Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals around the world. This week’s Spotlight is on Kevin Flynn, Ernst & Young’s vice chair of tax for the Americas, based in San Francisco.
Since Oct. 1, Flynn has overseen a group of more than 20,000 tax professionals who provide services to clients in North, Central, and South America, as well as in Israel. During his 36 years with the firm, he’s held a number of leadership roles, including Americas deputy vice chair of tax, tax managing partner for EY’s US–West region, financial services west market segment leader, and senior adviser tax partner and global tax account leader for several of the firm’s largest clients.
Outside of the office, you might find Flynn watching “Ted Lasso” (when the new season airs), enjoying a steak off the grill, or dreaming about opening and running a grand marina.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? I am the EY Americas vice chair of tax. I oversee tax strategy and client services and lead more than 20,000 people across North, Central, and South America; Israel; and the Caribbean.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? As much as I love a physical book, I am trying my first audiobooks now. I’ll let you know how that goes!
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? I enjoy working in multiple sectors and leveraging the crossover of how each sector organizes, operates and need to be served. Identifying how one business functions and understanding the similarities of other businesses, I utilize the accumulative experience to become a better adviser.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? “Ted Lasso.” He is so genuine and exemplifies a true leader—someone who works hard to reach his goal while positively improving the lives of his team members.
What college did you attend and what did you study? I have a bachelor of science in accounting from Saint Mary’s College of California. Go Gaels!
Go-to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Any time of day, I always enjoy a nice cup of steaming hot green tea.
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? It seems obvious, but the trust needed across client services, especially in the finance sector, is unparalleled. I’ve based my entire career (and personal life) around the pillar of trust. Earning someone’s trust is crucial in all aspects of business. If you’re trusted, you can make an impact—otherwise, it’s an uphill battle.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Growing up, I wanted to a professional basketball or football player. As I got older, I switched gears and dreamt about opening a grand marina and running it.
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? This is more for the industry at large, but I’d say increasing technology adoption across sectors. Having the right solution, especially one that melds seamlessly into a company’s existing platform or process, is instrumental when considering the trove of tax data companies have access to these days.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? I enjoy cooking and grilling about any type of food—steak, chicken, etc. My favorites are Hawaiian ribs and teriyaki chicken.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? One of the main opportunities for our clients of late is the Inflation Reduction Act. We worked closely with businesses to help understand potential tax liabilities associated with the new provisions and also what grants and incentives may be applicable.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? I’d take my family to Europe or Hawaii for vacation. Europe is home to many beautiful countries. And there’s no better place to relax than Hawaii!
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