Accountable activism:
Alumnus Maurice Glazer helps clients in numbers

Heller College of Business Alumni Profile

by Susheela Bhat-Harkins

An accountant may not be the first person who comes to mind when you think of a social justice activist, but for Maurice Glazer (BSBA Accounting, ’62), it’s a natural part of the profession. As a financial advisor for more than 40 years, his activism came through service. An expert in a field that influences many industries, Glazer has kept his ear to the ground and pursued a wide range of interesting opportunities over the course of his career. And at 75 years old, this entrepreneur is not done yet.

“When I was 17, my uncle told me to take a bookkeeping class. He said I would need that business knowledge no matter what industry I went into. Once I did, I started my own business and my family referred clients to me for bookkeeping and tax returns,” Glazer said. “I also wound up having a large number of Latino clients, because I could help them [with their tax issues], and my reputation grew through word of mouth and my seminar presentations.”

Glazer has a unique perspective on financial priorities. For most of his early childhood, Glazer’s father served overseas in World War II, but when he returned the Glazer family moved to Chicago. “I started working when I was 10 years old to help the family make ends meet,” Glazer said. “I worked at hot dog stands, running errands — for anyone who would hire me.” Those formative experiences gave Glazer a unique perspective on financial priorities that affects him to this day.

A few years into running his business, Glazer started college to get a degree in accounting, starting off at the University of Illinois and then transferring to Roosevelt.

“I was still working full-time, so it just worked with my schedule better [to attend Roosevelt],” Glazer said. “It was one of the best schools around, and it was also very affordable. I had some excellent professors at the school who went out of their way to help me succeed.”

Never one to ignore an interesting opportunity, Glazer also became tangentially involved with Chicago politics by assisting his brother-in-law, precinct captain of the 50th Ward and chief building inspector of Chicago. Glazer’s brother-in-law, Marvin Davis, was also heavily involved in Richard M. Daley Sr.’s administration and the Democratic National Party. Glazer attended meetings, took notes and kept his eyes open.

“I was in [Grant Park] during the protests. It was an interesting time to say the least — the smoke bombs certainly weren’t fun. I left after the riots started heating up. After that, I quit doing what I was doing for the city and my brother-in-law,” Glazer said. “I couldn’t, and can’t, do something that would sully my reputation, something that felt other than good, and I felt like things were getting out of control.”

Degree in hand, Glazer stepped away from politics and went to work as an accountant and auditor, taking on some high-profile clients on behalf of clients against the IRS. “I used to do about 30 audits a year, but I found the job strenuous and restrictive,” he said, and with the entrepreneurial spirit that carried him from when he was 10, Glazer pulled up stakes, moved to Dallas, Texas and started his own business.

“Everything I do I think about and plan ahead — what do I need to do to help achieve my goals and help my clients achieve theirs?”

– Maurice Glazer
(BSBA Accounting, ’62)

“Everything I do I think about and plan ahead: ‘What do I need to do to help achieve my goals and help my clients achieve theirs?’” Glazer said.

Several successful businesses later, Glazer formed the Glazer Financial Network with his son, David, in 1984. A full-service firm with several divisions, Glazer Financial Network includes a division called the “Expat Tax Expert,” that, like his first business in Chicago, helps expatriates around the world and immigrants in the States figure out their financial situation. What started with 45 clients has grown to approximately 4,000 today.

“I have a tremendous number of foreign clients, and what makes me sad is some of the reasons people come here to work,” Glazer said. “Instead of them having to break into this country to get some terrible job, what we need to do is help them. We have a labor shortage here, especially in accounting, and they have a lack of opportunity there — it seems like a clear exchange. Why not help them get into a great university like Roosevelt?”

Glazer added, “One of my clients from Mexico, I found out his social security number was a fake, and he was afraid he’d get deported. I told him we would sort it out, and went through the process of getting his green card and got everything legal. Today he’s a citizen and successful, and he’s maybe 30 years old.”

Aside from being CEO of his eponymous company, Glazer continues to give presentations and talks around the world, traveling extensively for speaking events throughout the year. “As someone who today does seminars on tax compliance for expats all over Mexico, Ecuador, Panama, Belize and the United States, would you believe that I had problems with English and public speaking classes?”

Crediting the intensive tutoring sessions he had with his Roosevelt professor, Glazer doesn’t shy away from public speaking, or writing with his frequent articles about financial management and most recently, “Tuesdays with Morey,” a tax tips podcast. These days, Glazer’s son and grandson both work for the company, with his son David taking on the day-to-day activities of the shop. Glazer takes on a few clients, too, but always keeps himself open to interesting new opportunities.

Reflecting on his work in financial management so far, Glazer said, “I would say my activism is on the quieter side. Instead of going out there and banging the drum, I help people manage their money intelligently and build their wealth. At the end of the day, it boils down to how you can help people be successful, how you can help them achieve their goals. That’s my kind of activism — helping people do things right to become good, productive citizens.”

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