Scott Charlton, director of coaching and business planning service Slipstream Coaching, has built a successful venture providing advice to accountants and others working in financial services.
Collaborating with financial advisers and Chartered Accountants offers Charlton endless personal development opportunities, creating a win-win situation for all parties. “This [pathway to improved development] inspires me to help my clients to help their clients, and in so doing we make the pie bigger for everybody.”
Charlton attributes success in his own business to his “ability to stand back and look at situations, and identify problems that are occurring, and patterns that I've noticed from one situation to another.” This allows Charlton to “package” his observations and articulate them to his clients.
He adds to his interaction with clients through a monthly podcast in which he invites guests to share their stories. “People take a lot more notice of their peers rather than some so-called expert, not that I see myself that way,” he explains. “With the podcast, my aim is to explore areas that I think will be very relevant to other people’s journeys.”
"Most practitioners want to increase revenue, or get more profit, but just as equally it might be doing more of the work they like."
A day in the life
Charlton runs the Slipstream Coaching program, which involves three to four appointments with clients and presenting coaching consultations via video. Charlton adds, “If I am out of the office, I am running an all-day workshop, visiting a client at their premises and doing something with their team on site.”
Charlton has a home office for after-hours writing. A prolific author, the experienced CA has penned three business tomes, including Your Professional Headspace, The Bold Accountant, and Partnering with Accountants. “I’m a compulsive writer, and I’ve written quite a lot in and around the areas where I work. So typically, I'll be beavering away on a book, or a guide for client use.”
Reasons to work
The experienced CA says, “making a difference to the clients I work with,” is the best part of his current calling. “Most practitioners want to increase revenue, or get more profit, but just as equally it might be doing more of the work they like to do or to get more time away from the business.”
On the flipside, Charlton, who has worked in big accounting firms in Australia and the UK, says he hasn’t had many negative experiences. That said, if he had to nominate anything, it would be battling the “Friday night in the airport, trying to get home along with everyone else. There's no anaesthetic for that.”
Away from work and writing, the active Charlton loves to get outdoors. “Whether it's riding my bike, or taking my camera, or just travelling, be it in Australia or around the world. Get me in the outdoors, and I'm a happy camper.”
In five years, Charlton doesn’t anticipate too many changes to his current work-life balancing act. “So, some more travel, writing, and continuing to work hand in glove with clients.”
The value of becoming a CA
Becoming a Chartered Accountant has been a fundamental part of Charlton’s professional journey. “It helped me to run my firm and to earn a living, but more particularly in the role, I do now, it puts me on par with the people I work with.
“They know that I've sat in their chair and have confronted the decisions they have to make.”
Charlton also relies on the skills from his Chartered Accounting background to assist his clients. “I think that helping clients keep focused on their numbers is a key part of what I do. And by tracking those numbers, we find that typically they improve. So, I fall back on my accounting skills all the time.”
Charlton takes pride in being a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) as a professional body. “[CA ANZ] stands up very well as a body that has strong rulings and ethics,” he says. “This means that people when they're dealing with me, they get a certain sense of confidence as to where I'm coming from.
“To me, there is a great advantage in having a strong professional network, and there'll always be opportunities, and you'll never run out of work. Cultivate that, pay it forward, keep in contact, and good things will happen throughout your career.”