Date posted: 02/04/2020 5 min read

Meet the CA who escaped the grind: Tom Daven CA

Tom Daven CA has found his work-life balance, surfing before work on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, sometimes with his clients.

In Brief

  • Tom Daven CA became a solo practitioner to gain a better work-life balance while he had a young family.
  • Being his own boss gave him the flexibility to run his practice from Chamonix in the French Alps during a house swap.
  • What he really enjoys is helping and seeing his small business clients grow.

From doing the books for a pub in Canada to forecasting beer sales as a financial analyst for Lion beverage company, Tom Daven CA’s accounting career has landed him in diverse places.

After graduating from the University of Technology Sydney in 2004, he began his career at KPMG in Sydney, then moved to London and worked for the World Bank. He looked at equity valuations and investments in Eastern Europe, focusing on getting fringe countries into the European Union.

He came back to Australia at the end of 2010 and worked for the Commonwealth Bank. But just on four years ago, he waved goodbye to corporate life and set up his one-person practice, Beaches Accounting, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

What made you leave the corporate world and start your own practice?

I wanted some flexibility in my life and to get back into things like surfing, mountain biking and yoga. When you work for someone else it’s hard to see the surf pumping midweek and you can’t take the time to go out. When you work for yourself, you’re able to do those things. There’s no commute and work is five minutes down the road from home. From my office, it’s a two-minute drive to the nearest beach, so I can nip out for a lunchtime session.

Meet the CA who escaped the grind: Tom Daven CAPicture: Tom Daven CA.Image credit: Tim Bauer.

How important is work-life balance to you?

My business is all about work-life balance. I have a young family and an interesting group of clients, some of whom I meet for a surf before work. Being a small business, I work with people who are local and I get a lot of satisfaction from watching [their business] grow. I wanted to work with people doing interesting things. I have a group of artists who have a share space and it’s great to see that in profit. I work with some non-profits who I am helping to grow as well. It’s all about moving the needle for my clients. Work-life balance also means being able to do things like a house-swap we did when my wife was on maternity leave. We went to Chamonix in the French Alps and skied and I ran the business from there.

“Being a small business, I work with people who are local and I get a lot of satisfaction from watching [their business] grow.”
Tom Daven CA

What does being a CA bring to the table?

Being a CA opens doors. It deepens the trust that clients have in you and it also allows you to get more involved in their businesses. There’s a sense of credibility and trust – you’re a trusted adviser and people will share things about themselves, both work and non-work, because of that sense of trust. Being a CA gives me a holistic approach to business and helps me help my clients grow.

Do you keep in touch with other CAs?

Being a one-person operation it’s important for me to stay in touch with what’s happening in the broader CA and accounting community. I have a good friend from my Lion days who started a practice about the same time as me and we regularly catch up to chat about issues and what we’ve been learning. I’m also still in contact with folks from my KPMG days and that helps keep me abreast of what’s going on.

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