Bridging the Gap Between Finance and Other Departments

By Ramy Abdelmalak | Corporate Controller

When sales and operational teams encounter finance teams, it can feel like unknown territory. While the goal of each department is the same – to optimize property performance – there’s a interdepartmental disconnect that is often overlooked.
Whether interrupting a shift with a bank audit or enforcing policies and regulations, a visit from a finance leader may be disruptive to the flow of hotel operations. For example, a finance leader who is not in tune with sales and operations may choose to perform surprise audits or establish deadlines without considering how busy the hotel may be. As a result of this and other instances, there becomes a subtle rift between teams.

While the accounting team has a primary objective to enforce internal controls and implement cost-cutting measures, sales and operations has a primary objective to maximize top-line booking strategies and guest satisfaction. When these teams are focused solely on meeting their own objectives, it can be felt down the ranks, eventually leading to poor guest relations, low property loyalty, and high employee turnover, which leads to higher operating costs for the hotel and lower returns for the owners.

Practicing Alternate Perspectives
We’ve identified an opportunity in the way accounting approaches sales and operations which may enable a shift in the way operations and sales perceives accounting. This could be achieved by involving the finance leaders’ advice or opinion during decision-making processes. Of course, this also requires finance leaders to take a step outside of their traditional roles as “enforcers” and “after-the-fact-reporters” and think of themselves as collaborators with sales and operations in revenue generation and guest service to achieve higher returns.

For example, during group contract negotiations, the internal control combination of a sales leader (who focuses on top-line revenue) and a finance leader (who is profit-driven) works well for strategizing profitable packages to close the deal.

Rethinking Team Dynamics 24/7
We believe a cohesive team dynamic is essential to a hotel’s efficient and profitable operation. By first identifying a greater need to foster relationships between finance leaders and sales and operational leaders, we are able to take steps toward a more effective management model.

In actively working to empower financial leaders to step beyond their traditional roles, as well as encouraging sales and operations to consult with the financial team on high-level strategies, we’re able to achieve an innovative collaborative team that will get investors higher returns.

About Ramy Abdelmalak
Ramy joined Twenty Four Seven Hotels as Regional Controller in 2016. His skills in hospitality management, revenue analysis and pre-opening accounting brings seasoned experience and leadership to the Finance and Accounting Team.
In his role as Regional Controller, Ramy maintains a continuous partnership with the Operations Team by monitoring labor, costs and expenses, while also recommending strategies and implementing new systems for maximizing investor returns.

About Twenty Four Seven Hotels
Twenty Four Seven Hotels specializes in providing hotel management, investment and development for upscale brand select-service and lifestyle hotels segments in the Western U.S. We offer a full spectrum of services in Hospitality Management, Hotel Investment, Hotel Design & Construction and Hotel Asset Management.

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