Date posted: 18/12/2020 5 min read

Meet the CA supporting teens’ mental health

This Albury-based CA wanted to be a plumber at high school in the 1970s, but now his finance skills assist Teen Clinic.

In Brief

  • Stan Stavros CA missed out on the trade apprenticeship he wanted and eventually became a CA in 1983.
  • He sits on the board of charity Teen Clinic, which aims to help vulnerable country teens with their physical and mental health.
  • He works in a practice on the NSW-Victoria border.

As told to Josh Gliddon

You took a complicated path to become an accountant.

I went to a trade school in Wangaratta [in regional Victoria] where few students went on to finish years 11 and 12. But I missed out on the plumbing apprenticeship I wanted! Begrudgingly, I went on to senior school. I applied for numerous jobs but I didn’t find my feet until after travelling overseas and reconnecting with my Greek heritage.

How did accounting change your life?

I was a very average student at school and getting into accounting gave me a lot of confidence, as did getting my CA designation in 1983, when I was 24 [and working at Coopers & Lybrand, now PwC]. Meeting my wife at uni – she was studying teaching – also helped set my life on the right path. Looking back, I would not do anything differently; everything has really worked out well.

Stan Stavros CAPicture: Stan Stavros CA. Image credit: Bethany Clare.

With a practice based in Albury on the NSW-Vic. border, do you specialise in any type of work?

About 50% of my business is in the rural GP space. Bush GPs are inspiring people; they do the hard yards. I’ve been able to bring in a business perspective to their practices and make them financially sustainable because, first and foremost, they are clinicians.

How has COVID affected you, your business and your clients?

We had three months working from home. I loved it as there was more time to work with clients and fewer distractions. As far as my clients go, because they’re in the health sector, they have been very busy, and I have been busy, too.

We have also been doing more work for free because you must step up and help out with clients when they are faced with the COVID situation. A lot of my clients were affected by the bushfires, and then we had the border closures which also had an impact.

You’re on the board of Teen Clinic – what is it and how does it work?

My rural GP clients are always coming up with ideas and struggling to get them funded. Teen Clinic was started by Duncan MacKinnon, a GP in Bega, after a spate of teen suicides in the area.

He wanted to create something where kids could come in unannounced and see someone about their health and mental health concerns. They are triaged by a nurse, and then they get the right treatment.

Teen Clinic started out as one location, and now there are seven on the Sapphire and Wilderness coasts. We’re a registered charity, and I sit on the board.

I look after all the financial aspects of Teen Clinic. It has been difficult to attract ongoing government funding to support this free service so we have instead focused on innovative ways to raise funds, with the added benefit that it has allowed us to develop models of care we believe work best in each community along the coast.

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