40 under 40: Andrea Drew, Drew Consulting Inc.
Tahoe Chamber | August 1, 2018 | 40 Under 40
Andrea Drew’s life involves a juggling act—owning her own boutique accounting and management advisory firm, raising three children all under the age of six, volunteering her time to various community efforts, and enjoying all Tahoe has to offer.
The juggling act is a little difficult during tax season, when her own Drew Consulting Inc. is the busiest, but somehow she pulls it off.
A native of South Africa, Andrea immigrated to Canada and later landed in Lake Tahoe with her husband, Jason. She volunteers at Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School and serves on the task force for Leadership Lake Tahoe.
Congratulations to Andrea Drew, the latest honoree of our 40 under 40 series!
Can you tell us a little about your responsibilities and accomplishments in your current position?
I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and owner of my own boutique accounting and management advisory firm here in South Lake Tahoe. While my firm, Drew Consulting Inc., offers the service lines typical to a CPA firm, our specialty is providing small businesses, special districts and public agencies with “Compliance Support Services”.
Grant application and management, financial reporting and business accounting functions are critical to the long-term sustainability of any business. Yet, these are areas where small businesses especially struggle to hire or retain the right skill sets in their employee base, build the necessary workflow processes and internal controls, and apply for grant funding on a timely basis. Drew Consulting Inc. partners with clients to improve their bottom line over the short and long term by providing the services and value of a full-time Controller or CFO, on a contract basis, and through building strong accounting and compliance systems, able not only to meet current financial goals, but also, through strategic planning efforts, strengthen long-term viability.
At Drew Consulting Inc., our main goal is to be a value-added business partner. With a balanced focus on short-term goals and long-term sustainability, we collaborate in the development of planning and performance improvements. This whole business perspective leads to more able organizations and providing employees with a positive and stable work environment. And that’s good for our whole community!
What has been your favorite professional moment in the last year?
While many might think that financial reporting and accounting practices are black and white, I find that I really enjoy complex situations that require creativity to solve. That was the case with one of my special district client organizations. Together, amongst other achievements, we revamped their entire accounting and compliance system (goodbye paper files, “hello” electronic systems), increased their indirect cost rate income generation by over 17%, assisted in the implementation of a new grant program, developed budgeting tools to assist management in budgeting and decision making processes, and streamlined internal audit processes that sought to minimize external audit entries to three high level GASB reporting items alone.
Additionally, surviving tax season while juggling the needs of our family, which includes three children under the age of six, I feel is a significant accomplishment. I’m definitely no Super Woman. I am blessed with a loving and supportive husband, family that visits frequently, and friends willing to lend a helping hand to make it all work!
Do you have a professional/life mantra that you live by?
Immigrating, not once, but twice, has taught me to appreciate that we never truly know it all. And that there are seasons to life. Seasons to learn, seasons to grow, seasons to simply enjoy the ride. And the people that fill those seasons, albeit for just a small period in time, can make long-lasting impacts to both your personal and professional life if you are simply willing to take a moment to listen.
What was your first job?
My first job while in high school and residing in South Africa, was in the role of guest services for a lodge in South Africa. Upon immigrating to Canada, I found myself in a similar role, until networking at a conference opened the doors to a summer intern position with a medium-sized accounting firm in Vancouver. That experience provided the groundwork to much of the experience I am able to bring to my client base today. The rest, as they say, is history.
Why choose Tahoe to make your home and career?
It’s truthfully a love story that brought me to Tahoe. My husband, Jason, had already planted roots in Tahoe and upon visiting and experiencing all that which Tahoe had to offer, I could not imagine dragging Jason to Vancouver instead! Don’t get me wrong, I love the big cities, but there is something magical about not having an hour commute to and from work, being able to ride one’s mountain and road bike to amazing locations straight from your doorstep, paddle boarding on waters deemed a natural wonder, and carving out special memories with your family along rivers, by beaches, and in the forests, all a mere ten minute drive from home.
It’s all this and more that led me to make a major career change. Owning my own business was not originally on the to-do list, but I’m forever grateful for the support from Jason to have made the move. Not only has it allowed me to enjoy a diverse range of opportunities to keep my career tracking forward, but has also provided flexibility and ability for Jason and I to achieve a balance in raising our children in this community.
Are you active in any volunteer roles or community groups?
I currently focus my volunteer time at the Magnet School by teaching art/Brining Arts to School (BATS) classes. And I love every minute of it! The children have blessed me with just as much learning to patience, out of the box problem solving and appreciation to a different, creative approach, as what I may have hoped to bring to their table through a creative lesson plan.
I have also enjoyed participating in and volunteering as a Task Force member to the Leadership Lake Tahoe program. In an ever-changing landscape, I feel the program has great value in providing participants with a strengthened knowledge base and skill set to take both their career and community to the next level.
And finally, how can we not but throw in “Team Mom” for coordination to the plethora of sporting activities undertaken by the Drew-and-friends squad, coached by volunteer “Team Dad”!!!
Juggling—it’s an art! Here’s to perfecting it one day!
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
Paddle boarding (by far) and road biking in the Summer. Snowboarding in the Winter. And in any season, enjoying “beach time” with my family. Taking in the views of the Lake NEVER gets old.
Where are your favorite South Shore stomping grounds?
Once a month, my girlfriends and I take our little ones for a Friday morning breakfast outing. It’s a tradition we hope to maintain for many years to come. We thank the SAINTS at Bert’s Café and Getaway Café for putting up with the mess left behind by six-plus little ones on these outings!
For a night out, my husband and I love to hit Café Fiore or Edgewood. And then there’s that wine list at The Lake House Restaurant—hard to beat!