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French Duncan

Scottish Accounting Firm Wins Bigger Business in the International Hotel Sector With AccountsIQ

French DuncanWith a long-standing reputation for providing tailored accounting services to the hotel industry, scottish practice French Duncan needed a more advanced accounting solution to attract business from larger, multinational hotel groups.  Evaluating a shortlist of three Cloud-based applications, French Duncan’s Director of Hotel Accounting Ian Bremner ruled out both NetSuite and Twinfield in favour of AccountsIQ based on its functionality and ease of use.

Subscribing to Software-as-a-Service (Saas) solution Xero to meet the needs of smaller clients, staff at French Duncan were already converts to the efficiencies, flexibility and cost advantages of Cloud accounting.  However, Xero – designed for small enterprises – couldn’t give them the level of complexity, reporting and consolidation needed to win business at the higher end of the market. Ian Bremner says,

“We needed a solution to meet the needs of mid-market, international clients.  NetSuite was too costly and it would have taken a long time before we would have seen a return on that level of investment.  Twinfield didn’t have the right user interface and seemed tricky to navigate compared to AccountsIQ which seemed the least complicated system of them all.  Surprisingly, we found AccountsIQ performed better against our list of requirements than either NetSuite or Twinfield.”

Meeting the Accounting Needs of International Hotel Groups

French Duncan brought industry specialist Ian Bremner on board in 2016 to develop a proposition which would appeal to the higher end of the hospitality market including international hotel groups.   On what he set out to achieve, Ian Bremner says, “We knew we had to take a Cloud approach to create the kind of service our larger clients want at a reasonable price – remote access, more efficiencies, less paper, less time.  We also need quite complex functionality including multi-company consolidation and multi-currency accounting.  We were never going to get there with Xero alone as it couldn’t meet our evolving needs. We started the search for a mid-market cloud solution for hotels and we found AccountsIQ.”

The hotel industry has a specific set of accounting needs in which French Duncan specialises.  Hotels have a requirement for a moving cash flow forecast as well as a need to report in a standard format which complies with the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry – a US-driven yet global industry reporting requirement.  Fundamentally, every accounting entry needs to be coded to a globally-standardised list.

“Xero got us part of the way there when reporting to hotel industry regulations, and we had to do the rest of the data manipulation in Excel.  However, AccountsIQ can be easily configured in a way which makes pulling these regulated reports really easy.” Ian Bremner, French Duncan

A Cloud-led, Paperless Practice

For ‘Cloud first’ firm French Duncan, it is vital their accounting software integrates with an automated document entry application, saving the practice at its current size almost 500 data entry hours per month.  AutoEntry is a Cloud-based application which captures, analyses and posts invoices, receipts and statements into Cloud accounting solutions like AccountsIQ.  Talking about French Duncan’s move to a paperless office, Ian Bremner says, “We process between 3,000 and 4,000 client invoices per month using AutoEntry integrated with AccountsIQ, freeing up the time of two of our members of staff. Because the system is so simple to use, we are able to bring in entry level staff to operate this process. It is a safe and affordable means for us to offer apprenticeships. It gives those junior members of the team a comprehensive understanding of how accounting processes work and allows them to progress really quickly.   It considerably reduces the risk of human error, relieves tedium and saves time which, ultimately, we will be able to reflect in our time charges to clients.”

Currently, the invoice entry process French Duncan has adopted includes a manual quality check before invoices are posted to the accounts.  This ensures the correct VAT values have been applied and items are entered with the correct code.  The practice may choose to move to full automation over time should the computational errors remain as they currently are which is negligible.  In the meantime, the office is already paperless with clients or staff having remote access to electronic documents which can be sourced in seconds, anytime and from anywhere.

Future Developments with AccountsIQ

Over the next year, Ian Bremner and his team at French Duncan intend to make further enhancements to the system in two ways; focusing on the input side and focusing on outputs.  The projects already underway include: a back office integration with Oracle-owned hotel booking software Opera and providing business intelligence for clients with customised dashboards and readily available insights.

“We have a very clear idea of where we want to get to but we also know we can’t do it overnight.  Our continued service development, particularly in terms of providing more readily accessible analysis, will take time and careful planning.  From our experience so far, AccountsIQ is the right partner to help us move this forward.” Ian Bremner, French Duncan

Learn more about AccountsIQ’s Cloud accounting software.

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