Celebrating her 10-year milestone at 8020 Consulting, we caught up with Radha Abboy to delve into her memorable projects, professional growth, insights for aspiring consultants, and more. Radha’s diverse experience at 8020 spans from optimizing inventory management to contributing to major corporate acquisitions, making her journey a testament to expertise and versatility in the consulting world.
1. How do you think you’ve grown in your time with 8020?
I think I’ve grown by way of my financial and accounting skill set. I didn’t have a solid foundation with FP&A when I joined, and I’ve been able to grow that over the last ten years. I’ve also grown into more senior accounting and Controller-type roles. With that has come a greater confidence, a greater ability to deal with the C-suite and a greater capacity to deal with remote and international teams.
2. Can you give me a rundown of three of your favorite projects?
Skills, People, Experience
The first is my longest project I’ve had thus far, which went from 2014 to 2017. It started as a system implementation, and that developed into me working within the group doing FP&A work. They were replacing an old system with a new financial planning and analysis tool that could integrate into their general ledger.
That project ended up falling through at first, but I remained on as one of the team members became pregnant. That became the second FP&A project I had at 8020, and it allowed me to really dig into that process and develop that skillset. And when the system implementation came back around, I switched my time and efforts to that.
As I developed more and more friends in different business functions, I was able to experience a lot. It was a skills and people experience combination that made it a good project.
Ebb and Flow
The second was a memorable project in the sense of getting insight into how amusement parks are developed, from creating rides and the engineering around them to the creative aspects and integrating all of that into one attraction. It was an interim financial management project in their finance function. In that role I was supporting a project in Hong Kong and one in Shanghai. I had no experience
s quite like that before. I’d worked for movie studios previously, but I had never had an amusement park client.
That is not a traditional FP&A role. Each project has its own project management team, and under that level, they have creatives and engineers and finance people that are also attached to the project.
They also have different metrics. They look at headcount and what the labor is doing week to week and how that impacts the project. If they have any overruns, are people working overtime? Are they spending within the budget? How do we pull funds from other areas or other attractions to support needs? There are ebbs and flows as those projects go through their lifecycle.
The third is a project for a fitness equipment company that sells resistance bands, kettlebells, exercise mats and so on. And they also offer training by specific instructors that are trained on their equipment as a subscription.
They had a burst of growth when people started outfitting their home gyms in the COVID pandemic. I was deployed as Interim Controller in 2021, after the growth plateaued. It was my second foray into being a Controller, but the first experience wasn’t as robust as this one, which had aspects of day-to-day accounting and reporting and was really operating in the full function. I was remote and managed a whole team that was both remote and international, with a group in India and another in the Philippines.
It was challenging, but I experienced the most career growth in that role. It was a higher-level role with a lot of responsibility. I had to make decisions for the group and the accounting function, often on my own, using my knowledge and my intuition. It was a true management role that required all of my consulting prowess, and I had to make choices, move forward with them and get into a flow. I felt clear on where to draw lines, where to push and where to push back – it was a career confidence booster.
3. What do you enjoy most about your work these days, and how has it changed over time?
Overcoming new challenges has always been my favorite part of consulting. It’s true that some of the challenges don’t change. You’ll always jump into new work environments and cultures or need to get up to speed on client systems. But over time, you will face more complex challenges due to your professional toolkit and the higher-level responsibilities that come with being a more-seasoned consultant. It’s those unique and evolving challenges that really make the job interesting.
4. What advice would you give someone considering a career here?
If you are at a career crossroads and are open to the change and challenges of coming into a Client every so often, I would recommend it. It’s often not predictable as far as how long you’ll work for a Client, but consulting allows you to see different industries, work with different levels of management, and the projects are never the same.
This is not a fresh-out-of-college type of career. You must come with the ability to take instruction from a client, and you must have inherent good work habits. To function as a consultant, more often than not, you’re left to work autonomously. You have to be able to work without a lot of guidance, and I think that comes with a good level of work experience—probably five to seven years at the least.
Every Client you work for is going to be a different character. They’re going to like things a certain way. They react differently to the expense of bringing on a consulting firm: some are micromanagers, and some are hands-off. But they all want to see a certain level of work product. You have to be able to manage their expectations and styles and find a way to bring value.
5. What has been the most unexpectedly rewarding part of your career path?
I think the variety of work, the various industries that I’ve been able to experience within a relatively short amount of time, and the growth that I mentioned prior have been rewarding. It’s nice to look back on the things that I’ve been able to see, the magnitude of the projects, the scope of things I’ve worked on.
Looking back, I foresaw a career in something related to entertainment when I was in school. A family member of one of my classmates in high school was a CPA for a musical artist, and he came to school and spoke to us. And I remember that lightbulb going on. I love music, and I had an interest in accounting, and there was the convergence of both of those worlds. That was not necessarily a goal, but more an aspiration.
In my career, I worked in audit, moved to Paramount for about six and a half years and then joined 8020. I made that leap from Paramount just to acquire more skills. I had the desire to gain FP&A experience, and it was time to facilitate some change.
I initially looked at 8020 as a stepping stone, and here I am ten years later. It’s a big stepping stone; I’m still stepping!
It’s interesting to think of the girl from a small suburb of L.A. sitting in class listening to that CPA. Today, I could be in front of a classroom speaking about my own experiences.
6. What do you think are the top three skills that every consultant should have?
Patience, patience, patience. If you give me five skills, then I’ll add confidence and good communication.
7. How would you describe the culture here?
Among the consulting team, the culture is collaborative, and we have a lot of commonalities. A lot of us have similar industry experiences, live and work in L.A., have similar skill sets and generally are like-minded people. In projects in which I’ve collaborated 8020 team members, we work well together, feed off each other and are very supportive of each other.
8. Looking forward, is there something that you hope to continue growth in or do?
I’d like to continue getting projects under my belt that are akin to the Interim Controller role at the fitness equipment company. In general, I’d like to continue doing challenging work with increased responsibility.
9. Is there anyone you want to acknowledge or thank?
There have been a few former mentors who have lent their advice and support over the years and continue to do so. And many fellow colleagues and peers, whether it be at the clients or in my prior work experience, who have offered their support and friendship over the years, not just at work, but in my personal life too.
10. What are you most excited about currently?
Spending more time with family and friends. I’m looking forward to getting through the remainder of the year, and hopefully making some travel plans in the near future.
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