16 June 2021

An in-depth guide to Yacht Accounting

At Wilson Yacht Management Group, our team of qualified accountants take care of all day-to-day finances – from purchase requests to invoice payments and payroll.

Established in 1995, we currently manage the accounts on behalf of a large fleet of commercial and privately registered vessels.

We provide this support to Captains so that yacht Owners enjoy a sailing experience which exceeds their expectations.

Accounts Administration

All our vessels are assigned a personal Yacht Accountant who is the contact for all of the day-to-day accounting needs, building up a professional and personal rapport with the Owner, Captain and crew.

Designated bank accounts are opened for the yacht in either Euros, USD or GBP depending on the Owner’s requirements and sailing schedule.

The main accounting software program we use is Visma. This is a powerful multicurrency accounting software which allows us to enter transactions from any currency in the world and generate audit-ready reports in the currency of the Owner’s choosing. Ready to fit into the Owner’s global requirements.

We are always looking at the latest innovations to streamline our workflow, and we are currently in the process of implementing new software which will enable Captains and crew to record all cash and card transactions using their smart phones. The reports are sent to the yacht accountant on a weekly/monthly basis. Saving the time it would normally take to send paper accounts via courier, helping us to produce monthly reports even faster.

Our Yacht Accounting Services

Our experienced shore-based yacht accounting team oversee a wide range of services – including:

Preparing the annual budget

Owners want a clear overview of expenditure, so they know exactly how much the annual operation budget is going to cost to run the vessel.

At Wilson Yacht Management Group, we split the annual budget into three separate cost areas:

1. Operational costs

At the start of each year, we calculate a new budget for operations based on the previous year’s accounts and agreed cruising schedule. This includes input from the Captain and is always approved by the Owner before implantation.

2. Refit Cost

Agreed by the Owners and scheduled in advance, our team oversee the costs (barring any unexpected expenditure) to ensure all works come in on budget.

3. Non-budgeted costs

This includes the Owner’s cruising costs which are based on charter APA calculations, new purchases (items bought at the Owner’s request above normal maintenance) and legal and professional charges.

Oversee payment of invoices

Once an invoice has been verified and approved by the Captain, Owner or Manager; we make sure it is paid promptly to maintain a positive relationship with our suppliers and creditors.

Depending on the origin of an invoice and its amount, we can use a variety of different banking systems so that it is paid in the most cost-efficient way.

Arrange for cash to be available

Due to money laundering regulations, it is increasingly difficult to transfer physical cash for use on board. This can now only be done using approved agents; however, amounts are limited and fees are expensive.

It is more cost effective to issue pre-paid debit cards which are topped up when necessary. Cash can be withdrawn from ATMs and banks. These are also a good way to control the budget. All expenditure is verified and reconciled against card statements.

Cash is counted and verified at the end of each month.

Payment of captain and crew salaries

WYM employ all crew on Private or Commercially registered yachts under MLC (Maritime Labour Convention) regulations.

All crew are issued an SEA (Seafarers Employment Agreement) when joining the yacht and wages are paid from a designated USD/EUR offshore crew account in the Channel Islands.

Monthly management reports

Compiled to audit-ready standard, we track all on-board expenditure on a month-by-month basis – including:

  • Insurance
  • Crew Expenses
  • Operations
  • Non-budget Items
  • Refit Expenses

Presented in a clear and concise budget report, we highlight the budget vs actual spend – including an explanation of any under or over-spending.

A trial balance sheet, profit & loss and balance sheets are produced on a monthly basis.

Copies of all invoices, card and cash receipts are kept in house and archived for 7 years. Originals are sent to the owning company for their records.

Review all suppliers and services

We review all invoices for the yacht’s supplies and services to ensure accuracy and that a competitive rate is being charged.

By adopting this personalised approach, we can gain access to services for highly-competitive prices.

Arrange charter APAs for Captains

Many of our Owners engage in the lucrative market of chartering their yacht. Whilst WYM are not charter brokers, our accounts team are highly experienced in managing all aspects of the contract.

We produce detailed reports which give the Owner an instant overview on how much has been earned at any given time.

In recent years, we have created a comprehensive system for managing the APA (annual provisioning allowance). We work with Captains on a daily basis to ensure there is no over-spending, and we closely monitor all invoices and disbursements for any goods or services.

Working in partnership with us

Yachts often engage in hundreds of financial transactions every month – and keeping track of them can prove complex.

With our yacht accounting experts, you can keep a close track of every expenditure – no matter what currency it’s in.

At Wilson Yacht Management, our goal is to provide Owners and Captains with outstanding service to lighten the book-keeping burden.

To create a successful long-term partnership, we are in regular contact with Captains and Owners to ensure that all parties forge a good understanding and rapport.

If this sounds like an approach that could work for you, please get in touch – we can take care of a single or multi-asset fleet.

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