- Jesse Stanton CA splits his work life between the family business in Macksville on the NSW north coast and PwC in Sydney.
- PwC provided Stanton with a flexible part-time role to meet all deadlines and client commitments.
- His father made him get a stock and station agent licence while Stanton was still studying accounting in Coffs Harbour.
As told to Susan Muldowney
In 2015, Jesse Stanton CA was going to quit his full-time role as a tax manager with PwC’s Private Clients team in Sydney to return to his country roots and help run his family’s stock and station agency, GJ Kennedy & Co, in Macksville, 470km north of Sydney. But then his PwC bosses made an unexpected offer – a fully flexible part-time role. That let Stanton maintain a role with the Big Four firm while managing the family business, which includes being the auctioneer at its fortnightly cattle sales. Stanton tells Acuity how he juggles his jobs.
What prompted your return to the farm?
Dad was ready to retire from the business and he wanted to keep it in the family rather than sell it. I already had my stock and station agent licence, because Dad made me get it while I was studying accounting at Southern Cross University in Coffs Harbour. My wife is also from Macksville and our first child was six months old at the time, so that influenced our move home. My brother, who is nine years younger than me, also wanted me to come back and work with him in the business. He does most of the hands-on work and I’m more of the office guy, so it’s a good partnership.
How do you balance your two jobs?
Flexible working is something that PwC started promoting in 2015. When I said I was resigning, the partners offered me a fully flexible part-time role. This means that I can do the work at any time and on any day of the week, so long as it all gets done and client commitments are met.
That flexibility helps with some programs I’m working on, such as PwC’s Advisor Connection, where we provide technical assistance and expertise to small-to-medium accounting firms. I can do that wherever I am.
I fly to the Sydney office about once a month for a few days, depending on clients. I also get a few calls from my colleagues at PwC with questions about livestock prices and what the market’s doing – and to decipher farming acronyms for them.
How has being a CA helped you in the family business?
The CA Program is essentially a post-graduate business degree. You learn about internal accounts, processes, financial statements, budgeting, forecasting and the broader tax issues. I think it’s one of the reasons my brother asked me to come back.
Any secrets to being a good auctioneer?
This year, we’ll sell more than 12,000 head of cattle through saleyards and private sales. Theatrics can certainly help a sale, but I think being a good auctioneer comes down to knowing the value of what you’re selling. If you have something that’s worth $1000 and you ask $3000 or $500, you look a bit silly.
Picture: Jesse Stanton CA.
Country or city – which is more like home?
I spent all my childhood in the country and eight years in the city. I enjoy visiting Sydney every month to catch up with friends, but I do feel more relaxed in the country. We enjoy holidays in the city and I have colleagues from PwC who come and visit on long weekends. I had a colleague come up for a week recently and I had him feeding cattle and doing a lot of farm stuff. He’d never done it before and it was pretty fun to watch.
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