Evolving Matta’s creative agency business model

MATTA

“FD Works can perform every financial function that you can possibly imagine, at pace.” Matt Campbell, Matta

Matta is a creative agency with a focus on the sports industry, creating inspiring campaigns, branding and marketing for the world’s biggest sports brands.

Matta came to us looking for two key things. They wanted the functional side of their accounts and financial management taken care of. But they also wanted FD-level advice on the strategic direction of the agency and the underlying financial and business models that would drive their growth.

We’ve helped them focus on the sports marketing sector as their core niche and have helped them pinpoint the need for a client base of larger sports businesses who can benefit from their skills while delivering high-level, and stable, revenues to fund the agency’s expansion.

We caught up with Matt Campbell, Founder and Executive Creative Director, to find out what it’s been like working with us.

Being a trusted finance team… and more besides

“FD Works understand that you’ve got to understand why an entrepreneur wants to be in business and then find a great way to make that happen commercially” Matt Campbell, Matta

Prior to founding Matta, Matt had headed up another creative agency, Futureproof, and that experience meant he had some fairly clear ideas around where Matta needed financial help and support, as he explains.

“You need someone to run the accounts on a day-to-day basis; to bookkeep, to balance the books and to price off the transactions etc. Then you have mid-tier stuff, so someone to create monthly accounts, add some commentary and give you a view on where the business is on a month-by-month and week-by-week basis. And then you need some top-level, value-added, strategic direction from someone who is commercially very savvy – an FD-type person to look at the business and help you to build financial plans, project where you want to go and understand the cash-flow implications of how you want to grow.

What made us choose FD Works was their functional proposition and the fact that you can pay the equivalent of what would be a midweight financial head in your business, but get access to every single level you could imagine from quite a big business’s financial department. They can perform every financial function that you can possibly imagine at pace, at those levels. So to have access to the right people to do the right jobs at the right cost is perfect.”

Understanding the creative and entrepreneurial mindset

One of the key things that sets FD Works apart from some other accountancy firms is our outlook on doing business. We’re always looking for the entrepreneurial angle and ways to help our clients seize an opportunity or take the next step in their growth – and that approach was something that really resonated with Matt and the rest of of the team at Matta.

“With financial people in some institutions you get a slightly risk-averse, numbers-first or cash-flow-first type attitude. That doesn’t always marry perfectly if you’re a new business, if you’re entrepreneurial, if you’re a creative business and you’ve got creative people in there.

You want your financial arm to be good, but you also want them to be positive and you want them to be entrepreneurial and you want them to be able to converse with the set of creative, visionary people who want to do something that’s not the safest option. And I think, culturally, FD Works are really unusual for a finance institution in that they address that very well.

The previous accounting firm that we were with at Futureproof was very, very traditional. They were great, they were good people, but they weren’t a great cultural fit with our business. And, therefore, they didn’t integrate as much as FD Works has done and didn’t add as much value.”

“They understand the risk/reward thought process of an entrepreneur, and build a commercial plan around that, in a way that I haven’t seen other financial institutions do.” Matt Campbell, Matta

Helping to deliver MATTA’s vision for the agency

Where our client relationships differ from some accounting firms is in the depth of our understanding of our clients goals. Getting to know clients as people, and getting a real handle on their vision for the business, is fundamental to what we do.

“What FD Works does is seek to understand what you as people, and you as a business, are about first. So they almost have a consultancy stance first of all, which is asking ‘What do we want to do? And how do we want to do it?’. And then, the numbers and financials come second to that.

The financials are almost the enabler to your vision. Whereas I think with other accounting firms the financial are used to curtail your vision or shape it in a less risky way. FD Works understand that you’ve got to understand why an entrepreneur wants to be in business and then find a great way to make that happen commercially. And they seem to strike that balance really well, I think.”

A financial institution and a creative agency would usually be, culturally, at opposite ends of the spectrum – and we are definitely not with FD Works Matt Campbell, Matta

Why we’re the right fit for creative businesses

We find that our future-looking outlook on business advice gels incredibly well with owner-managed creative businesses. Where some accountants tend to put hurdles in the way of creative ideas, our approach is always to find a way to turn innovation into reality for creative agencies – and that’s something that Matt sees as one of many strengths of working with FD Works.

One strength is the functional, multi-layered operation that they have. From a functional angle, you get the right level and cost and experience of a person to do the right job.

I think that their culture is a strength as well. So the fact that they’re not your typical finance chaps and chapesses. They’re gregarious, they can converse and they’re a really good fit to work with us as a creative agency. A financial institution and a creative agency would usually be, culturally, at opposite ends of the spectrum – and we are definitely not with FD Works. That’s a great strength. And you feel that instantly when you’re in the room with them for the first time.

And I would say the other thing is the fact that they understand the risk/reward thought process of an entrepreneur, and the risk/reward profile of an entrepreneurial business. And they’re comfortable with that, they get that and they understand that they have to build a commercial plan around that, in a way that I haven’t seen other financial institutions do.”

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