We asked three CPAs about their volunteer work

Volunteers with CPA Canada’s Financial Literacy Program talk about their efforts and the new National Strategy for Financial Literacy.

Debra King, CPA, CMA

Principal, Atlas Rand, Edmonton

Debra King 

“For 11 years I was on the board of a charter school in Alberta, working with government and curriculum. When I saw the email in 2013 from CPA Canada looking for financial literacy volunteers, I thought I’d be a natural fit. Now I’m an area leader and sit on the program’s advisory board. I have put on presentations about budgeting and saving, mostly for Grade 10 and 11 students. My daughters are now in university and I use them and the things they’re dealing with as examples. The students give me feedback right away. ‘Gee, I didn’t realize how expensive it is to live on your own,’ they tell me. I love the idea of a National Strategy for Financial Literacy because I really like the idea of sharing ideas across the country. We can learn so much from each other.”

Ted Wheatley, CPA, CGA, MBA

Advisor, Sun Life Financial, Toronto

Ted Wheatley 

“I became aware of the Financial Literacy Program when the designations merged and CPA Canada was being promoted. I thought: I do this anyway for companies, mostly on retirement planning and estate planning. It’s nice to do it as a CPA: I’m not there as a Sun Life person, I’m there as a CPA, end of story. No one is thinking that I’m promoting some product. And it’s more practice for me. I’m amazed: everyone who attends a session really wants to be there. I’m also motivated to promote financial literacy because I find my clients who are more financially literate tend to get more products and get the right ones. They’re more satisfied with what they buy and they understand what they have.”

Siddhi Sheth, CPA, CA, CFA

Consultant, Investors Group, Mississauga, Ont.

Siddhi Sheth 

“I started working on the financial literacy initiative last winter after reading about it in CPA Magazine [The FinLit Issue, November 2014]. I thought the ability to give back would be fabulous. I’ve done a number of presentations, mainly within my own network, and I joined the advisory board and did my first meeting back in May. The sessions take up about two hours in total; it’s not a lot of time. I did a session called Building Wealth in Canada for a branch of the Toronto Public Library, and when I did one on retirement a month later, some of the same people came back. And they came back with really good questions! I’ve also taught a few sessions for the YMCA in Hamilton to ESL students. My family came here 15 years ago; we spoke English, but there’s so much we didn’t know. These people are learning English and they don’t know how to file a tax return. So I do what I can to help.”