, Glenn also takes his knowledge and know-how to the streets making presentations at various government offices and conferences. He also regularly lectures at Tax Executive Institute Conferences across the country, the Practising Law Institute’s (PLI) Tax Strategies For Corporate Acquisitions, Dispositions, Spin-offs, Joint Ventures, Financings and Reorganizations, NYU’s Tax Institute on Federal Taxation and at the University of Virginia.
What advice would you give to a law student or junior lawyer who wants to pursue a career in tax practice?
The best building block for a career in tax practice is working in a government office such as the IRS or the Treasury Department. The IRS administers the tax system. Working with the IRS allows you to understand how various government offices work together to ensure the efficient administration of the Internal Revenue Code. This experience is invaluable when you enter into private practice.
I would also suggest getting as broad of an experience as possible. On average it takes about five years to learn tax rules governing reorganizations and three years to learn and master tax rules governing other areas. As a young lawyer your focus should be on familiarizing yourself with the Code, regulations and rulings. The corporate tax rules are very complicated and can easily trip you up if you aren’t familiar with what issues to look out for. You should have a burning desire to get the right answer.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
I enjoy mentoring and helping others. In my role as a mentor, I always ask myself how I can help someone work better or think more deeply about an issue? My goal is the help people to be better at what they do. This includes individual tax professionals as well my clients.
What recent event has had the most impact on your practice?
The recession in 2008. It changed the way companies do business. Many companies had to make cutbacks. My job as a consultant/advisor was to be creative in finding ways to enable these companies to continue and grow their business in spite of the bleak economic environment. Things are improving, slowly, but the spotlight is definitely on being more efficient with the use of time and resources. You have to be able to convince a client, in many cases, that the reward is more significant than the cost.
What book are you reading now?
I actually don’t have much time to read right now because I am in the final stages of updating the 2011 edition of my book entitled “Tax Accounting in Mergers and Acquisitions”.
It typically takes two to three months to complete. A lot of work goes into it. The first edition was published in 2006 and was a significant turning point in my life. I dedicated it to my mother who passed away a year earlier. The 2012 edition should be available very early in the new year.
Describe yourself in three words or less?
Honest. Loyal. Hardworking.
Describe your perfect vacation?
Being with family. Playing a lot of golf. Definitely on the water: boating and swimming.
If you knew you would be stranded on a desert island tomorrow, what one thing would you bring with you?
Someone I love.
If you could have dinner with one person in history who is no longer living, who would it be?
Either Justice Thurgood Marshall or Martin Luther King Jr. They were impactful and genuinely cared for others and were not solely focused on themself. This is the way I try to live my life. My moto is: It’s not about me.
What is your favorite DC restaurant?
The Bombay Club. They serve Indian cuisine.
Have a merger or acquisition question? Want to ask Glenn about a tax accounting issue?
You can email Glenn at [email protected] or give him a call at (202) 327-6268.
Written by Marsha Henry