Integrating Reservation Systems into Your Accounting System

Hi, it’s Donna here. I am at the ARVC (National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds) convention in Oklahoma City today. I’ve talked with a lot of owners of campgrounds and one of the common questions that we’re hearing is “should I integrate my reservation system and point of sales system with my accounting and financial system?” For me, that answer is going to be no, and I’ll tell you the reasons why.

I think both systems serve completely different purposes. Your reservation and accounting systems have different structures of keeping up with numbers, so for example, your accounting system is usually on the cash basis, so that means when you get income and you deposit it in your bank account, that’s when it becomes income. When you pay out income, that’s when it becomes an expense or a reduction in revenue in the case of a refund.

In the reservation system, it doesn’t work like that at all.  When you take deposits, it accounts for those appropriately, when people pay you their balances due when they arrive or when they check in, check out, you have other transactions going on. It’s more of an accrual-based system if you look at it that way. So, there are two different accounting basis, so if we try to force them to talk to each other, we generally make a mess of both systems which is not ideal. In our case, we utilize both systems to their fullest advantage by taking a look at what each system’s purpose is. The accounting systems should be used to analyze things like your taxes, your financials for lenders, and things like that. The point of sale and reservation systems should be used to analyze things like your occupancy, what products are selling well in your store or slow movers and kinds of pricing should you be doing. If you’re doing dynamic pricing, that really doesn’t have anything to do with your financial system. It’s strictly going to be in your reservation and point of sale system.

So I hope that helps you when you’re looking at reservation systems. Don’t be concerned about what they integrate with like Quickbooks or Xero or how they integrate. It’s really not a time savings. It convolutes both systems, so I don’t recommend it.

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