Case study: Accounting in paradise
Sipping local Pinot Noir while nibbling on Windsor Blue, arguably the South Island’s best cheese, in the comfort of Queenstown’s newest boutique hotel is tough to beat, no matter how picky your taste. Throw in easy access to Milford Sound, bungy jumping, fly fishing, skiing and a luxurious body therapy and it’s easy to see why the Queenstown Park Hotel is one of New Zealand’s most sought-after retreats.
"We appeal to discerning travellers because of our personalised attention to each guest and their needs,” says accounts administrator Kathryn Brown, sounding more suited to the hotel’s PR department than its finance team.
The Queenstown Park Hotel is nestled between the picturesque Queenstown Hill Recreation Reserve and deep blue Lake Wakatipu, just two minutes on foot from both the water’s edge and the city’s vibrant downtown. The cosy 19-room escape opened in December 2007 and incites labels of ‘chic’ and ‘hip’ to describe everything from its architecture, rooms and atmosphere to the wide array of tailor-made excursions and holiday packages.
The hotel is equally progressive with its office operations, having added QuickBooks Hosted accounting software.
One of six companies under the Christchurch-based Westwood Group umbrella, the Queenstown Park Hotel required an efficient method to connect with, and deliver its company file to, the Christchurch office.
Brown began with QuickBooks 2007/08 Pro. As the hotel’s needs expanded, she upgraded to QuickBooks Premier, which enabled multiple hotel staff to enter data and invoices directly into the software. Multi-user access has always been a requirement but that often means more data, expanding the company file to the point where it’s too large to e-mail.
The file needed to be divided into multiple segments for electronic delivery. This cost time, effort and expense, while taking staff away from more important administration tasks
An avid QuickBooks endorser, Ms Brown jumped at the chance to incorporate QuickBooks Hosted in late 2009 to eliminate the e-mail difficulty. And since the software mirrors the desktop product, no additional training was required. She now enjoys much smoother accounting procedures as a result.
"Our Queenstown and Christchurch offices are both QuickBooks Hosted users, allowing both to work on the same file online at the same time,” she says. "We thoroughly recommend this product.”
The software contains all the features of the award-winning QuickBooks Enterprise QBi series with an identical look and feel to the desktop product. There’s no software to install or network to maintain. QuickBooks Hosted enables users to not only manage their accounts and finances from any PC with internet access but also to share financial data with their accountant, bookkeeper, and business associates instantly.
Brown also credits the software’s ease of use in improving the Queenstown Park Hotel’s accounting operations.
Several staff possessed no accounting background and they now find it elementary to perform even the most complex work tasks. Plus, since Brown is more often in Christchurch than Queenstown, she’s able to jump online to guide staff through any difficulties they may experience.
One of many additional advantages in operating the business with QuickBooks Hosted is always having the latest software, she notes. The software includes all product updates, including legislative and tax changes and accordingly, there’s no need to purchase additional software or upgrades.
In addition to working on the company file, Brown uses the software to generate a wide range of reports which enable her to analyse everything from yields, item sales figures and payroll entry to expense trends and budget-to-performance comparisons. Another priority is recording costings on waste and energy consumption to help the eco-friendly hotel secure a Qualmark Environmental Gold award. Ultimately, they all contribute to a better-run business for both hotel employees and visitors.
Of course, Queenstown Park Hotel guests aren’t going to care about those numbers or the company’s improved accounting operations but then again, why should they while savouring a sunset Central Otago pinot noir?