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Powered By Spotlight: Two minutes with Marie Phillips from Gursey

Posted by Paul Gray on 11 Jun 2019

"We flattened our client's monthly distributions and built personal budgets to help them maintain their lifestyles. We also helped them budget and forecast their 2019 cash flow. As a result, we identified opportunities to hire new staff and launch an advertising campaign!"

Marie Phillips (Head of Accounting at Gursey, MBA & CPA) is powered by Spotlight and tells us how it helps their business and clients.

Marie Phillips

Hi Marie, great to be speaking with you. To get us started, why don’t you tell me a bit about your company and what you do? Gursey is a mid-size firm with three departments: Tax, Audit and Accounting, Business Management, and Litigation. We have several offices all over the coast in California.

I love my job – it’s super fun! Yesterday I pitched to an attorney’s firm and the day before to a large high-net-worth family office. Our client base is continuously growing: professional service firms like attorneys, wealth advisors, real estate management, small and mid-size businesses in industries like food, beauty, fashion, entertainment and some family office work too.

We get a kick out of automation and keeping our clients accountable to reach their goals. I enjoy finding new apps that make my clients’ lives and businesses more efficient. After testing an app, if it makes the cut, we add it to our app stack just like Spotlight!

"Here at Gursey, our saying is:“leverage technology to remove the man-hours out of accounting”, so we can focus on projecting the future (forecasting, budgeting, scenario modelling, etc.) and helping the client to run their business."

I love helping my clients accomplish their goals. I do that by taking the time to get to know them, asking the right questions, understanding their company on an operational level and implementing new technology and processes for them. I get excited when my clients grow and I feel fulfilled when they're empowered and can then focus on running the business, rather than being in it.

How long have you been working at Gursey and when did you first start using Spotlight Reporting?
I’ve been at Gursey for six years and started using Spotlight 18 months ago. I trained on the various modules and became an expert at cash forecasting and customizing reports.

What’s the main benefit of using Spotlight Reporting and what has been your experience to date?
We first heard about Spotlight at Xerocon. We were very interested and started using it for consolidation and reporting projects. Now, we also leverage it for cash forecasting purposes – especially when dealing with service firms, which are a large percentage of our clients. People want to know how much they’re going to take home at the end of the month. Our clients own their firms, they don’t get paid a monthly salary, and need to know what their monthly take-home distributions are.

"With the cash forecasting tool, we’re able to look at one year, identify cash inflows/outflows by month and what the total net cash balance at year-end will be."

We calculate a flat monthly distribution amount for each partner and a minimum cash reserve. If there’s additional cash left at year-end, partners can take a bonus distribution. It flattens out their take-home cash and protects the business from irregular distribution payments. In the past, we spent time figuring out book balances at month-end, drafting a cash forecast for the next month, and identifying the optimal distribution amount to be paid to each partner for that month. And if there was no money left in the bank for a given month, then there were no distributions that month. So we help clients manage their business and personal cash-flow with the cash forecasting tool in Spotlight. In fact, just ten minutes ago, I was in a meeting with my team and we were heavily customizing a Spotlight report to answer a specific client request. We definitely maximize the product a lot.

I was recently working with a service firm with four partners, each with different percentage ownership. It was their second year in business and they were getting worried about the large discrepancies in their monthly distributions. They needed to cover school tuition, summer vacation, home remodels, etc. and needed to rely on a more reliable cash distribution amount. We were able to flatten their monthly distributions and even build personal budgets to help them maintain their lifestyles. We helped them budget and forecast their 2019 cash flow and as a result, we identified opportunities to hire new staff and launch an advertising campaign. By using Spotlight, we were able to help them grow their company and as a result, their personal distributions too. They were excited, felt more at peace, and made additional strategic decisions using the Spotlight reports we created.

Which features do you enjoy the most and which the ones that make your job easier?
The ability to consolidate. In the past, we used Excel or our Audit software which was cumbersome to navigate. Now we’re able to consolidate hundreds of entities at once. That’s why we got started with Spotlight, but now we’re using the other tools too.

"I love the elimination entries and how simple that process is."

What would you say to someone who is looking for or shopping around for a reporting tool?
I’d definitely want to understand their business, their reporting needs, their goals, etc. I would have a lot of questions for them. If a client wants to track KPIs, progress on various projects, or needs to standardize reports, then I would highly recommend Spotlight.

Is your firm powered by Spotlight Reporting? If so, we'd love to hear from you. To be part of our customer stories segment, contact our Product Marketing Specialist, Paul Gray: pgray@spotlightreporting.com.

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