By Lorie Murdoch
Photograph: Ruth Kaplan
Fitness fusion: CA and yoga instructor Lisa Ricci combined her two passions by launching And Then Sum, a consultancy that demystifies business and accounting for other wellness workers
Yoga is the ultimate stress reliever for Lisa Ricci. Not only did it save her sanity throughout the busy seasons when she was a staff accountant at Ernst & Young in Toronto, it also got her through the UFE in 2009. “Taking an evening class on day two of the UFE grounded me and helped me start day three with a clean slate,” she says.
So perhaps it’s not surprising the 26-year-old Waterloo, Ont.-based entrepreneur has found a unique way to continue that symbiotic relationship be- tween accounting and yoga. In 2012, she launched And Then Sum, an ac- counting consultancy for contractors working in the health and wellness industry. “Seeing how intimidated most of my yoga teachers and friends were by accounting, I wanted to make it more accessible to them,” she says.
To complete the circle, Ricci also be- came a yoga instructor. To qualify, she took a rigorous one-month program with 10 hours of classes and lectures six days a week, followed by a year of volunteering. She now teaches up to 15 classes a week at studios in Ontario, including Waterloo, Hamilton and Brampton.
It’s a juggling act, but Ricci finds value in blurring the lines between the different dimensions of her life. For example, her corporate background helps her sympathize with her yoga students. “I know workplace interactions can be frustrating and personal interests can become subordinated to those of others,” she says. “Having this firsthand experience helps me give cues that hit home and make them feel more at ease.” Subsequently, some students have become clients — and clients have become students. Ricci also weaves her two prominent skills into another interest: volunteering. She has taught yoga at the Salvation Army, takes part in ICAO tax clinics and, in January, offered both her yoga and accounting skills in a small Guyana village while visiting a friend.
What’s next for Ricci? She hopes to transition her consultancy to more of an educational model, having clients do as much of the work as possible to get a true understanding of their businesses. “Ideally,” she says, “I’d like to develop a workshop format that I can take across the country, and fit yoga classes in at each location too.”