Jo Fuller, Percipient, looks at the importance of accounting standards in the hospitality sector and explains how they have incorporated USALI into Sage Intacct to drive best practices.
The bedrock of any organisation, the accounting function not only processes core financials but delivers analysis and management insights from which to inform planning and strategy.
Many hotels across the world utilise USALI (Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry) to support a consistent means of presenting operating statements and financials.
The framework allows hotels to analyse the activities of a property according to pre-determined standards. Crucially these allow hotel organisations to organise information, measure the assets, provide data to both internal and external stakeholders (including regulators), and then use the insights to plan, develop strategies and budget appropriately.
Typically, this spans pricing, sales, purchasing, cost of goods sold and materials, and cost of staff, to better understand the level of profitability at both a departmental level, for example, bar versus spa, as well as comparisons across different hotels within a group.
But there is a significant amount of work involved in adopting the standards, which contain thousands of different accounting codes, many of which aren’t directly relevant to modern hotels. This means that the process of interpreting, contextualising and implementing the standard can be prohibitively time-consuming.
In response to this, Percipient’s USALI experts have utilised their wealth of expertise and experience in the standard, to optimise the value contained within Sage Intacct for its hotel customers. Through undertaking extensive work to interpret, distil and refine the most relevant aspects and codes of USALI, and dimensionalising these within Sage Intacct, USALI’s standard reports have been incorporated into the beat-in-class FMS to facilitate consistency and ease. This ensures that accounting processes can be adopted and accessed seamlessly, and represents a standardised means of accounting across the entire sector.
The inclusion of USALI’s common processes, department schedules, codes and reports means that every hotel property is accounted for in precisely the same way.
Not only does this consistent way of accounting across every property underpin best practices, reduce risk and facilitate productivity, but the use of clear steps, templates and reports means that FDs and accounting personnel can immediately pick up and run with accounting functions at new properties, whether it’s a newly acquired hotel or new role.
Through making this information available in a dashboard format to all stakeholders, best practice is adhered to, accuracy and timeliness optimised, and consistency guaranteed. Detailed data can be uploaded according to location, whether it pertains to EPOS, time and attendance or sales, to track the relationship between resources and income, and maintain tight control over spending and profitability in real time. It also provides customers with the ability to better manage, track and code processes to ensure consistency and clarity. It also facilitates the smooth integration of entities as and when mergers or acquisitions take place.
Best Practice in a Package
The application of USALI to Sage Intacct delivers the very latest capabilities and standards from which to demonstrate best practices, optimise process performance and drive optimum levels of efficiency in the sector. It also represents the latest development in Percipient’s mission to promote best practices and make the process as seamless as possible for its customers.
So irrespective of market, hotel size, or management structure, hotels within a chain can be compared in a quick, consistent, easy to understand way, to identify trends, anomalies or flag performance issues.
It can look at the extent to which it is advantageous to maintain certain services or staff arrangements in order to generate profit, without having to manually crunch numbers which inevitably will result in a lag and potential for inaccuracies.
Having the very best foundation from which to launch new services, and initiatives, whether internal or external, is imperative as we embrace a new era of hospitality. Taking a modern approach to standards by adopting these as part of a leading FMS platform, is without doubt, a game changer in instilling resilience, and driving market share for the hotel industry going forward.