Client Stories: Caldey Island

Caldey Abbey

Interview with Rev. Kevin Simpson, Caldey Island Finance Manager

We caught up with Reverend Kevin Simpson who handles the island’s finances to learn how they adapted to cloud finances to work smarter and enable remote working measures during the pandemic. Plus how LHP helped support management of their beautiful island as ‘a reassuring presence’.

Tell us about Caldey and how you came to be here.

Caldey is a small island near Tenby, Pembrokeshire less than a mile off the coast. It’s one of the holy islands of Britain and since Celtic times has been inhabited by monks during various periods.

Monks first came in the 6th Century. Pyro, the first abbot is remembered in the island’s Welsh name, Ynys Byr or Pyro’s Island in English. Then came Saint Samson, from the Celtic monastery in Llantwit Major. Viking raids ended this settlement in the 10th Century and the Cistercians took up residence (over Benedictine monks) in 1929, re-establishing a tradition of Cistercian monasticism in Wales.

As successors of the first Caldey Cistercians, the current monastic community continues to pursue their vocation of prayer, study and work, with tourism as a main source of income.

It’s very important we are sustainable. The island welcomes thousands of visitors every year on boats from Tenby and we’ve also developed a wildlife sanctuary with a very visible and growing red squirrel colony. The history and heritage of the island is very important to us as current stewards of the island. We work to maintain it and its spiritual serenity for future generations to enjoy.

When did you join LHP and how have they helped?

Caldey has been with LHP as our auditors for some years. Our wish to move into a more digital age of accounting coincided with LHP taking on our accounting , and so almost seamlessly, we moved into a full time working relationship and a cloud-based system in January 2020.

Being in the cloud proved invaluable during the pandemic, allowing for an efficient ‘working from home’ structure enabling staff to carry on regardless of where they were locked down. Matthew Williams, Cerith Williams, Iwan Morgan and the wider team at LHP have all been really helpful training and supporting us.

Our previous accounting software was a desktop-based ledger system. It was a bit of a technical challenge to move everything up a notch and learn to let Xero guide us along to work smarter, not harder, just like the Xero advert says!

Xero not only makes processes simpler but it meant the LHP team had immediate access to our finances at the same time – in real-time and are always to hand with advice for occasional queries that pop up. If I were to describe LHP in 3 words it would be ‘a reassuring presence.’

Let’s Talk

If you found this story inspiring and want to learn more about our cloud accounting or audit services, please get in touch with the team, let’s talk.

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