The Company

The projects is an independent brand consultancy, founded in Sydney, Australia. The company provides strategic and culturally relevant solutions to help brands thrive. Isobel Stackpool, Director of Finance and Operations is in charge of overseeing the operations of the Sydney business specifically, ensuring alignment to the company’s strategy locally and globally, as well as leading the challenge to help manage the group’s financial results. The projects has offices in Sydney, L.A., New York, and London and is seeking further expand its market presence globally.   The projects works with global brands such as, Samsung and Mercedes Benz.

the projects logo

The Problem

In its early beginnings, the founding management team of TMV were doing all the bookkeeping and accounting work themselves. Cameron Mitchell, COO hated it…

“So, it was a complete pain, and I’m 100% positive that we were missing lots of expenses, miscategorising them or just simply not picking up things that we should have. Once you start to generate cash flow, you know that your time is critical, and you know that this sort of important activity is going to impede your growth and your capability to focus on the right thing. So, we knew we needed a bookkeeper and initially we thought that that meant finding someone who could just do the admin.”

They hired a bookkeeper who was paid by the hour to alleviate some of the administration pain. But after a period, they felt it wasn’t working as well as it could have.

“What we needed was someone that was more aligned with our business and knew what we were going through, and someone smart enough to ask questions to us and act like an extension of our team rather than just outsourcing our admin. And that’s why we switched to SBO.”

We empathise with the challenges that high-growth Startups face, and are at the coalface in diagnosing financial issues as they arise.

Our Process

In our initial conversations, Isobel was deliberating whether to internally resource an accounting role, or partner with an external provider like SBO.

“If I lacked an understanding and insight in where artificial intelligence and back office operations were going within the financial field, I would have been hesitant to move. But the reality is that the role of a CFO and financial partners within business has very much shifted. That shift is into a more, advisory partnership and SBO has become that partner to us.”

Knowing SBO brought technology, accounting, industry expertise and a team with built-in redundancy to a ‘bookkeeping’ role gave Isobel confidence to make the switch.

In our onboarding process, we identified and established financial governance, reporting and processes around document submission expense claims.

As we know however, software is only one part of the equation. With any change in processes, there’s a large ‘people’ element.

“So, first of all, from a people’s point of view, the professionalism and personable nature of the team that we work with every week across all three offices has been incredible. Having a financial partner that is personable and understands your day-to-day challenges, both from a financial and an operations perspective, is really important. Particularly when a lot of the challenges that SBO solve, isn’t just about accounting and finance – it’s actually about how people work within a process.”

Data, data and more data

Being a Chartered Management Accountant, Isobel is well across the importance of using data to drive smart business decisions.

“The data quality and timeliness has shifted our ability to make better financial decisions, and better business decisions in terms of what we can invest in within the next quarter. This has had an exponential shift in mindset for us. Particularly around educating the executive team and the broader business.

“We’ve been able to basically grow up, financially. We’re able to share, through our dashboard, financial information across the business. And that’s had a huge impact on our decisions. I couldn’t have done that without the SBO team.”

The SBO Difference

theprojects isobel stackpool
Isobel Stackpool – Director of Finance and Operations at the projects

“Over the past twelve years of working with accounting firms who are trying to successfully navigate the transformation of the finance field to this digital age, I’d say the number one thing that SBO provides, that no other partner provides, is that personable side to get right down in the dirt with you, and really understand your business day-to-day challenges. That hands-on support isn’t always there from your traditional accounting partners, who are generally more interested in high-level advisory and year-end reviews.

The sense of ease that the SBO team provide is great. We’ve got SBO servicing us across the board in London, L.A., New York, and Sydney. We’ve got a team of supportive and highly educated and informed people, that we can lean on to solve a lot of our business problems as we grow.”

Summary of SBO services

  • Chart of accounts refinement
  • Weekly bookkeeping, reconciliations and inter-entity transaction management across multinational business units
  • Employee expense claim management
  • Unlimited email and phone support
  • KPI establishment
  • Cash flow trend analysis

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