Powered by Spotlight: Brendan Cole from HJC Accountants

After creating just two forecasts, Brendan Cole, Director at HJC Accountants, earned enough revenue to completely cover his firm's Spotlight subscription for the year.

“We’re good now,” laughs Brendan. “Two jobs in, and we’re well ahead. And this is without even really pursuing recurring forecasting work.”

Highlights at a Glance


This success isn’t the result of long years getting to know the software—HJC Accountants only subscribed to Spotlight Reporting in June 2020. They’d been looking for a software alternative to their DIY reports and forecasts, and Spotlight fit the bill.

“Spotlight Reports look slick,” says Brendan. “They look like a genuine quality result.”

Flying With Forecasting

HJC Accountants is a comparatively small firm, with 12 employees, including three Directors. Their purpose is to give individuals and businesses the confidence to live without financial concern, and they pride themselves on their constant growth and evolution. Brendan describes their function as “general accounting work,” and says that business advisory is a key part of their mission. 

“Compliance work has to be done, but that's not where the value lies,” he says. “That advisory aspect is where we both grow our businesses. Clients I help with advisory work tend to have strong results. I don't think that's a coincidence.”

Prior to using Spotlight, Brendan and his team prepared forecasts using an MYOB template that came with the software. The results were adequate, but not as in-depth and professional-looking as they could have been.

"I was able to charge for a service I wouldn't have been able to charge for before, because it just wouldn’t have been as accurate.”

“We’d almost shy away from forecasting,” he says. “If clients wanted a forecast, we’d drag our heels a bit. It wasn’t good at all.”

Although cashflow forecasting was a service that HJC Accountants offered, the limited nature of their software hindered them in providing it. So after researching the relevant apps on the market, Brendan chose to subscribe to Spotlight Reporting. The result: more detailed, intricate forecasts that drove more revenue for the firm.

Brendan Cole

A Construction Case Study

The second forecast Brendan ever created was for a construction client, who was making a submission to the local council for a five year tender. They wanted an accurate prediction of the costs of scaling up in order to take on the job, and an opinion on whether the earnings would make the effort worthwhile.

"Clients I help with advisory work tend to have strong results. I don't think that's a coincidence.”

With Spotlight Forecasting, Brendan was easily able to create a forecast that took into account the extra costs—new hires, more equipment, more trucks, bigger premises etc—calculated against potential revenue. Using drivers, and being able to have a percentage basis for some of the costs, made the forecasting process smoother than it had ever been before. In the end, Brendan was able to produce several different options based on different revenue outcomes, allowing his client to decide exactly what they were willing to price their services at.

“If that opportunity came up 12, 18 months ago, I would have been a duck out of water, so to speak,” says Brendan. “I wouldn't have had the resources to come to the conclusion we were able to come to. I was able to charge for a service I wouldn't have been able to charge for before, because it just wouldn’t have been as accurate.”

A Return on Investment

HJC Accountants managed to offset the cost of their subscription in only two forecasts. To get there:

  • Brendan committed a small amount of time to learning the software. 
  • From there, he created his first forecast. Although a little trial and error was involved, he still managed to roll it out in around three hours. 
  • As a result, his next forecast he made was even easier to put together. It took two and a half hours to create, despite being a more complicated job.

“It was brilliant,” he says. “No issues there whatsoever. It cut my time spent down by at least a third, and gave a much better outcome in terms of quality.”

Spotlight has been a game changer for Brendan and HJC Accountants. By using our tools to complement their advisory services, they’ve been able to see immediate returns: higher revenue, time saved, confidence in the forecasts they produce, and more detailed insights for their clients.

Are you ready to take your advisory services to the next level? Book a demo with one of our team to see how Spotlight Reporting can transform your firm today.

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