So who are you anyway, and what do you do?

I’m Richard Francis and I am the boss at Spotlight Reporting.  We sell business intelligence reporting tools to smart accountants, business owners, CFO’s etc.

What was your last job before getting into this?

I was the MD of the first Xero Accounting Partner firm in the world – Francis Consulting.  We work with high growth businesses, especially in tech and services.  This experience in strategic and virtual CFO work set me up very nicely for Spotlight Reporting.

And why did you decide to do what you do now?

There’s only so much hair-raising excitement to be wrung from accounting – plus it really was time for some decent, cloud-based reporting, forecasting and dashboarding tools to be shared with the people.

What song of the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s still gets your feet tapping today?

Wow – where to start…Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac is a good foot-tapper/air-drums song, but a child of the 70’s couldn’t go past Stairway to Heaven for serious air-guitar/pass the cheap wine moments.  Love the Stones too from that era.

What is the biggest challenge facing accountants/bookkeepers/your industry this year?

Relevance.  Doing shit that adds value and deepens client relationships, rather than looking in the rear-view mirror for ungrateful clients.

Is there still room and time for a new cloud-accounting software company to emerge and compete successfully?  If so, what niche does it need to fill?  What should they offer that others don’t?  What should they do differently?

Yes.  There are tens of millions of users stuck on desktop software or using EXCEL or a shoebox.  These guys will migrate in time to one of the leaders such as Xero or QBO, but there’s probably 10 years for the desktoppers to get with it and seek a solution.

If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

Buy more Xero shares when they were $1.

If you could retire now, what would you do? Or not do?

I love giving back to start-ups and entrepreneurs generally, so I’d do some “worthy stuff”.  And read.  And travel.

If you could buy anyone a drink in a bar and chat to them about anything, who would it be, what drink, and what would you talk about?

One for the googlers here, but I’d buy Patrick Leigh Fermor a drink in a small, rural Greek taverna and ask him about his amazing life as a resistance leader in the war, traveller on foot through Europe in the 1930’s, and his amazing connection to Greece, history and language.

If you could walk up to anyone, kick them in the shins and shout something at them, who would it be, and what would you shout?  Go on….get it off your chest!

Being topical, I’d walk up to Putin, give him a kick and say: “Don’t be a Dick!”  Then I’d run like hell…

If you could walk up to anyone and hug them, who would it be, and why?

I would hug one of my awesome children, because kids are fab and I always feel so much better when I hug them. 

What’s your favourite meat and gravy meal?

A Sunday roast in an English – sorry, Irish – pub, with Yorkshire pudding and gravy in front of a roaring fire.  Heaven on Earth.

What is your greatest achievement?

Shhh, it’s just about to happen but I can’t say yet…

What do you want to achieve that you haven’t as yet?

World domination working 4-8 hours per week from the beach-house.

What’s next for you?

Spotlight Reporting is going global, baby.

Richard is CEO of Spotlight Reporting


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