Accounting: a way to move justice forward
By profession, Leo Gabriel is professor of accounting and taxation at Bethel University but his mission in life and the lessons he teaches extend far beyond the classroom.
Leo was drawn into the field of accounting and taxation due to the inequities in the system—it’s one that does not favor low-income families.
Leo is a volunteer tax reviewer, former Board member, and his students are required to volunteer at Prepare + Prosper. He has extensive knowledge of and passion for taxation—something not many can say. As he puts it, the field has enabled him to bring together all things important to him: love for doing taxes, concern for others, examining knowledge, and creating solutions.
Since 2000, Leo’s students have been volunteering alongside him. While Leo reviews returns for accuracy at the tax clinics, his students volunteer as tax preparers. He requires they all keep a journal of their experiences, sharing stories, distilling lessons, and reflecting on learnings. Many of his students come from upper middle-class backgrounds, so the experience is just as much about practical application of tax law as it is learning about privilege, culture, inclusion, and respect for others and their decisions.
Leo is a man of faith who believes in justice and service. By nature he challenges systems and the status quo.
By Drew Hockman, story collection intern