In this day and age, it is crucial for hotel businesses to adapt to disruptive trends such as personalised customer experience, IoT, and blockchain. Advancements will also bring new challenges to the hotel finance and accounting team, who must evolve to take on new responsibilities and provide key insight for the CFO’s decisions in the following critical areas.
Hotel Accounting Challenges in the Digital Age
1. Workforce monitoring and reporting
The hospitality workforce is made up of more types of employees compared with other industries. In details, a typical hotel has guest-facing staff at the front desk, hotel restaurant, and staff in housekeeping, back office and IT. While most of them are full-time, there are also part-time and tipped employees. Therefore, managing the payroll system is a critical challenge for the accounting part of the business.
In order to solve this problem, hotelier should look for a way to monitor daily labour costs, manage overtime, oversee daily payroll transactions, and enhance reporting functions. One of the solutions for this problem is a cloud-based reporting system that supports labour monitoring and management decently and seamlessly. Moreover, adopting a cloud-based reporting system can provide hoteliers with on-demand management and reporting of earnings to manage transactions in real time.
2. Consolidating different data sources
For multinational hotel chains, the amount of data originated from different sources can become overwhelming for the hotel finance team. With the nature of this data varying from STR reports, PMS data to guest satisfaction surveys, comments, and financial data, paralysis-by-analysis is unavoidable. Along with the rising popularity of big data analysis, hoteliers must leverage and interpret the insights behind this enormous amount of data to gain useful information and, hence, improve their operation.
If you recognise this as one of the problems your organisation is encountering, then a business intelligence and analytics tool can be the answer you are looking for. A BI and analytics solution helps identify the points that need enhancement and provide the best cost reduction tactics. This technology centralises your data sets, performs analytics on the accounting and performance data and, finally, identifies industry trends and support your decision-making process.
3. Backing-up for scaling demands
Hoteliers have to acknowledge and prepare for the high rate of fluctuations and constantly rising changes in recent years. Seasonal activities, portfolio turn-over, and one-time events, or unexpected events like natural disasters are the constant causes of changes for your in-house accounting team. While the additional tasks and processes caused by the high-traffic seasons every year can be foreseen, hoteliers must have plans to expand the finance team to avoid losing revenue as well as failing the customer expectation.
On the other hand, sometimes natural disasters can cause serious problems in hotel businesses. Therefore, hoteliers must have a backup plan to prepare for the worst-case scenario for not only the operations but also for the finance function of the organisation as well. In the volatile hotel industry today, hotel’s finance talent must be flexible for scaling according to the demand of the business and keep the operation running in the event of a disaster. In other words, hotel-specific finance talent must be able to scale on demand to offer the needed skills and ramp up quickly.
The automation and digital transformation have caused major changes in the hospitality industry. Besides the tools to support the guest-facing functions, hoteliers cannot skip the software that helps balance out the challenges for the finance functions of the business. Customers today have raised their expectations, thus, forcing hotels to also innovate their operations. The high-tech tools help streamline operations, optimise labour management, deal with a sufficient amount of operational data being generated every day, and finally, introduce you to the current world of Digital Innovation.