To get us started, why don’t you tell me a bit about Interactive Accounting and your role?
Interactive Accounting is an ‘advisory-first’ modern accounting firm based in Sydney and Melbourne. We have a team of 16 across the two cities. We primarily work with high-growth small businesses and startups. We manage all our work internally (i.e. we don’t outsource) and leverage technology to deliver a high-quality client experience.
I’m the Managing Director of Interactive, and I split my time between delivering CFO services for various high-growth businesses and managing our fantastic team.
What does 2020 look like for you and the Interactive Accounting team?
We have big ambitions for 2020. We felt like we achieved a lot in 2019, with a number of clients completing capital raises, international expansion and successful exits, we feel this is just the beginning.
"We have big ambitions for 2020. Whilst we felt like we achieved a lot in 2019, with a number of clients completing capital raises, international expansion and successful exits, we feel this is just the beginning."
Our goal at the end of 2020 is to be the go-to boutique accounting firm in Australia for startups and high-growth technology businesses. We have a lot of work to do to achieve that goal, but we feel like it’s well within our reach.
What were the major pain-points of your process prior to using Spotlight Reporting?
As a modern accounting practice, set up 10 years ago this month (yay!), we've always tried to leverage technology to enhance the client experience. Prior to coming onboard with Spotlight Reporting as a Super VCFO partner, we used a variety of other tools. We found them to be less than satisfactory due to being very time-consuming and delivering a sub-par product.
Pain points included using clunky, manual processes to compile data, needing to do consolidations across client groups via an Excel spreadsheet and various other headaches. I shudder at the thought of ever having to go back to that!
Alex, our Customer Success Specialist, mentioned the team at Interactive Accounting are Forecasting experts. What has your experience been like using Spotlight Forecasting?
We find Spotlight Forecasting to be a very useful tool. Whilst some of our startup clients require complex financial models that only Excel can deliver, a significant portion of our client base needs a smart, useful tool to help manage and forecast their cashflow position. This is where Spotlight Forecasting comes in.
With Spotlight Forecasting, with minimum fuss (but a high level of accuracy), we put together a financial forecast giving our client a level of insight and security they would not see otherwise. Because the application is intuitive, we can prepare this in a cost-effective way for our clients.
"With Spotlight Forecasting, with minimum fuss (but a high level of accuracy), we put together a financial forecast giving our client a level of insight and security they would not see otherwise."
When it comes to preparing forecasts for your clients, do you secure regular engagements or is it more 'one-off' project work?
For the majority of our small business and startup clients, they are on fixed-fee annual packages which have an advisory element combined with their ongoing tax and compliance. We have a rule at Interactive for these clients: every one of them MUST have some sort of budget or forecast (even when the client doesn’t think they need one).
Without a tool like Spotlight, this process would be far less efficient and our fees would need to be substantially higher to fulfil this mission.
By using Spotlight can you measure any increases in revenue or growth, or time-saving?
We save countless hours in our advisory packages by utilising the Spotlight suite of tools. From setting up their initial yearly and rolling forecasts, to reporting on a monthly or quarterly basis, the savings are huge. On average, compared to using other tools or manual methods, we’d save at least 4-6 hours per year per client. Across a client base of 300+ businesses, that’s a lot of hours being used for other things.
"On average, compared to using other tools or manual methods, we’d save at least 4-6 hours per year per client. Across a client base of 300+ businesses, that’s a lot of hours being used for other things."
What features do you enjoy the most, and which features make yours and your teams’ jobs easier?
Our favourite reporting feature would be the ability to consolidate multiple Xero files across multiple currencies with ease. It saves countless hours of manual consolidation work.
Another key feature that makes me smile on a daily basis is the customisable profit and loss analysis report. Without question, it is the page I spend the most time on when discussing financial performance with a client.
We also love, built in KPIs, Dynamic Rules in Forecasting and Custom Report Templates!
What would you say to someone who’s shopping around for a reporting or forecasting tool?
There are plenty of tools out there in the market, but if you need the ability to deliver sophisticated reporting to your clients in a timely fashion, you can’t really go past Spotlight. We’ve tried a range of tools for various specific features and functionality, but nothing else comes close. We love it!
Thanks Gareth and we look forward to seeing you and the team achieve your 2020 goals!