Avoid These 5 Costly Campground Accounting Mistakes

Campground Accounting

TD Bank recently surveyed over 500 small business owners about what they love and hate most about owning their own business. Unsurprisingly, flexibility and feeling in control ranked first in the “love” category. Meanwhile, almost 60% said bookkeeping was hands-down their most hated task.  Most campground owners understand that effective financial management is key to their success. But lack of knowledge, frustration, and even avoidance can add up to campground accounting mistakes that derail future growth.

Protect your campground and reduce your stress by avoiding these five costly accounting errors.

Mixing personal and campground finances

From day one, campground owners should have a separate bank account in which to deposit their income and pay their business expenses.  It’s also crucial to designate a business-only credit card. Come tax time, separate statements will make submitting claimable expenses quick and easy, while reducing the risk of a painful audit.

Not using on Online Reservation System for your Campground

There are countless reasons why you should be using an online reservation system from marketing to improved guests experience to saving time and money with a decreased load upon your staff.  Keep in mind that we mean a true online reservation system, not a web form that a potential guest fills out in hopes of getting a reservation.  Those were nice 10 years ago, but as technology has advanced, most guest will (at best) see those forms as an annoyance.  A true online reservation system should allow guests to obtain a confirmed reservation within minutes of visiting your website without any interaction with another human being.   With all of the hosted, cloud-based reservation systems for campgrounds on the market today, it has never been easier to incorporate this into your website.  Today’s technology solutions give small campgrounds the ability to compete online with much larger competitors.   From an accounting system perspective, it will allow you to:

  • Reduce Bookkeeping Mistakes (or Fraud)
  • Avoid missing charges for additional guests, vehicles, late departures or other things
  • Assure that tax is appropriately charged on each transaction
  • Providing an accurate, up-to-date record of each guest’s visit and payment history
  • Make reporting to your accountant easier with reports that can be input directly into your campground accounting software
  • Automate and/or simplify billing functions such as sending out recurring invoices to seasonal guests for rent and electrical charges
  • Drive revenues by helping you to utilize your campsite space more effectively
  • Drive revenues by using yield management to better manage your campground pricing based on supply and demand
  • Drive revenues by creating add-on sales at checkout

Not using tech to track your campground’s expenses

Tired of chasing down missing receipts and struggling to justify claims come tax time? There’s an app for that! Choose from numerous options, such as Receipt Bank, Shoeboxed or Expensify.  Many of these apps generate expense reports that are easy to share, or sync automatically with campground accounting software like Xero.

Neglecting to develop a strategy for long-term campground growth

Effective accounting means managing day-to-day finances while planning for future growth.  Cloud-based software solutions offer easy ways to track your financials, but they also generate reports and provide analytic tools campground owners can use for future forecasting.  Talk to your campground accountant about which reports and metrics are most important for your particular business and how to utilize them.  Familiarize yourself with the reports your campground accountant provides you to track long-term trends, identify and mitigate risk, and discover new ways to increase profitability.

Final tip: Don’t go it alone

Campground owners are rarely trained accountants. Don’t try to manage your company’s finances all by yourself.  Collaborate with a trusted professional who understands your industry as well as the initiatives and plans that you set forth for your campground.  Invest in quality IT solutions, and spend some time familiarizing yourself with relevant tools and trends.

You’ll feel empowered, which is step one to forging a more love-filled relationship with your campground’s accounting!

At Campground Accounting, we specialize in working with Campground and RV Park owners throughout the USA.  Our industry knowledge is focused on taking the headaches out of campground accounting and helping you grow your campground’s value.  Don’t you owe it to yourself to see how we can help you?

Schedule a complimentary chat with us today.

Donna Bordeaux, CPA with Campground Accounting

What happens when you send two CPAs out into the relaxing outdoors to camp? You get CampgroundAccounting.com.  Donna and Chad have over 50 years of combined experience as entrepreneurial CPAs.  They’ve owned businesses and helped business owners exceed their wildest dreams. They camp and travel across the country every chance they get, so it’s just a natural fit that they focus their CPA skills on helping campground owners throughout the USA grow their businesses and minimize the impact of taxes.  They understand the key performance indicators and specialized issues that face RV park owners every day.

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