In a recent issue of The Superyacht Report, we asked for captains’ comment on budget management systems currently available. The responses had a common theme: that the current software used by captains was antiquated and not appropriate for superyachts.
The unique issues faced by captains when managing budgets for yachts mean that there is a need for specialist software. From fuel provisions to crew supplies, captains often have substandard systems to record expenditure. Captains cited a propensity to use Microsoft Excel to manage their budgets, but this often lacks security measures and is time-consuming. Also, this system can easily be full of mistakes, due to human error and manually inputting the data. A captain, who wished to remain anonymous, explained the reason behind this: “The main reason captains use Excel for budget management is that it is the simplest and cheapest option.”
Voly, a newly launched software, hopes to ameliorate the issues encountered by captains. In research conducted by the Voly team behind the project, it became apparent that the industry is in need of superyacht-specific software. Speaking exclusively to SuperyachtNews before the official launch today, Rob Moore, CEO of Voly, explains how simple, functionality was at the heart of its development: “What we’ve developed is a piece of accountancy software that is easy to use for the crew, and anybody else, they don’t need to be an accountant to use it,” Moore begins. The software incorporates a prepaid Mastercard, which can instantly record card transactions and send real-time notifications each time the card is used.
“Within Voly, we have three elements, which is the full lifecycle of expense management: Firstly, the card you can make a purchase on; the in between stage, which is the crew app, simplifying the process of expense management; finally, it’s the back end side that provides real-time visibility to either the owner, the captain or the management company,” adds Jonathan Allbut, head of yachting for Voly.
Captain Mike Rouse, M/Y La Familia, was involved in the initial development of the software. Speaking to The Superyacht Report earlier this year, Rouse commented that the specialist features are designed for a captain’s requirements. “Yachting input and influence is obvious as you navigate around the screens. The system has been professionally tailored to fit a superyacht’s accountancy needs.”
For Captain Rouse, along with others in the pilot programme, it’s been a successful method to keep track of all the yacht’s financial transactions, as well as having an additional level of security. “The budgets are especially easy to record and manage because I can see what I have budgeted in the past compared to what I have actually spent. Budget reports are colour coded for under and over spends and are easily modified to my yacht’s expenditure categories. Once set, I can lock the budget too,” he says.
The element of security is an obvious advancement from using Excel or other programmes. Voly ensures that all the data uploaded to the software is fully encrypted, meaning all of the client's sensitive data is secure. It also offers monthly subscription services and a 24-hour online help tool for the yachts, but perhaps the most useful aspect of the Voly programme is that it can be linked to other assets within an owner’s portfolio. For example, an owner can use the software for their private jet, house and superyacht, all within the same programme. As Moore explains, “We are giving clients something that is designed specifically for yachting, but where they can also record other asset’s expenditure on it as well.
As the demands of a superyacht are specialist, it makes sense to provide a tailored service to those who work onboard. Driven by the needs of the industry, budgeting software Voly looks to fill a gap within the market and make a complex process a little less arduous.