Sterling Financial Accounting Services
Photographed by Simon Desroshers
When you are nine years old and you learn about an elderly family friend being abused and robbed of his wealth, the normal reaction is not to take that to heart and have it drive your career. But for Tanya Sterling of Sterling Financial Accounting Services, that’s exactly what happened.
“It just seemed so unfair, and it has always stayed with me that you need to treat people with care and understanding,” she says. Sterling is a chartered accountant who’s plied her trade from Quebec to the Cayman Islands.
The business “is not just about accounting and finance,” she says. “Over and above that, and perhaps more importantly, we provide coaching and mentoring for people to understand and handle their own finances.”
This approach will have certainly figured in the decision by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants to award Sterling its young achievement award for 2008. (That was just a year after she was recognized as one of the “top visionaries under 40.”)
Sterling Financial Accounting Services began with the idea of helping elderly people with their financial planning, but Sterling soon found out that seniors were more than able to handle their own finances.
“What was a surprise,” notes Sterling, “is the number of elderly people who came to us to help their grown-up children, worried about their ability to handle affairs when they passed on.”
Another area the company has begun to focus on is divorce settlements.
“Most of our work is helping people make decisions at transition points in their lives,” Sterling says.
“The firm is doing quite well. While what we sell is sometimes difficult to explain and market, we did begin with a very detailed business plan which we update regularly.”
Before starting Sterling Financial Accounting Services, Sterling worked at KPMG accountants. “It was a wonderful place to work, with great people, but I wanted to work in a non-traditional practice and give back to the community.”
A volunteer at the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre and a number of other community organizations, she has certainly fulfilled that promise.
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