Obsidian Advisory

Two years ago start-up Accounting Firm Obsidian Advisory sought to enter the financial services market the right way, with a well devised growth strategy and clear risk management plan. hammerjack have been proud to be an essential component  in their burgeoning success, especially in the face of some challenging years for Australian business. This is the story of how they were able to explore the potential of outsourcing services, and create a pathway for growth.

At hammerjack, we’re frontline opportunity makers, problem solvers, and creative thinkers for the business process outsourcing (BPO) staffing needs of our clients. We seek to go beyond the expectations of the average, run-of-the mill BPO firm or outsourcing operation to create a partnership that sustains longevity, cost-savings, and well-managed growth for service providers across a wide range of industries. We share their ambitions and celebrate their success.

Let’s examine how our accounting and financial service client Obsidian Advisory has leveraged our low-cost, high-performance staff from the Philippines to expand their team and create a pathway for future growth.

Who Are Obsidian Advisory?

Having worked within varying financial advisory businesses ranging from small boutiques firms through to the ‘Big 4’ banks for over a decade, young Chartered Accountants Joe Hart and Luke Moylan saw an opportunity to smash the stereotype of the jargonistic accountant with limited people skills. Driven by a plain-English approach, and an emphasis on paperless new technologies, simplified workflows and clear communication, they established Obsidian Advisory in 2020. A firm with a classic personal touch combined with a new-age understanding of the software tools available, as demonstrated by their certification as Xero Gold Partners and Certified Advisors.

With the ambition to make accounting simple, Obsidian Advisory have already proven the difference they can provide for their clients, providing top level services for accounting & tax, outsourced CFO, and bookkeeping & payroll. Throughout changing pandemic regulations and grant applications, Obsidian have been the stabilising factor, allowing multiple clients successfully apply for government funding and support. Beyond that, they have established new digital e-commerce and cloud computing processes and implemented long-term tax strategies to allow these businesses and others to realise their potential.

What Was The Opportunity?

From the very outset of their firm, Joe and Luke devised a clear strategy and business model to minimise risk and cost, and maximise margins. During the initial growth phase of the business, Obsidian Advisory recognised that there was an opportunity to leverage high quality, low cost offshore staffing solutions in order to scale up more effectively, according to customer demand and changing restrictions.

As they sought to engage the market, they planned a natural delineation between different staffing assets. The on-shore, in-house, team would be more client-facing, focusing on communication, customer relationships, and other client services. Whilst that was happening, they would employ offshore assets to concentrate their efforts on the other side of the business, focusing on production and execution, as well as potentially back-office tasks, administration, and potentially human resources, without disrupting the supply chain.

In this way, Obsidian Advisory could build market share without overextending with excessive high-cost, full-time onshore staff too quickly. At the same time, they felt as if they could not afford to compromise on the quality or output of their services. Accordingly, they decided that they would need a partner – an outsourcing service provider who understood that cost reduction AND quality both needed to meet expectations in order for success to be achieved. That’s when they approached hammerjack.

The Goal Of The Partnership

Scalability and quality control were crucial factors in the engagement of our expert hammerjack team. Obsidian wanted enough offshore assets to be able to adequately maintain back office operations and service execution, whilst maintaining the highest levels of flexibility and cost savings.

Joe and Luke recognised, correctly, that far too many businesses balloon with customer demand to a point when they’re close to breaking point, before employing new staffing assets to cover the additional workload demands. Existing staff get fatigued and services decline in quality. However, if you employ too many full-time, onshore employees too early, prior to the uptick in demand, it results in unsustainable costs and dwindling margins. This is especially true in an environment as highly expensive as Australia.

Additionally, not long after the business was created in 2020 they were greeted with some of the most challenging, and potentially debilitating, pandemic-induced conditions that Australian businesses have ever witnessed. These included revenue uncertainty, customer volatility, and an evaporated supply of skilled domestic staff at a reasonable cost.

The goal of the partnership has been to address these needs to create the highest potential for growth and competitive advantage, whilst ensuring that the viability of the business was never at stake despite shifting market sizes. hammerjack would provide necessary outsourced assets for Obsidian Advisory to meet shifting demand, without creating an unsustainably high-cost environment that threatened their survival.

The Solution

As of January 2022, Obsidian Advisory currently have six full-time, dedicated offshore team members sourced, expertly on-boarded, and supported by our superb hammerjack staff. As an indication of the success of both Obsidian’s work and the BPO program we’ve implemented, four of those employees have joined the team in the last 12 months alone! These team members were initially contained to production and execution functions, however such has been the success of the program that some outsourced staff have taken on back-office and administrative business functions as well.

The continued growth of the business is testament to the quality of their service and the success of the partnership. Obsidian have not only managed to meet the extraordinary challenges of the past year, they’ve actually, perhaps shockingly, been able to scale up rapidly throughout it (practically in spite of it). Joe and Luke, together with their hammerjack partners, have successfully executed their strategy to stay agile and flexible, whilst constantly ensuring that they were always able to meet and process the demands of their clients and stakeholders.

It’s been a privilege to be a part of their initial and ongoing success, and you don’t just have to take our word for it. As Obsidian Advisory themselves have remarked:

“Since joining hammerjack we’ve been able to scale our business rapidly and with significant cost benefits, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of their team. A lot of the time businesses get to a point where they are so busy they are about to pop before hiring, staff are stressed, partners are stressed and it has to be that way because if you hire too early, profit declines, bonus’ can’t be paid and it causes other issues. Scaling our business, by way of hammerjack, has avoided this problem completely.

A big part of the success has been through the quality of candidates, hammerjack don’t just copy paste or follow a bums on seats approach like some BPO providers, the detail in aligning with our business, our culture and our goals takes it to another level, we’re now seeing our offshore team produce better quality, more consistent work than our onshore front office staff. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to any business.”

The Key

Obsidian Advisory wanted scalability and cost-efficiency without a compromise on service quality. They wanted to address the challenges of the past 24 months, including skills shortages, extended lockdowns and changing regulations, whilst envisioning growth and an increase in market share.

The only way that they could adequately achieve the ambitions of this business strategy was through a partnership with an experienced and dedicated BPO solutions specialist such as hammerjack. With their dynamic new approach to to accounting, combined with our team’s expertise, quality control, market research, and dedication to our clients, a clear pathway towards lower costs and increased profits was established.

Providing the best quality BPO, or knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), services for our partner businesses require the highest standard of communication, expertise, and customer support, and we’re proud to demonstrate through our partnership with businesses such as Obsidian Advisory that we have the results to prove the difference we can make.

If you, like our friends at Obsidian, think now might be the time to leverage our low-cost, high quality offshore staff for the benefit of your business, you need only give our team a call. Your next chapter of growth could be just around the corner.