My Reservation System Income is Different From My Financial Statements

Hello, fellow campground enthusiasts and entrepreneurial spirits! Have you ever found yourself looking at your reservation system and financial statements in utter confusion? You’re not alone. There’s a common misperception that these two systems should match up like a perfect camping pitch, but they’re more like marshmallows and graham crackers. Sure, they belong in the same s’more, but they’re fundamentally different.

Accrual vs Cash Basis Accounting: Understanding the Difference

Donna here, your friendly neighborhood CPA and RV enthusiast, with a passion for a progressive perspective on accounting. I’m all about breathing life into campground ownership and never missing an opportunity for exploration or understanding. So, let’s dive in and decipher why your reservation system and financial statements might seem to be playing hide-and-seek with your income.

Why Your Reservation System and Financial Statements Don’t Match

Imagine this scenario: you’re sitting at your desk, coffee in hand, ready to tackle your day. You open your reservation system and then your financial statements. Your eyes dart back and forth between the screens. The numbers, they’re… different. You feel a pang of panic. “Has there been a mistake?” you wonder. “Did I accidentally stumble into a parallel universe?”

Fear not, dear campground owner, there’s no need for a portal gun or a visit from the Doctor. This discrepancy is no cruel joke; it’s simply a matter of accrual versus cash basis accounting.

The Role of Reservation Systems and Financial Statements in Your Business

Reservation systems typically operate on an accrival basis, which is less about cruel world domination and more about recognizing revenue when the service is provided. So, when a camper books a spot, you haven’t earned that money until they’ve arrived and enjoyed their stay under your starry skies.

On the other side of the river, we have our financial statements. These guys are usually prepared on a cash basis for small businesses. That means the day you receive the payment, it’s considered income, regardless of when the service is actually provided. If you have to refund it later, that’s a reduction in your income.

Why Integration Isn’t Always the Answer

So, like a campfire and a bear-proof food container, these two systems are never going to be the same, and they shouldn’t be. Each provides valuable insights, but for different aspects of your business. It’s like having both a Phillips screwdriver and a regular screwdriver in your tool kit. You need both, but they’re not interchangeable.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But Donna, why can’t we just mash the two together?” Well, as much as we love a good mash-up, integrating your reservation system with your financial accounting system is a recipe for confusion soup. They’re tracking two different things, each crucial when you’re analyzing your business.

How This Applies to Your Campground Business

In the world of campgrounds, taxes are usually based on the cash basis, so that’s when you get the cash. But if you’re looking at things like dynamic pricing, rate increases, or occupancy levels, you’ll want to approach it from the accrual basis.

Conclusion: Embracing the Differences

So, next time you find yourself scratching your head over mismatched numbers, remember this: they’re different for a reason. And if you still have questions or want to explore other options for growing your robust campground business, we’re here to help at Now, go press play on your bigger ideas, because there’s more to life than business!

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Donna Bordeaux, CPA with Campground Accounting

Creativity and CPAs don’t generally go together. Most people think of CPAs as nerdy accountants who can’t talk with people. Well, it’s time to break that stereotype. Lively, friendly, and knowledgeable can be a part of your relationship with your CPA, as demonstrated by Donna and Chad Bordeaux. They have over 50 years of combined experience as entrepreneurial CPAs. They’ve owned businesses and helped business owners exceed their wildest dreams. They have been able to help businesses earn many times more profit than the average business in the same industry and are passionate about helping industries that help families build great memories.

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