Alumnus in the Spotlight: D. Muffy Charlton
D. Muffy Charlton (MAcc, 2012) is director of financial reporting and technical accounting at Priority Technology, a FinTech company based in Alpharetta. He leads the team preparing the firm’s filings with the SEC, oversees recurring and ad hoc complex accounting transactions, serves as a technical resource for his team, and serves as the liaison for the firm’s consultants (i.e., auditors, valuation specialists). Working with his team is the best part of his job, but Muffy also enjoys learning new things and solving complex issues and then sharing the insights he gains with others so that they can add what he’s learned to their toolbelts.
Muffy admits spending almost a decade in public accounting definitely comes with its challenges, but two things have helped him to deal with them. The first was perspective; although Muffy admits that sounds clichéd, reframing challenges as opportunities to figure things out helps him calm down and address the issue. He adapted this method from Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle Is the Way. In addition, partnership and mentorship have helped him deal with challenges. Muffy was blessed to establish relationships that he has to this day with people who played pivotal roles in my personal and professional development. He says that having someone in his corner to confide in, someone to pick him up when he was down and who would tell him when he was wrong is especially valuable.
Graduating with his MAcc having already passed the CPA and CFE exams is Muffy’s proudest accomplishment. He attributes his accounting courses in the Georgia Southern Parker College of Business with allowing him to achieve this success. In addition, Dwight Sneathen, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting, encouraged him to take an interview that resulted in Muffy getting a job that lasted eight years. He also shared four of his most favorite memories of his time at Georgia Southern:
- The mock trial at the Bulloch County Courthouse with Thomas Buckhoff, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting
o Muffy remembers being in awe as he watched students participate in the trial. They seemed so well-prepared and professional. Fast forward a year later and he had a surreal experience because he was participating in the mock trial while watching students observing his classmates and himself.
- Don Berecz, emeritus senior lecturer of accounting, bringing a polygraph machine to class and letting the students test it
- Stephanie Sipe’s, JD, professor of legal studies, fraud and society course
o He says this class was amazing. They read lots of articles and had these very insightful and in-depth conversations during class. Muffy became very studious, to the point he didn’t recognize himself. He misses those in-class discussions.
- Britton McKay, Ph.D., associate dean and professor of accounting, suddenly stopping mid-lecture in accounting information systems class and giving “real-life” talks
o Muffy remembers her talking about 401K contributions, Roth IRAs, and tax implications when deciding to propose. He says these were very funny because they would come out of nowhere.
In his spare time, Muffy enjoys playing golf. He had played until middle school and then swore to never do it again. Earlier this year, he watched Full Swing on Netflix and immediately jumped right back into it. Oddly, he likes playing alone when he can. Muffy finds walking the greens and focusing on the mechanics to be very peaceful and Zen-like. He hopes one day to be good at it. He also loves listening to vinyl records, including albums by Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, James Blake, Snoh Aalegra, Bon Iver, A$AP Rocky and Buju Banton. He is also a burgeoning mixologist, spending his weekends crafting cocktails. Muffy makes his syrups from scratch with coconut fat recently washing some bourbon.
Muffy says his biggest goal is to live a fulfilling life. Stoicism has taught him to focus on what he can control and not to get too worked up by things that he cannot. Life has taught him that the path isn’t always linear, nor will things go the way he wants. So, he remains present in the moment, doing the best he can with the resources he has.
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