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ETC hospitality – outsourcing financial services for hospitality

Etc Hospitality provides cloud-based accounting solutions to cafes, restaurants, hotels and contract caterers up and down the UK. It aims to improve their clients’ business performance through optimised finance management, so that business leaders can spend more time making money than dealing with it. As a result, robust IT security and top-level compliance with the GDPR are an absolute must.

In 2009, just after the financial crash, Alan Morgan and Stephen Easthope set up ETC Hospitality. The business was established to help restaurants, bars and hotels navigate the challenging economic landscape, supporting business leaders in improving their financial performance and putting long-term growth plans in place.

Ten years on, ETC is the leader in cloud-based accounting solutions for the hospitality sector, working with a diverse portfolio of clients including single-site hotels, contract catering companies, high street chains and Michelin star restaurants. ETC offers support in a range of ways, from the financial set-up, through to technology development, providing timely management information, and developing financial models to underpin expansion and growth. The goal is to offer a bespoke solution or service subject to each individual client’s priorities, with an overarching aim to drive efficiencies and give management teams time back to focus on running and growing their business.

“We are really proud of how far we’ve come and the brands we now represent. Our clients include The Westmead Hotel, Richard Corrigan Restaurants, Bird Restaurants, Green & Fortune, The 10 Cases, Artist Residence and many others. Ten years ago, we couldn’t have dreamed we’d be working with such esteemed businesses and hospitality leaders,” says Stephen Easthope.

Fusion of technology with business processes – a winning combination

Technology has always played a key role in ETC’s proposition. Alan and Stephen seized the opportunity presented by cloud services to create a unique fusion of cost-effective technology and business processes to develop an accountancy solution tailored to hospitality businesses.

Alan Morgan comments: “A good example of our evolution is the close relationship we have with Fourth over many years. This relationship has proved a great partnership and historically seen us taking over its Fourthsite service, which added numerous new clients to our portfolio, many of which are still with us today.

 Taking care of day-to-day IT

The relationship with PAAC IT has been instrumental in allowing ETC to focus on innovation and in underpinning its technology leadership. Alan first approached PAAC IT in January 2016 in his search to find a partner to manage and maintain the company’s laptops. Over the last two years the relationship has grown with the business entrusting PAAC IT with an entirely outsourced IT service. “PAAC IT plays a significant role in our business and we see the team as an extension of our own. Just as we offer outsourced solutions to our clients for accountancy, we have outsourced IT to Richard and his team, added Alan Morgan. “The arrangement enables us focus on our business without having to be distracted by day to day IT and ensures we are continually reviewing and improving our systems and processes.”

The Internet of Things (IoT) in action

Etc Hospitality’s devices are linked to PAAC IT via the internet. This allows PAAC IT to use a small software agent to monitor and manage all of Etc Hospitality’s devices remotely, scheduling upgrades and maintenance at times of minimal inconvenience to the company’s staff. Remote monitoring and the ability to install software patches quickly is a key driver of cybersecurity and among the biggest benefits of PAAC IT’s managed IT services.

In addition, all of Etc Hospitality’s PCs are equipped with security and encryption software from ESET, also remotely monitored by PAAC IT. This enables the company’s teams work with clients onsite while ensuring that their data is protected wherever they go.

Enabling the company’s growth

As Etc Hospitality grew, so did the complexity of its IT estate. PAAC IT showed the company that migrating to Microsoft 365 for email and storage would not only reduce cost and complexity but also increase security. As part of the migration, PAAC IT implemented client-specific folders with restricted access, increased password robustness and applied two-factor authentication for emails and data.

Addressing the GDPR headache

More recently PAAC IT helped Etc Hospitality prepare its staff and its processes for the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. Stephen explains, “We used PAAC IT’s GDPR templates to work through the documentation. The new regulations are very prescriptive, so having a set of templates — together with PAAC IT’s expert guidance — really lightened the load.”