The start of the new year is always a good time to reflect and plan for the year ahead. It’s also a great time to dive into your accounting systems to ensure your business is in tip-top shape. At Fireside Accounting, we work to ensure to our clients have an accurate and constant finger on the pulse of their business.
We’ve compiled a few key points for you to review as we kickoff 2019!
1. Consider Implementing a Reservation Program
The offerings and variety of reservation programs tailored for outdoor hospitality industry continues to grow rapidly! A reservation program can save you and your staff time and headache by managing all reservations for you. Additionally, most all programs integrate with an online booking engine and with the increasing desire of campers to book their stays online, an online booking presence will help you reach more campers and increase your revenue! Another important note here for any campground owners considering selling their parks: reservation programs provide historical sales and occupancy information that buyers and financial institutions may require. Financial and performance data that can be backed up with reports from the reservation program is generally more trusted than hand-crafted or hand-calculated reports.
2. Review Your Chart of Accounts
he Chart of Accounts (or list of GL codes) are the accounts in which your revenue and expenses are posted and where they are reflected when you produce financial reports. You will want these accounts to be set up in a way that will give you detailed categories to help you make better business decisions. You can be as specific as you want to be! For example: post revenue from your Deluxe RV Sites, your Premium Pull-Thru RV Sites, and your Park Models all in separate GL accounts. Post expenses for Housekeeping, Utilities, Repairs & Maintenance, Landscaping, Front Desk, Guest Services, Marketing, and Payroll all in their own sections and sub-categorize even further from there! By specifically categorizing your revenue and expenses, you’ll gain a better view of where your money is being earned and spent. What categories are you spending too much in? What revenue categories are thriving and could support a rate increase and which ones may need a boost through special promotions or discounts?
3. Set a Budget
Just as important as tracking what you have earned or spent, creating a detailed operating budget and comparing to your actual performance is a critical part of effectively managing your business. It’s often times that an owner or operator will have a roadmap to success planned out in their mind. Translating that vision for your business into an actionable budget is a critical part of planning for that success. Without a budget in place, how can you track the actual profitability of your park compared to that roadmap you had envisioned? Setting the expectation of your financial goals with yourself (and your manager and staff) with the use of a detailed operating budget will better help to ensure that you stay on the track of your roadmap throughout the year.