To date the majority of digital innovation in hospitality businesses, including hotels, pubs and clubs, has come in consumer-facing functions – customer service, administration, travel. In fact 64% of hotel guests said it was extremely/very important for hotels to continue investing in new technology to enhance the customer experience, according to an Oracle Hospitality survey.
But now hospitality business accounting and finance functions are beginning to embrace technology to the same extent. Considering these changes, here are three ‘A’ trends that are transforming hospitality and hotel accounting processes.
1) Apps – mobile, tablet and computer
The mobile revolution, above all other things, has completely altered the way hotel and hospitality patrons interact with a business. For example when booking a night’s stay in a hotel, all individuals need to do is take out their phone and everything is immediately accessible. From researching locations to comparing prices to paying for the booking, there is an app to cover every need.
The same can now be said for hotels’ key back-of-house functions such as accounting or bookkeeping. Mobile applications allow accounting personnel to access a business’ data figures remotely, at any time. This means accountants can transfer flexibly between multiple business branches while retaining full access to important data. Mobile accounting apps also allow individuals to check libraries of relevant tax tables. This access to up-to-date rates on demand makes it easier to plan a flexible tax strategy that maximises returns.
2) Automated invoicing and data extraction
Producing and processing invoices are a time-intensive use of an accountant’s efforts. The hospitality industry should aim to reduce the time spent on this procedure wherever possible. That’s where invoicing software comes in. Advanced digital programs can import entire invoices and datasets from multiple properties onto the same platform at once. This offers accounting professionals with seamless, on-demand access to all the information they need to determine the best accounting strategy.
Two-thirds of hotel guests said it was extremely/very important for hospitality businesses to continue investing in new technology.
Additionally, automation takes the time consuming data management and analysis usually performed by professionals and extracts raw information. A cornerstone technology in this area is Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which converts images of typed, handwritten or printed text to machine coded words. This allows users to more easily interact with data, speed up accounts payable workflows and provide greater flexibility.
3) Analytics – doing more with data
The modern business, regardless of the industry, is defined by its data. Using documents like surveys or reviews on search engines, hospitality managers can draw direct insight from guests to determine what changes need to be made to improve the customer experience.
Big data also has a valuable role to play in accounting and taxation functions. Consider the potential impact of being able to assess how your business is meeting KPIs with a far larger dataset spanning multiple sites or businesses. It would mean less time spent delivering accurate results and more chances for business advisers to offer value-added insight on relevant accounting strategies. Further to this, data can be used to assess your organisation’s performance versus industry benchmarks, tracking how you performing in the market and what opportunities you have to make improvements.
Being able to access and collate a central data pool also helps with risk identification and management. They say prevention is better than cure, so by reducing the chances of accounting mistakes happening at all operators save valuable time and resources.
On the tax front, data analytics allows tax professionals the chance to evaluate efficiencies more easily and identify tax-related opportunities for financial streamlining or improvement. Peace of mind that you are paying the right amount of tax is more achievable than ever thanks to the advent of digital analytics technology.
Want to learn more compelling insights about the world of hotel accounting? DFK Crosbie boasts a diverse team of accountants and tax professionals specialising in the hospitality industry. We can effectively manage your tax and accounting strategies to keep your business on track and drive long-term growth. Just contact us today for help!