Woodlea has had a clear goal for the last seven years: as a fully integrated master planned community, provide people in the west of Melbourne with wonderful, affordable homes, along with opportunities like employment, education, retail, commercial, and community services.
According to Project Director, Matthew Dean, who oversees the day to day running of the business, “The aim is to provide land and townhouses to our purchasers as efficiently as possible without compromising on quality.”
That meant their business needed to be operating in a similar manner.
When starting out, Woodlea considered hiring a financial controller, but soon realised they were better placed having a multi-faceted business as a project partner, allowing them to tap into a much greater array of services.
“Accounts Payable (AP) was the biggest challenge. Fortunately, one of our joint venture partners, Mirvac already had a system that we were able to tap into and with the help of RSM, managed without having to employ an in-house AP team,” said Dean.
The impact of COVID-19 has proven challenging, but Dean believes the property and construction industry has handled the economic uncertainty remarkably well. However, the path through the pandemic could yet be a long one.
So, how did Woodlea go about finding a trusted partner?
It started with a recommendation back in 2015. They were introduced to RSM via one of Woodlea’s joint venture partners, Victoria Investments & Property (VIP), who were receiving RSM services, which were also compatible with Woodlea’s requirements.
Matthew Dean states:
“Within the Woodlea business, RSM plays the role of a financial advisor. This is extremely important as they provide an independent set of eyes to make sure that the company is managing its money correctly. RSM assess Woodlea’s finances and give advice on financial performance, risk management, superannuation, retirement, financial benchmarking, and tax.”
Patrick McMaster, a Principal at RSM Australia, added: “In providing the services of an independent financial controller via RSM, we see a critical advantage to our role as being able to bring the strength of a variety of RSM personnel and multiple service lines, to their business. The relationship, therefore, provides the business with access to high-level professional advice.”
As the Woodlea business has continued to grow from a team of three staff in 2014, to a team of twenty – along with a team of over twenty specialist consultants and over ten contractors – the relationship with the RSM team has continued to grow and strengthen.
“The knowledge and first-hand experience that Patrick, Dan, and Rob possess are extremely valuable for a company like Woodlea, as we don’t employ an in-house CFO."
“We speak to the RSM team daily. They assist the Woodlea staff by undertaking the finance and accounting tasks that would normally be undertaken by an in-house CFO. They are extremely responsive, and work is always first-rate and delivered on time,” - Matthew Dean, Woodlea Master Planned Community
Why is this important? It leaves the Woodlea Team to concentrate on the core part of their business which is the delivery of infrastructure and land sales.
“To best serve the Woodlea Management team we communicate regularly on all finance and accounting matters, to ensure they have the best available information on how the business is performing,” said Patrick McMaster. “This allows the Woodlea team to concentrate on the core business and deliver great results.”
Where will Woodlea be in the next five years?
Dean says, “The Woodlea project will have matured significantly by that stage and will be home to around 13,000 residents. The focus will be on the delivery of community infrastructures such as a Public Primary School, Indoor Sports Centre, and a Major Retail Centre.”
THE FINAL WORD
When we asked Matthew Dean the three words that best describe Woodlea’s relationship with RSM? “In-depth experience, confidence in the services provided, great communication.”
“The Woodlea business is a great success story and the RSM team has thoroughly enjoyed partnering with their team over many years. We are thrilled to play an important role in Woodlea’s success,” said McMaster.
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