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 will.i.am, Samsung and Mercedes Benz.
Joining the company over two years ago, Isobel was initially tasked to bring financial governance and visibility across the global business units.
“We lacked consistency terms of our financial data. We lacked clarity in terms of what we were reporting month to month. And as a result of that, there was a lot of confusion on how the business was actually performing at a global level. This was causing a lot of stress and frustration in our executive meetings.”
Simply put, the management team didn’t have a lot of confidence in the numbers.
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.”