Posted on 29/11/2022
Nestled in the heart of the Yorke Peninsula in the town of Kadina, The Royal Exchange Hotel is the epitome of country hospitality – cold beer, hearty pub meals and friendly service.
Publicans Dion and Janine Pomery purchased the business in late 2016. Just when they had settled in and become accustomed to all the eccentricities of owning and operating a hospitality venue, they were struck by a major set-back. The Royal Exchange Hotel was ravaged by a kitchen fire in October of 2017, which amounted to almost $1 million in damages and loss of income.
Faced with the reality of having to rebuild a significant part of their business, they found themselves exhausted with maintaining the back of house business administration, let alone the day-to-day running of the hotel.
“Working in the hotel and maintaining our customer service has always been our priority. You can’t underestimate the value of being visible to your customers, particularly in a country pub where you have so many regulars that are the heart and soul of the place,” says Dion.
“We couldn’t afford to have this fall by the wayside, particularly in the aftermath of the fire when we were faced with additional costs to rebuild. The last thing we wanted to do was alienate the locals, who have been so loyal to our pub over the years.”
With their bookkeeping previously done in-house, maintaining the hotel’s financial and tax records over this time was a task they struggled to keep up with. They quickly realised that their small, suburban accountant was only going to be able to offer very limited help in this area. It was clear that there was a gap in their accountant’s industry knowledge and ability to deal with some of the stickier issues that they were facing – they needed to find an accounting partner that could help them grow and scale their business.
Perks was referred to them through a member of their extended family who was also a Perks client and initially, they were only engaged for The Royal Exchange Hotel’s 2020 year-end tax compliance work. The Pomery’s were so impressed with the Perks service that they decided to outsource both their bookkeeping and management accounting work to Perks in February 2021 and haven’t looked back.
“Right from the start it was clear to us that Sam had a deep understanding of the hotel industry. Working with Perks has really freed us up to focus on the day-to-day operations of the pub, while having the confidence to know that our bookkeeping is being handled behind the scenes.”
“We’ve also got a much better picture of what our financials look like, both now and in the future. Sam has been proactive in pointing out any upcoming tax obligations well in advance, as well as any areas that might need some tightening up so we can see further improvements to our bottom line,” says Dion.
One of the key areas that has gained great improvements was assessing The Royal Exchange Hotel’s financial structure.
In the wake of the rebuild and rotating COVID lockdowns in June 2021, Perks Accounting and Business Services Director, Sam Wagner, identified the tax benefits of an internal restructure that would set them up for success. They engaged the specialist advice of Neil Oakes, Director, Tax Consulting to inform the best course of action. The work was carried out before the end of the 2021 tax year and the business realised tax savings that contributed to their bottom line the following year.
With a much more streamlined business model, the Pomery family was no longer drowning in the financial side of their operations, and the service side of their business was reaping the benefits. The obvious missing piece was the payroll, which Janine was still doing internally week to week.
“Initially we were hesitant to pass payroll over to the Perks Bookkeeping division, as the nature of hospitality means there are a lot of last-minute changes to shifts and we didn’t want our team to feel like they had to speak to someone outside the pub if they weren’t paid the correct amount,” says Janine.
In October 2021, Sam presented a payroll solution to the Pomery’s in the form of Deputy, a cloud-based platform that could be integrated with Xero, the cloud accounting platform they had already established for their business reporting. As a real-time digital solution, they could see an up-to-date view of their financials. Having a digital, cloud-based solution also eliminated any pay discrepancies, as well as messy time sheets.
“Our team has access to the rostering and timesheet side of the platform which is accessible on their phone, tablet, or computer. There is no confusion about who is working when, and if something changes mid-shift they can enter it in on their side so it is accounted for at pay-day,” says Janine.
“For me, I don’t have to spend hours doing a pay run. I just approve the payment for the Perks Bookkeeping team to process, which takes me a matter of minutes.”
“We’ve also got the added functionality of attendance reporting and managing our employee leave, so I never miss anything when setting up our weekly rosters.”
“It was a no brainer making the switch when we could see the benefits it would provide to the whole team.”
Sam has assisted many pharmacy and medical clients in the key areas of tax compliance, business valuations and restructures, business transactions and transitioning their financial affairs to the cloud.
Advising on taxation and accounting, cloud accounting, financial forecasting, asset protection and business structures. Tom has a particular focus on primary production, thoroughbred racing, breeding and hospitality.
Pat’s work in the pharmacy and hospitality spaces has established him as a specialist in these industries. He has worked on profit improvement and financial forecasting across a range of pharmacy transactions.