Client Story: The Gallery & The Cumberland Arms Hotel

Posted on 9/4/2019


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John Waltham and business partner Alex Taylor have drawn on the expertise of the Perks team for more than 10 years to help manage their hospitality businesses; including taxation, payroll, bookkeeping and accounting services. One of the key innovations Perks has notably implemented is the complete integration between their point-of-sale software and cloud accounting platform.
Perks Hospitality Services

In the heart of Adelaide’s CBD lies the vibrant Waymouth Street. Home to a healthy ecosystem of businesses and cafés during the day, it also boasts some of Adelaide’s best bars, restaurants, function spaces and pubs.

Among the most popular venues along this strip are the heritage listed Cumberland Arms Hotel and the chic entertainment-cum-art hub The Gallery. Both establishments are owned by John Waltham, a 20-year industry veteran who entered hospitality straight out of school and rose through the ranks to become a publican. He now works alongside his business partner Alex Taylor, and his brother Tom who also has a small share in both businesses.

For more than 10 years, John and Alex have been drawing on the expertise of the team at Perks to help manage the businesses, with the relationship now encompassing a full-suite of taxation, payroll, bookkeeping and accounting services.

John says this relationship has delivered several innovations to the management of the businesses and, notably, in recent years, Perks has implemented full integration between their point-of-sale software and cloud accounting platform, Xero – a pioneering capability in the hospitality space.

“Everything we do at our two venues come through the till system, whether that be sales, stock control or reporting, it’s essentially the management centre for our businesses,” he said.

“Perks identified a need to integrate this system with our accounting platform, to ensure that all the data being received at the till flowed through to Perks to ensure we can access an accurate snapshot of all our sales, debtor and creditor records in real-time.”

Led by Accounting Director Tom Paine, Perks worked closely with John’s point-of-sale software provider to deliver a solution that would provide the integrated capability that was desired by both parties.”

Tom has been with us throughout our time at Perks and he’s been really proactive in bringing ideas to the table about how we can be smarter in managing financial aspects of the business.

“Importantly, for us as owners, this has meant that we can focus on customer service and the frontline management of the business.”

“I come to work everyday with the confidence that the financial side of the business is taken care of and the knowledge that if any issues do arise, they will be flagged before they become a big problem.”

However, John says the management of finances hasn’t always been so worry-free. When he first started working with Perks, the relationship was focused on accounting and compliance only, while his bookkeeping requirements were being taken care of by a smaller practice that used outdated methods.

“When I first branched out into ownership of pubs, everything was being done by hand and we were still writing cheques each week to send to suppliers; there was a lot of manual processes involved that were really clunky and inefficient,” he said.

“Instead of having access to real-time data, we were having to estimate our weekly expenses which is difficult to do in hospitality because no two weeks are the same.

“This was where Perks played a critical role in recommending a better, more efficient way of managing these processes to streamline our reporting requirements and giving us that real-time data we need to manage our businesses on a day-to-day basis.

“A couple of months into a full-service arrangement with Perks we could already see the benefits through the efficiencies generated by automating the payroll and invoicing processes that we were previously doing by hand.”

John said Perks’ has also provided critical guidance in asset management, particularly when making the decision to acquire both The Cumberland Arms Hotel and The Gallery as freehold properties.

“We worked closely with Perks during that process as it wasn’t something any of us had much experience with,” he said.

“I know my brother had a lot of queries he worked through with Tom, particularly in analysing the value of the properties and how much we wanted to pay for them, so it was really important to have Perks there to lean on for advice.

“We also recently sold off a small share of The Gallery to a manager who works there, and Tom was really helpful in structuring that deal to ensure the process was managed properly and for everyone’s benefit.”

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