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The Bowden Group cuts costs with mobile app

The Bowden Group, a consulting firm for the hospitality industry, created a mobile application to help clients calculate Britain's value-added tax rate, which increased 20 percent in January.

The VAT rate is a tax that is paid when purchasing good or services within the European Union, including Britain. Bowden Group used MobiFlex to develop the application.

"The Bowden Group was aware that the task of adjusting prices for the new VAT tax rate was a job that could be made for that purpose," said Ian Flush, new business manager at The Bowden Group, London.

"The Bowden Group created an app for that purpose," he said. "Because we were able to develop the app itself, publish it and pay for only a small number of users, the cost was greatly reduced."

The Bowden Group is a consulting firm to Britain's hospitality industry.

Mobile app
In addition to the application that helps consumers calculate the value added tax rate, the company also developed a GP Calculator app that let its clients check individual item gross profit margins.

The company primarily developed the app to help restaurants, hotels, pubs and other hospitality-driven businesses manage their profitability.

The app lets businesses enter their costs and then choose what they want to charge and find out what margin they want to achieve. The app also shows them what they need to sell the item for.

"The app will become invaluable to anyone who needs to calculate profitability on an item without any fuss," said David Hunter, owner of Bowden Group.

"Once you enter your costs, you can choose whether to calculate your profit margin if you sell the item at X price, or calculate the selling price required to achieve X percent margin," he said. "Both of these calculations are key to a business remaining profitable.

"However, many businesses fail to do these calculations at all or, at best, apply a rule of thumb that is far from accurate."

The application uses the standard VAT rate of 20 percent to calculate the margins, but the first update will add a variable sales tax rate. The added feature lets users calculate items on a zero VAT rate.

According to The Bowden Group, MobiFlex significantly reduces the up-front development costs, giving the client the ability to manage costs on an ongoing basis.

"It shifts the costs of running an app ? whether or not it is for sale, for internal company use or for use just as a promotional tool ? away from being a risky upfront investment to being a reasonable monthly cost that can be budgeted and managed in terms of return on investment as the use of the app varies," Mr. Flush said.

According to The Bowden Group's Mr. Hunter has been welcomed by many.

"Everyone we have shown the app to has been knocked out by its simplicity as well as its ability to take the guesswork out of the equation," Mr. Hunter said, "Now, a restaurant owner can know instantly whether or not new dishes on the menu are profitable.

"A shop wonder can work out in seconds exactly what he has to charge to make his target profit margin," he said.