In order to create a global resource for the hospitality finance industry, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) began development on a global hospitality accounting system users guide this past March.
Recognizing that operating hotels is a global industry, HFTP determined that there is not a globally accepted method that financial professionals, ownership structures, investors and benchmarking information services can use to support efficient operations. There is also not a globally accepted method to monitor investment performance from region to region without significant assumptions and data mining.
HFTP’s Global Hospitality Accounting System Users Guide (GHASUG) will address this need.
Where does the project stand right now?
Currently, research is being conducted into current practices. This research will identify who is doing what in different parts of the world, with a view to establishing best practice and providing practical guidance for students, practitioners and professionals involved in the industry.
The guidance will be formulated by industry experts, based on the research findings. To date HFTP has commitments from major information benchmarking companies, hotel corporations, hospitality associations and globally recognized hospitality schools around the world.
Once completed, HFTP will make the outcome accessible online, together with analytical tools. It will be available at a minimal cost and users will have the capability to print versions if they desire.
The hotel sector currently enjoys the benefits of an accounting structure developed in the USA specifically for the industry. The Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry has been widely adopted, principally by US based operating companies, and linked to management contract terms. HFTP has been involved in this project for many years and will continue to sponsor the 11th edition in support and via a monetary contribution.
The Global Hospitality Accounting System Users Guide will provide for a wider community of information users, and demonstrate approaches to the production of alternative analysis of data for hotel performance measurement.
The first part of phase one — covering the UK and continental Europe — is now well in progress.
Under the guidance of leading hospitality accounting consultant and renowned author, Howard Field, student research teams participating in the HotelSchool Lausanne Strategic Business Project scheme have already been awarded a prize for their research.
Submissions have already been received from a variety of hotels and hotel groups. These have included Charts of Accounts, pro-forma Operating Statements and Coding Structures. Supplementary information has included definitions of operating/capital expenditure, operational statistics, and details of property size, facilities, location and category.
Additionally, researchers are identifying factors such as local practice or requirements affecting how and why management accounts are produced in particular formats.
A comprehensive listing of items forming an ‘indextionary’ of hotel revenues and expenses is being built, together with spreadsheets which can track items through to the P&L front page, or enable analysis to be carried out working back from the P&L to the details. Within the project, how to address language translation and detailed dictionary descriptions are issues being addressed.
What is next for the project?
The UK and continental Europe section research is due for completion by the end of June.
South and Central America research began in May. Preliminary planning has already begun for China and India to begin around the first of September. The last two segments will be Russia and North America.
Enthusiastic support for the project has been received from many quarters.
Following the regional research, groups of experts made up from hospitality industry professionals, owner representatives, educationalists and advisors will be formed to review the data and to formulate guidance and recommendations.
It is estimated that the project will take a further 12 months to complete.
However, this is a dynamic project and consideration is being given to a stair stepped roll-out.
Frank Wolfe, CAE is the CEO of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) and an inductee into the International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter @frankwolfe.