How finance automation saves hoteliers from staffing crisis
September 5, 2023 | Insights
Industry in Focus with John Chinery, Sage Intacct Commercial Lead
How finance automation saves hoteliers from staffing crisis
In the summer of 2022, [97% of hotels] reported staffing shortages. And today, with the ongoing staffing crisis compounded by rising costs, hoteliers are thinking strategically about how they’ll safeguard financial performance by guaranteeing maximum capacity and a complete service offering.
Hoteliers and other hospitality leaders – mindful that staffing shortages will continue a while longer - are focusing on two core priorities. Firstly, eliminating unproductive time, and secondly, understanding how to get more from less, without placing undue pressure on their loyal teams.
At the heart of this is, of course, financial management software. But what may surprise you is its effectiveness in navigating staffing and skill shortages – namely through automation. Here we explain four creative ways how finance task automation saves hoteliers from the effects of staffing crisis.
1. Automate your repetitive finance tasks
Finance and accounting work is one of those crucial areas that can’t be paused, delayed, or scaled back. It is always a priority but controlling the books and making sound financial decisions becomes even more important during tense times.
Nevertheless, to combat staff shortages, hospitality leaders are pursuing greater operational efficiency in every department, finance included. The question is how to do so without increasing risk or sacrificing quality. And for many, the answer is automation.
This is because automation streamlines (and in most cases, eliminates) those time-intensive, repetitive but necessary finance tasks that bind staff to computers for hours upon end. As a result of automating repetitive accounting or spreadsheet work, hoteliers are seeing accuracy improve – and curbing staffing costs in the process.
That’s a win-win for financial performance and resource management. Here are just four resource-heavy manual tasks that you could automate:
- Multi-entity consolidations
- Inter-entity eliminations
- Bank reconciliations
- Accounts payable processes
For some hoteliers, harnessing automation is a matter of better utilising existing financial management software. For many others, though, upgrades or alternatives such as Sage Intacct are the best route forward. To better understand the operational efficiency gains your properties can find with automation, arrange a no-obligation chat with an expert.
2. Automate your book closing process
Alleviating current operational and financial pressure is a managerial urgency in hospitality. Equally important during uncertain times is preparing for the future - and being poised for its opportunities when they arise.
This is precisely why hoteliers are looking to speed up their book closing process. A fast close enables finance and accounting teams to move beyond handling the day-to-day reporting, and into the strategic finance activities – scenario planning, sales forecasting, inventory management – that will define future success. More crucially, having finance insights as quickly as possible allows you to make inevitable course corrects in a timely fashion.
But how do hoteliers achieve speed with less staff? Role sharing won’t suffice – financial management and analysis is a specialist skill. Adding to headcount is likely out of the question, too. Automation, however, is an ideal option that is accessible for every hotelier via the latest [financial management software].
Automation provides the desired speed, efficiency, and accuracy to close the books quickly, without demanding increased staffing levels. From here, hoteliers can detect any potential issues that could affect financial performance or competitiveness at the earliest opportunity.
3. Automate your financial truth
To achieve richer financial visibility, many hoteliers now combine financial data and operational metrics in their analysis and reporting. Doing so gives leaders a full and unique perspective of site and department performance. As a result, it is easier to identify opportunities to maximise revenue and minimise expenditure by connecting the dots between finance and operations. Broader analysis areas may include:
- Labour cost percentages
- Employee turnover rate by department
- Average daily room rate
- Revenue per available room
- Costs of goods sold
Despite the business-critical benefits, collating and analysing so much data, likely using different systems, takes a significant amount of time. Time that many hospitality organisations lack due to current staff and skill shortages.
However, by integrating financial management with all hotel systems, and automating the reporting process, you can use your team’s time productively and guarantee that important financial planning and forecasting work is completed, even when resource is tight.
4. Automate your value creation
Every hotelier is focused on maximising occupancy levels and RevPAR, now more than ever. Balancing these critical metrics is no mean feat when guests have lighter pockets and margins are tighter. But, by creating value (instead of cutting costs), you can encourage guests to stay a little longer and spend a little more – making a big difference to your bottom line.
In the past, value creation has been intrinsically tied to frontline service and as such, is considered resource heavy. However, with a staffing crisis on their hands, many hoteliers many hoteliers are exploring alternative ways to create value. One which favours automation technology as a means of identifying revenue generation opportunities by maximising existing investment.
For example, the latest cloud-based, integrated financial management software can reconcile cost and margin data from infrastructure across your entire estate. From car parking and Internet to restaurant goods and spa materials. You can specify bespoke, automated reports that highlight profitable guest bundles in real-time, the best of which are recommended to sales, marketing, and concierge teams.
Are you inspired to see what finance technology can do for your hotel or portfolio? Get in touch with Pinnacle – the leading Sage Intacct solution provider and integration experts.
Visit FIVE STAR FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE FOR HOTELS for more information now.