Nouri Groom, the Head of Finance for the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF), uses Spotlight Reporting to consolidate the reports of his multi-entity business. Prior to his arrival, AIF’s financial reporting process was disparate and fractured, meaning that it took time and effort to translate numbers into actionable insights.
“Previously, a lot of the reporting was done individually by the regional offices, so there were a number of different ways that information was being reported,” he says. “Some were using Xero, some were using other accounting systems, and some were reporting straight out of spreadsheets, which was a bit concerning to say the least.”
After some research, Nouri decided to subscribe to Spotlight Reporting—and the benefits were immediately apparent. Not only was AIF’s month-end reporting time cut in half, but their management reports became more accessible for teams across the company—including those without a financial background.
“Within the first two or three pages, everyone knows whether it's been a good month or a bad month, and that allows them to be able to ask some really informed questions,” says Nouri. “We’ve had good feedback from our team overall, and are looking forward to the continual developments that Spotlight Reporting brings to market.”
Streamlining the Reporting Process
The Australian Institute of Fitness, the largest fitness training organisation in Australia, delivers qualifications in fitness that allow students to become registered personal trainers. They’re the number one fitness educators in the country, with the highest number of employed graduates in the industry—and they’re looking to expand overseas in the next few years.
As an educational facility, their faculty are well-versed with cloud-based collaboration software like the G-Suite. Despite this, their financial processes were lengthy and manual, with individual franchised entities sending in reports that would then have to be consolidated by hand.
"To be able to leverage off automation the system provides, that brings qualitative commentary to our quantitative data is exactly what’s required to achieve seamless reporting. It just makes perfect sense, and it’s something I’ve been looking for in other systems we use as well. It’s a huge benefit of using Spotlight Reporting."
Tasked with bringing AIF’s financial reporting into the 21st century, Nouri’s first step was to move all entities onto Xero, and transition from Microsoft Excel to Google Sheets. The hope was that with everyone using the same systems, they’d be able to roll out a centralised chart of accountants that each entity could follow.
But even with these process updates, it still took around 20 days after month-end to collate, consolidate, and create readable reports from the data.
“We were still seeing a lot of the reporting being done in spreadsheets from Xero exports,” says Nouri. “Because of this, there were a number of instances where we were concerned about the accuracy of data. It became quite obvious that there were a number of errors due to broken formulas, and hard-coded cells that applied to one month, but not the next. I started investigating a better way to report—and that’s when I found Spotlight Reporting.”
Key Features and Benefits
After having investigated all the relevant reporting apps in the Xero ecosystem, Nouri decided on Spotlight Reporting for a few key reasons. The look and feel of the reports generated, as well as the visual nature of the data is a huge plus he says.
“The fact that you’re able to white label, and customise the cover image, just makes for a visually appealing document,” says Nouri. “They’re also easy to review and interpret for people who don’t come from a financial background. Our operation staff, training staff, administration staff, and HR team are all able to easily pick up our Spotlight Reports and get the key information they need.”
The Auto-Text function in the Executive Summary is also a huge win for him.
“To be able to leverage off automation the system provides, that brings qualitative commentary to our quantitative data is exactly what’s required to achieve seamless reporting,” says Nouri. “It just makes perfect sense, and it’s something I’ve been looking for in other systems we use as well. It’s a huge benefit of using Spotlight Reporting.”
“Within the first two or three pages, everyone knows whether it's been a good month or a bad month, and that allows them to be able to ask some really informed questions. We’ve had good feedback from our team overall, and are looking forward to the continual developments that Spotlight Reporting brings to market.”
But most of all, Nouri values Spotlight Reporting’s Consolidated Reporting feature. It was a non-negotiable necessity for AIF, and he found the perfect fit in Spotlight Reporting.
“It was a must-have,” he says. “I needed a product that allowed me to compare apples with apples, where in the past we were really comparing apples with oranges.”
Spotlight Reporting’s Consolidated Reporting feature meant Nouri could bring the accounts of all his entities together at the click of a button. More importantly, using a single app to create reports across the business meant that reports were standardised, comparable, and easy to understand. With Spotlight Reporting, AIF’s month-end reporting timeline was cut in half, and the accuracy and confidence in the numbers increased dramatically.
“It’s not only the more-efficient process that I see that Spotlight Reporting really brings to the forefront, but also the accuracy of the data,” says Nouri. “If this data is in our accounting system, then that’s what’s going to be transposed in the month-end reports. The seamless integration between Xero and Spotlight Reporting is a driving factor in that confidence, and that’s a real value-add in the product.”