Following is an interview with Miles, CEO of Moatrek Tours. Moatrek is a GECA client using their Virtual Accounting Team to replace their internal accountant. Read on to find out how this service allowed Moatrek to grow their business.
Firstly thanks for taking time out of your busy day to answer some question relating to GECA’s Virtual Account Team service.
- Can you tell us a bit more about Moatrek Tours?
Moatrek Tours is the leading provider of coach tours throughout New Zealand for mature travellers. Pre-Covid, we were split reasonably evenly between domestic mature travellers and mainly UK and North American tourists. The Covid pandemic meant pivoting our business to focus solely on the domestic market. Following this, and with the demise of several of our competitors, we are now the largest provider of coach tours in New Zealand.
- What made you consider the GECA Virtual Accounting Team?
Our business is split into high season when we run tours and it is non-stop activity. Then we move into the winter months or low season when there is little activity other than marketing and sales. We were sharing an internal accountant with another business and he was running short on capacity to support us both during the high season. We needed a flexible accounting resource who could meet our accounting requirements as and when we needed it. The Virtual Accounting Team solution provided by GECA gives us access to a team of accountants to meet the increased volumes during high season and then can be scaled back in low season.
- What benefits have you realised from the move to the GECA VAT?
Both the business and I have realised a number of benefits from the move to GECA. As expected, there have been cost savings over an internal hire, both financially, and in management time saved having to manage the internal accountant. Which made me so happy being able to avoid that. We are also finding we get a more consistent service as there is no down time for holidays or sick leave. This really helped when we went into covid related lockdown last year.
The team have also added operational improvements to the way we process ticket bookings which has improved efficiency.
Another benefit has been the improvement in our governance. Out Virtual Finance Team is led by Giles, an experienced CFO and Director, and he implemented a governance framework suitable for our business. This includes annual business planning and budgeting and then working with me to achieve this. It’s been great to tap his expertise and insights at our Advisory Board meetings to help me do a better job running the business.
- What challenges were there moving to the GECA VAT?
I did have concerns about business interruption especially as the change from internal accountant to the VAT took place during February which is one of our busiest months. However, Giles did a thorough scoping prior to transition and the implementation was done on time and without any major issues. Following the transition, there were regular meetings to iron out any remaining issues.
- Anything else you would add about your GECA Virtual Accounting Team experience?
The service has exceeded my expectations which is great. It really does feel like they are part of the Moatrek team. Everyone we deal with at GECA is always friendly and helpful. With 2020 ravaging most of the tourism industry it will go down as being a pivotal year for MoaTrek in terms of adapting quickly to survive. I can definitely say having access to the GECA Virtual Accounting Team was invaluable in assisting MoaTrek in navigating the pandemic and positioning ourselves for future success.