Giulia George is Local Measure’s Chief Financial Officer. She’s been a core part of the team since 2017, managing all the different entities of Local Measure. In the words of our CEO Jonathan Barouch, Giulia is “passionate, dedicated, and unbelievably hardworking”. Hear more from Giulia in this edition of Life at Local Measure.
Tell us about your career journey. How did you become the Chief Financial Officer for Local Measure?
I started a Bachelor of Business at UTS when my eldest daughter was only 8 weeks old! After that, I got my CPA. I have always worked within the IT industry, initially in hardware, but most of my career has been spent working for software companies, mostly SMEs and a couple of large US-based multinationals.
After the acquisition of Infra Corporation, a very successful Australian company in the Service Desk Management business, where I had worked for 15 years, I took a little time off to travel, then re-entered the workforce. A former director of Infra mentioned the CFO role at Local Measure and I was excited by the opportunity to join a startup in its early stages. The product was fascinating and I was impressed by the passion and enthusiasm of the team, so I accepted their offer and joined in 2017.
As the CFO, what does a typical day at work look like for you?
Well, I’d have to say there’s no such thing as a typical day at my job. In a smaller company, the CFO needs to wear many hats, so I have a broad remit encompassing Finance, Administration, Company Secretarial, Insurances, Tax, and various Payroll and HR responsibilities to name a few. No two days are ever the same. That’s part of the appeal – the variety makes the role interesting.
The end of financial year in Australia is our busiest period. Over the course of the last couple of months, we have produced the statutory accounts and tax returns of our four offshore entities and have just commenced our Consolidated Group audit and tax returns in Australia.
I may be asked to review and sign a customer agreement, working on a quarterly re-forecast, reviewing the cash position or collaborating with my team to devise strategies to continually improve systems and procedures that will better serve our users.
On the payroll front, I might be responding to requests from an agency that’s helping us set up external payroll services in a new overseas location or assisting an employee who has requested to relocate to another country. Or I may be attending to some Co-Sec responsibilities – producing Board minutes and resolutions, updating the risk register, managing share registry transactions, updating ASIC communications, managing filings for our offshore entities, or making arrangements for our upcoming AGM.
So, my days range from strategic, commercial, forecasting, treasury, setting up infrastructure, compliance and corporate governance, to administrative activities.
What do you like most about working for Local Measure?
Aside from the variety in my role, the best thing about working for Local Measure is the people and culture. I have the privilege of working with an extremely talented and passionate group of people who work hard but also know how to play hard
I appreciate our entire team - being able to adapt to a new way of working necessitated by the pandemic was no easy feat but this group embraced the changes and have shown remarkable resilience. I am in absolute awe of the foresight and tenacity displayed by our commercial, product, engineering and design teams being faced with the immediate need to quickly pivot and launch Engage for Amazon Connect. Also, for a relatively small company to be able to forge partnerships with industry giants such as AWS and Cisco is living up to the company value of ‘Punch Above’.
It is a very open and inclusive workplace, and to have such great representation for women in the leadership team is awesome. It is a very forward-thinking organization!
How did 2020 impact the financial team at Local Measure? Were there any positive learnings you'll take forward?
Pre-pandemic, most of our customers were hotels and, as has been evidenced, Hospitality and Tourism was probably the worst-hit sector. Some of our largest clients were hit with record low vacancy rates.
Last year, we learned to:
- Develop empathy – listen to customers, help address their concerns and accommodate their requests within reason
- Collaborate more closely with other teams to help retain customers, and
- Become more resilient
The Finance team was running full throttle looking out for all avenues we could tap into for assistance to help mitigate the situation. It was really motivating for the team to see our commercial and product teams have so much success with our Contact Center platform during such a difficult period.
With over 20 years of experience across multinationals and SMEs, what have been your top three career defining moments?
I would put further education and an investment in continual learning at the top of the list. Tertiary qualifications are standard prerequisites for just about every senior finance role, so I knew I needed to attain my CPA if I wanted to progress my career.
The Infra acquisition by EMC was career-changing in many ways. It was my first foray into M&A and I managed the data room for our due diligence response. It was high-profile exposure and by the time Local Measure acquired Loopon in 2019, I was well equipped to guide both the organizations seamlessly throughout the process.
Lastly, with the Covid-19 pandemic, cash management became super important – availing ourselves of every dollar in government support globally and careful spending was a huge focus of my efforts during 2020, in particular. It’s certainly been a period in my career I will never forget.
What advice would you give to anyone pursuing a career in Finance?
My primary advice is to develop your soft skills. Technical finance skills are your ticket to play but your soft skills, including your ability to communicate effectively at all levels will help you stand out and go far in your career.
To be a good accountant you need to be inquisitive. Don’t take numbers at face value. Instead, interrogate them so you can tell the story behind the numbers.
Join a professional body (CA/CPA) and earn your qualifications. Keep abreast of changes and keep learning. But most importantly, back yourself. Look out for mentors and managers who will be your cheerleaders and help set you up for success.
Lastly, your days are jam-packed. What are your best tips for unwinding and switching off?
I’m probably not the best person to ask for advice on this topic, especially at this busy time of year, but I am pretty strict about doing my 10,000 steps each day. Getting outdoors for a walk is not only good exercise, I find it’s a great way to switch off, relax and clear my head.
Interested in a career with Local Measure? Find out more here.