In a vast glacial valley at an elevation of about three thousand metres in the eastern Himalayas, a remote village is home to the luxury small hotel, Gangtey Lodge. Adventurous travellers in the pursuit of authentic luxury are rewarded with sweeping views of the valley and of the revered Gangtey Goenpa monastery.
Bhutan might not be a country you would expect to find a business implementing a cloud-based accounting system, but that is exactly what the owners did.
Whilst Khin Omar Win and Brett Melzer had nailed many areas of the business (including a Condé Nast Traveller Hotlist award under the belt), getting easy access and up-to-date financial information to evaluate performance and plan further investment needed improvement.
"Something had to change. Our lodge finance operations are split over two locations and I'm based in Australia and travelling the globe often. We had to rethink our accounting processes and system. Our CFO advisor, Jane, helped pull everything together using cloud-based software, Xero," said Omar.
Making a change to cloud accounting
Omar wasn't afraid of being the first Bhutanese business to use Xero. And she wasn't afraid of the internet being a little patchy at times – it was easy enough to find a work-around for that. “We are in a remote location!” she said.
The features of Xero including automated foreign exchange revaluations, invoicing, sales tax reports, budgeting and easy access to financial performance were strong lures that influenced their system choice.
Why it works
What these owners love the most is the simple combination of Xero with Skype screen share. Frequent meetings are held where the team comes together from multiple places on the globe to review one set of financial data.
"With this model we can engage Jane, a qualified Chartered Accountant, on an on-demand basis to support not only us but our management and local accountants. She can see every transaction and it's really easy for our accountants to edit things in Xero.
Our budgeting and cashflow forecasting run smoothly and it's really easy for us to make investment decisions with our General Manger, Mark," commented Omar.
(From left to right: Sonam Gyaltshen, Khin Omar Win, Mark Wright)
Complying with local rules
The business recently transitioned to Bhutanese Accounting Standards for SMEs (mirroring International Accounting Standards). With the support of Jane and Indian auditor Debdip Chakraborty, the production of audited financial statements was seamless and the Xero plus Skype screen share combination a real time saver.
Local accountant, Sonam Gyaltshen, loves the Xero sales tax report. "The calculations are automated and there's a great audit report for us to check items before we submit to the tax office, it’s quicker than what we were doing before" he said.
After moving to cloud-based software the owners are unlikely to ever look back. New ventures now sit on the horizon waiting for their Xero call.
For further information on Gangtey Lodge, visit www.easternsafaris.com