- Cam Nguyen is the founder of boutique firm Encountr
- At age 29 she is already at the helm of a successful practice
- Nguyen explains the highs – and lows – of running her own business at a young age
Cam Nguyen is what many would call “a shaker and mover”. Now 29, she founded Encountr, a boutique accounting practice that specialises in compliance, taxation and business consulting services a year ago.
Becoming an accountant has always meant more than numbers for Nguyen. She is fascinated by what it takes to create successful ventures, and her career has been devoted to contributing to her clients in ways that leave a lasting positive impact.
Nguyen says her role involves advising and supporting clients as well as taking care of the back-end to build and develop the business. “From creating our procedures to finding the right software not just for the firm, but also for our clients,” she says.
Celebrating the first year of her own business has been a major milestone. “It's just a huge thing for Encountr,” says Nguyen. “We've come a long way. We've changed our location. We've completely restructured the way that we do things internally. And our team and our services have expanded.”
Nguyen explains the difference between being an employee and a business owner saying, “When you're a business owner, you're absorbing a lot more. You're taking in issues with staffing for example, that you may not have had to consider when you were part of another firm.”
However, with a new business to her name, she see opportunities to grow with her clients: “It's important that we partner with our clients because when you're dealing in any kind of professional service, you need to have that relationship.”
“When you're running your own practice, the advantage is that you get to see the growth for yourself and you get to determine the growth.”
"I think our mindset is so different now to what it was 15, 20, 30 years ago."
Rewards – and downsides
Nguyen continually experiences the rewards of running her my own business. “I get to design my every day, and it's rewarding for me even to work on a weekend. You get to control the growth.”
A firm believer that “what you put in is what you get out”, Nguyen says there are downsides to running her own show: “You're not always entirely sure where your efforts are going and that can be a little bit demoralising sometimes.”
The worst part? “It's hard to shut off,” says Nguyen. “That's probably the only downfall.”
Nguyen is one of the new breed of Chartered Accountants experiencing success at a younger age than many of their forebears. She attributes this, in part, to technology. “I think millennials are just so eager to learn,” notes Nguyen. “We just want to get our hands dirty and that's how we progress so quickly. It's not just about, let's follow the stages.”
At least part of Nguyen’s success could lie with her mentor. “I have a retired practitioner who mentors me to becoming a better adviser every single day,” she observes. But she’s not convinced it’s her only secret to success. “It is important to rely and bounce off of our senior CAs, but that said, I think our mindset is so different now to what it was 15, 20, 30 years ago.”
Nguyen offers several tips for success to up-and-coming Chartered Accountants: “Trust yourself. You've only got you.” She also advises, “Learn as much as possible, and don't ever shut yourself off from learning.” And her third tip? “Stay in action. It's one thing to have a great idea, but ideas don't come to fruition until you take action.”