Samuel Larkings was the first person to hold a Business Sales position at Spotlight Reporting—before him, it hadn’t been done. In his previous role as a Sales Development Representative, he proved so passionate about supporting business owners and CFOs that the Business Sales role was created for him. He now works with businesses across Australia and Asia, and even paved the way for the recruitment of Russell Kibbee, Business Sales United States and Canada.
“I’m keen to continue in this area and develop it further, because it’s not something we’ve ever done before,” says Sam. “It’s exciting to be on the forefront of it. A pioneer, if you will.”
Despite being an introvert, Sam Larkings is very much a people person. This is evident in the work that he does, helping business owners and CFOs get the most out of their financial data through Spotlight Reporting. He derives satisfaction in work and in life through helping people, he says, and our tools are the perfect platform for him to make a real difference.
“What I do effectively is save people time,” Sam says, “and give them the insights they need to get to where they want to be.”
On the Other Side of Reporting
In a previous life, Sam worked in retail for eight years.
It was his job to go through the store's profit-and-loss statement every month, to figure out where he and his team could improve. This was his first taste of the frustrations of traditional financial reporting—the reports he was sent were un-engaging and difficult to read.
"There’s a lot of value in being able to identify what your trends are, what to look out for, and being able to actually monitor your business performance"
"I'd essentially have to spend time decoding them before I could develop a sales strategy," he said.
Now in charge of Spotlight Reporting's Business Sales Australia, Sam’s eager to eradicate incomprehensible financial reporting across the board, by replacing it with Spotlight’s easy-to-use software. He enjoys showing his clients how the power of our reporting and forecasting tools can free them from the frustration he used to feel as a manager.
"It really is satisfying, working through problems with potential and existing clients," says Sam. "They have an issue, Spotlight Reporting can solve that issue for them - it's a bit cheesy, but I love getting to that 'aha!' moment."
As a people person, Sam's easy to talk to, friendly, and charismatic. But these traits came to the fore when the major events of 2020 hit Australia, and Sam's business clients began to be affected.
"There were some really tough conversations," he says. "We have some clients in the travel industry, and it's been a pretty tough slog for them. I heard some awful stories from clients, who had to let go of 70% of their staff, or were expecting a 90% drop in revenue."
It was during this time that Spotlight’s tools became more relevant than ever for his clients.
“Giving them the ability to forecast for the best and worst-case scenarios stops them from getting bogged down and wasting time,” says Sam. “The tools help enhance their focus so they can adapt and move forward, rather than getting stuck figuring out where they are and what to do.”
"Clients have an issue, Spotlight Reporting can solve that issue for them - it's a bit cheesy, but I love getting to that 'aha!' moment."
Having the numbers on hand proved crucial to businesses who were looking to shake up their strategy. For example, Hemingway’s Brewery used multiple forecasts and scenarios to chart a way forward, despite the crippling effect of their regional lockdown.
"Most of Hemingway’s revenue came from their venues, so they decided they were going to have to focus on customer sales instead,” said Sam. “But they remained pretty optimistic. It was like, well, what are people going to do while they're stuck inside? Hopefully, drink beer!"
As well as being a wealth of knowledge on the ins and outs of reporting and forecasting, Sam is incredibly supportive and empathetic. He often found himself lending a listening ear, and appreciated the opportunity to step up for his clients.
"Being someone people could talk to was a way I could help,” he says. “We were all in it together; there wasn't a single industry that remained untouched."
Out of the Office
In his spare time, Sam enjoys relaxing and recharging by reading books, or playing video games. But when he’s not at home engrossed in some tome or other, you can find him out on the greens with his friends, playing golf for high stakes.
“Whoever loses has to buy the beers,” Sam grins.
Although he likes the social element, what really attracts him to golf is the feeling of achievement when he gets it just right.
“It’s a love or hate relationship, really,” he says. “You can only blame yourself when you don’t play well. But there’s nothing more satisfying than when you get that perfect hit. I don’t know how to describe it, but if you can walk away from a full nine rounds of golf and feel good about it, it’s a really nice feeling.”
As for the future, Sam isn’t sure of his next steps—like many, he’s had to factor the pandemic into his planning. But once the world opens up again, he’s keen to travel.
“Japan is the number one destination on my bucket list,” he says. “But that’s probably not going to happen for a while. So it gives me more time to save!”
In the meantime, he’s working hard on expanding Spotlight Reporting across the business space.
“There’s a lot of value in being able to identify what your trends are, what to look out for, and being able to actually monitor your business performance,” says Sam. “Business software is a rapidly growing industry, and we have a well-established platform—I’m looking forward to what comes next!”