How holiday park operators can gain a clear view – in the cloud

08.07.2024
Mark Bullimore
Hospitality and Leisure
Mark Bullimore, Lovewell Blake

For complex, multi-faceted businesses such as holiday parks, cloud accounting is a vital tool to ensure you have up-to-date financial information.

Mark Bullimore, Lovewell Blake

The hospitality and leisure sector is one where businesses can be surprisingly complex.  Even a seemingly focussed business like a holiday park can have lots of different aspects to keep on top of: accommodation bookings, bar takings, restaurants, entertainment, activities and so on.  And in many cases each of these parts has a different VAT rate, different payment channels and vastly different cost bases.

When you are running such a business, knowing how well each distinct stream is performing, keeping on top of cost control in so many varied areas, gauging profitability, and planning where to invest for the future, can be tricky.  It requires focussed, real-time financial information.

Unfortunately, that isn’t really provided by the year-end accounts, which is what too many hospitality and leisure businesses rely on.  By definition these are only generated once a year, and generally weeks if not months after the event.  Also, while they may give a snapshot of how each individual part of the business is faring, they are largely an overview of the overall picture.

Fortunately, a solution does exist, and it’s in the cloud.  Cloud-based accounting systems really broke through when HMRC introduced its Making Tax Digital initiative, and the motivation for many businesses to sign up was purely compliance with the taxman’s stipulations.

But what almost every business which made the switch to cloud accounting found out is just how useful it is in giving business owners and managers bang-up-to-date financial information on a really granular level, especially in multi-faceted businesses such as holiday parks.

With the ability to integrate both the business bank account on a live feed and card payment apps into cloud accounting packages such as Xero, you really can see yesterday’s takings today.  Not only that, but as long as the system is set up with the correct VAT rates for each part of the business, the dreaded VAT Return becomes a cinch: the system collates all the information, calculates the input and output VAT, and can even submit your return to HMRC.

But taking your record-keeping online isn’t just about how you submit VAT returns to HMRC; it’s about how you keep your underlying records, and how that data can help you run your business better.

There are many benefits to cloud accounting: having up-to-date information at their fingertips can transform the way entrepreneurs plan and monitor the progress of their business.  That information will be more accurate, more timely and more accessible than it could ever be with traditional record-keeping methods.

For all businesses – and especially the multi-faceted operations commonly seen in the hospitality and leisure sector – cloud accounting will ensure you have the best tools to run your business – as well as saving your valuable time in inputting data. 

Another bonus is that this technology also allows your business advisers to give better quality advice, because it will also be based on the most accurate, up-to-date information.

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