8 good practices in the accounting management of your travel agency

by François Lacoste-CPA auditeur,CA, May 10 2019
8 good practices in the accounting management of your travel agency

Managing accounting in a travel agency can sometimes seem tedious. The travel industry is unique. You need a specific accounting system that covers the accounting reality of the travel industry and more importantly, you need to optimize the use of your system to reduce the administrative workload of your agency staff.

Here are 8 best practices that we advise to set up as soon as possible to avoid wasting unnecessary time in your TravelWorks software in order to maximize management.

1- Date management

When doing accounting support periodically, we find that the people who enter the information in TravelWorks do not always make this information capture at the right date. The registration of transactions on the right dates is very important though! For receipts / deposits and for checks, this makes it possible to reconcile transactions to bank statements in the correct month. When you make the reservation with a travel supplier, you should ideally almost immediately make the invoice on the same date as this reservation. Differences between the actual date of the transaction and that recorded in TravelWorks, will lead to necessary corrections later, more complicated search processes and therefore a waste of time caused unnecessarily.

2- Adding a product in an invoice

The TravelWorks software allows you to either add a new product sold in an existing invoice, or, if you prefer, create a new separate invoice in the same folder for the second product sold.
Adding a product to an invoice can sometimes cause unnecessary problems. For example, a customer may buy a first product (eg a travel package) on a date and then order a second product (eg travel insurance) one or two months later. Adding the insurance in the same invoice as when you purchased the trip, which you have made several weeks in advance may cause some difficulties in reconciling the monthly insurance report that your insurance provider will issue you. In the specific case where the billing date of the 2nd product is supposed to be registered in a different month from the 1st purchase, it is preferable to issue a new invoice separately for this second product to facilitate the future monthly reconciliation with the travel supplier. In addition, the reservation of the package may have been made at the end of your fiscal year while the insurance must be accounted for in the new fiscal year. Another exception that would justify this same practice!

3- Collection of supplier receipts

When collecting your commissions through vendor receipts, it's important to configure TravelWorks to capture the information properly. It is best to sort the folders by folder number or by reference. If you have invoiced multiple items in separate lines in the billing, each line will be presented in the collection of vendor receipts. Sorting by file or reference, you quickly see all the receivables for the reference of the travel supplier. If there is a significant discrepancy, the necessary verifications must be made before validating the adjustment proposed TravelWorks. Several factors may explain a discrepancy: the commission rate in the invoice is inadequate, the agent failed to enter the final payment by credit card to the supplier, there is an error in the registration of the GST / HST / QST on commission. If the billing was done properly, you should not have any discrepancy between the amount receivable in TravelWorks and the amount that the travel supplier pays you.

4- The payment of agents’ commissions

It is important to establish a clear procedure for paying your agents' commissions. It is recommended to pay these commissions periodically. For example, you can choose to pay the commissions received for departures on the 15th of the month until the end of the current month or the previous month. Thus, you make sure that there is a minimal risk that the amounts of commissions change following a cancellation of the customer and therefore you save yourself the situation of asking an agent to refund a commission paid in excess, which is always very unpleasant for a travel agent. Generate your report at first by not checking the boxes or '' Outstanding customer receivables'' or ''Outstanding vendor receivables''. Then, generate the commission report by checking these two boxes in order to compare it to the first one. By choosing departure dates, you should only obtain the files completely paid for by the customer or the travel suppliers. If there are any files coming out on the second report that were not on the first report, you should investigate why the file was not showing up. This is a file in which there is clearly a balance while the departure took place which is probably abnormal.

5- Tax management (GST/TVH/QST)

In the travel field, the application of taxes is specific to this industry. There are several factors that can affect the amount of GST / HST / QST. If you are facing a verification of your taxes, it is recommended to consult an accounting professional to assist you during this verification and avoid unnecessary stress. Auditors in the various provinces involved in several industries unfortunately do not always have all the knowledge for the travel industry! What is the HST? HST for Harmonized Sales Tax. It is found in several Canadian provinces. The tax rate may differ from one province to another. Some travel suppliers will remit the HST on the commission. You must therefore code it in the GST box. Do not forget to always validate your tax report in TravelWorks according to your frequency of production because to omit to do so will double the amounts in the next report.

6- Month ends

Your conciliations are completed on the 5th of the following month. Billing is up-to-date. Your administrative suppliers have sent you their bills by email. You can close the month. Generate different reports to detect potential problems. The list of your travel account payable (differed not included) will allow you to see if any final payments have been missed or if credit notes for cancellations have not been made. Also generate your list of accounts payable (differed included). You should find commissions receivable for recent departures. All files whose departures are more than one month old must be investigated. Also review bank reconciliations, with all supporting documentation if this task is assigned to someone other than the owner. Finally, review the analysis of the last month's accounts to detect imputation errors.

7- The ‘’News’’ feature

TravelWorks offers you the possibility to manage news within your system. You want to transmit information in real time to all your agents without having to do it by sending an e-mail, this is the ideal function. The '' News '' feature that is available in the TravelWorks configuration enables you to inform your agents as soon as they log into the software. A nice tool to inform all your employees, including those working remotely. Perfect for delivering punctual promos to push first, new procedures to put in place within your organization or useful tips to help them perform better. Think about it, this communication tool can be very useful for you!

8- New management report

Recently, TravelWorks gives you the opportunity to generate a new relevant report: The comparative analysis by month. This report allows you to quickly visualize the performance (income / profits) by comparing it against the previous year month by month.
To generate it, you must go to the '' Reports '' section and select it from the list of reports. Subsequently, you can refine the report display criteria in this report, and in particular choose whether you want it agent by agent or for all of your agents.
This valuable report will allow you to monitor the performance of your travel agency in real time and quickly identify performance gaps from one year to the next, so that corrective action can be taken if necessary and relevant decisions made.


We hope that these good practices will help you in the day-to-day management of your travel agency whether in accounting or management terms.

We wish you a lot of success with your business!

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