I see you often go by Olesia A. Your last name – Avdiouchtchenko – is very unique. What is its origin?
I go by Olesia A. because my full last name is too long to type! I was born in Russia, and I have a few different ethnicities. My last name has a Ukrainian origin.
Congratulations on recently passing the professional CPA exam.
Yes, thank you. I recently passed the professional qualification examinations of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. In a couple of months, I will have my have my professional designation.
When did you join Sloan Group?
I joined Sloan Group in May 2009, right after I graduated from Ryerson University. I started out as an administrative assistant, filling in for someone that was on maternity leave. When she returned, I asked to transfer to the professional side of the firm and I’ve been working here ever since.
Tell us a little about your background.
I was born in Russia and moved to Canada when I was 15 years old. I went to high school in Toronto and then went on to Ryerson University, majoring in finance and minoring in accounting. While still in school I worked at a number of part-time jobs, including at a bank for some time. After graduating from university, I began looking into building a professional accounting career, and that’s when I started at Sloan. I was fortunate to get a job at Sloan when I was just starting out. I love it here.
What types of clients do you mainly serve at Sloan?
I have the opportunity to work with a variety of different types of clients. The client base at Sloan Partners is very diverse so one day I might be working with a small owner-operated business and the next I might be consulting with a large, privately held corporation with a higher operational volume. Because of the mix of clients, I get to experience and learn about different industry types. I see unique challenges faced by different size companies and can find creative solutions to fit their needs.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
It is very satisfying when a client understands and appreciates the work that I do for them. When I can help a client save money, clean up their books when there is a problem, or resolve an operational issue, that is the most rewarding aspect of this job.
I see you are certified in Leadership and Management Development from LMI Canada? How has that certification helped you in your work?
The LMD certification was an interesting process. In 2014, the entire leadership team at the firm participated in the LMI Canada Leadership and Management Development training. The training helped us understand the needs of the firm on a global scale and also demonstrated how to work together as a team and improve on each other’s skills. I would often struggle with how different team members approach different tasks. The training taught me that at the end of the day it is more important to achieve the common goal than to focus on how it is achieved. It also taught me to be a better planner and manager. I not only benefitted professionally from the training but on a personal level as well.
How would you describe your personal accounting style?
I would say that I have a very responsible, caring approach to client relationships. I care about the person behind the company and always look at the bigger picture – not only to understand how and why things happen but also to offer ways a client can improve their operations. Often clients just need basic accounting services and a little handholding, but I like to take a step back and see what else I can do to improve overall operations so the client can grow their business. I always want to make sure my client is doing well.
What made you decide to become an accounting/tax professional?
I was always very good with numbers, and commerce and accounting were subjects that interested me in college; it seemed logical to choose a career along that path. I also knew I wanted to do something business related. When I began at Sloan in an administrative role, I was exposed to a variety of clients and accounting professionals. Because the firm is relatively small, I had the opportunity to work closely with the partners – something you don’t usually get to do at a larger firm – and I got to see the actual work that was being done and it all made sense to me. I was looking at different issues that the accountants were dealing with, and it made me curious. Fortunately, I was able to stay at Sloan and transition to the professional side of the firm. I’ve never regretted it!
What is your favorite thing about your profession?
I love that there is nothing routine about this job. I get to interact with a variety of people daily, and no client need is the same. I get to experience different business industries and not one narrow industry focus. Overall, I gain more knowledge through every experience.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests outside of the office that you’d like to share?
Besides spending quality time with my family and friends, I enjoy skiing quite a bit. I also enjoy working out at the gym. To me the gym is meditational. I can disconnect from the world and my daily routine of home and work life. That time of day is mine and no one can distract me!