The controller fills an extremely important role in any hospitality operation’s management hierarchy. In addition to performing financial accounting, management, and reporting functions, he or she is the subject matter expert for the owner(s) and general manager on all matters relating to sound fiscal policy. As such the position of controller has specific responsibilities and requirements relating to every area of the operation and provides key information to decision-makers. Here is a summary of my requirements for the position:
1. Written standards, policies, and procedures (SPPs) for all aspects of the accounting function. Not only is this important for consistency sake, but also to make all managers and supervisors aware of their responsibilities.
2. A written internal control plan that stipulates key fiscal practices, identifies areas of potential problems, and specifies necessary separation of duties.
3. Coordinate and supervise the annual budgeting process. This requires establishing the necessary timeline and deliverables in the budgeting sequence.
4. Implement Zero-Based Budgeting throughout the club.
5. Establish a system of real-time accounting club-wide. The Tools to Beat Budget program is an excellent example of how this can be done in all departments.
6. Assist department heads in implementing departmental benchmarking. Prepare the Executive Metrics Report and include it with the monthly financial statement.
7. Coordinate and attend the monthly review of operating statements with each department head and the general manager.
8. Conduct a review and analysis of one major cost category each month with the aim of constantly reviewing the enterprise’s cost structure and taking steps to reduce costs when opportunities present themselves. Report findings to general manager.
9. Routinely prepare the following reports:
- Weekly Revenue Report for the general manager and heads of profit centers.
- Pay Period Summary Report for the general manager and all department heads each pay period.
- Monthly Aged Accounts Receivable Report for the general manager.
- Updated cash flow projection on a monthly basis for the general manager.
10. Training of managers and supervisors in all fiscal responsibilities and requirements, including:
11. An outreach program whereby the controller visits each department head on a monthly basis to discuss needs and issues.
12. In private clubs, serve as the club’s representative on the finance committees, attending meetings, providing information as requested, making professional recommendations regarding fiscal issues, and keeping the general manager fully informed on all significant matters addressed by the committee.
A smooth accounting function requires that all members of the management team understand and meet their responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner. It is essential therefore that the controller engage with the full management team to ensure this happens. The benefits to the operation include greater real time knowledge of the enterprise’s financial performance, more timely information to support decision-making, and the full confidence of the owner(s) or board that their significant capital investment is in good hands.
Thanks and have a great day!
This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.
Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!