Have you ever dreamt that your hard work and diligence could take your career to a leading role in a business surrounded by market-leading professionals plus clothes, shoes and accessories? Then you and THE ICONIC COO Anna Lee have something in common.
Lee, who oversees the online retail company’s finance, People & Culture and legal functions, is responsible for making sure the organisation is sustainable and profitable – a far cry from her school days when she didn't exactly know what business was! After earning her CA, Anna went on a career journey that took her from a Big Four firm to a senior leadership position with Groupon before settling with THE ICONIC. She's now living the dream, working for a company she is very passionate about.
Here's a look at Anna Lee's typical work week:
I like to spend Monday morning finding out what everyone has been up to on the weekend. Working hard is important, but being a human is even more important. Next I'll analyse the trading performance from the week prior, and look at the key metrics. I'll make a mental note of any actions that might need to be taken ahead of my post-weekend catch-ups.
My first catch-up is with my boss and CEO, Patrick Schmidt. Together we review what's on our plates, the progress of our business goals and any requests from our global stakeholders at GFG (Global Fashion Group).
Next I catch up with my teammates to get an understanding of any issues or challenges their projects might face and how I can use my skills and expertise to help. I am surrounded by some pretty amazing individuals, so I always make sure I'm in constant contact because I find that work benefits from collaboration.
In the evening I have one of my two weekly sessions with my personal trainer. I'm a real believer in looking after myself physically, which translates to a clear and productive mind. I've learnt that having a balanced life that incorporates healthy eating and exercise is essential.
On Tuesdays I usually review upcoming campaigns and any promotional activities with our marketing and planning departments. Then I'll investigate our business outlook forecasts and projections. In the evening I often take calls from London with GFG on various business and finance matters.
I try to make time each week to get out of the head office environment and visit our Fulfilment Centre in Western Sydney, where our team picks, packs and dispatches orders to our customers. This place always has a great buzz with lots of activity on the floor. I take the opportunity to discuss with our COO and Supply Chain Director a host of topics, such as resourcing, productivity metrics, capital expenditure investment and culture improvement opportunities. It's important that I understand all aspects of the business - not just what happens at head office.
Our objective is to become one of the top employers in Australia. As People & Culture (P&C) sits in my remit, I spend a lot of time analysing our 'people metrics', including employee feedback, people's movements, need for new roles, talent pipelining and branding. I also review our actions with the P&C team to ensure our employee engagement and happiness metrics are high. Our P&C team members are some of the most passionate and talented people around, and I'm always excited to hear their suggestions and ideas.
Our customers are also very important - it is critical that we are true to them. I'll review the customer feedback reports personally. One of our core values is to be true to our customers and we've been fortunate that they tell us they are very happy. We make sure we measure this regularly.
We do a 'Stand Up' session at lunchtime where the Executive team address all staff and gives everyone an update on what's been happening during the week. Each month we also do a Q&A session where the Exec team answers any questions staff have submitted to us. We want to encourage a transparent culture, and this open way of communicating goes a long way to achieving this.
At 4.30pm we host office drinks, which are always well received by the different teams. Everyone has a chance to catch up, share a few laughs and, for some of the more active ones, play a few games of table tennis! The teams normally then head to the local watering hole - sometimes I join them, but often I'm just as happy to head home and have takeaway sushi and a glass of wine with my husband.
Online businesses need accountants too. Working as a CA can be just as much about shoes and fashion as it is about business growth and profitability.