In Keiths Presidents Blog

Superior customer service has long been an industry benchmark for success in the hospitality industry. Today, evolving technologies like AP automation for hospitality are allowing hotels of all sizes to provide a higher level of customer service by creating efficiencies throughout the organization, including often unseen departments like accounts payable.

A high standard of performance and innovation should be the focus in every department. Unfortunately, back-offices that house accounting and finance are sometimes neglected when it comes to innovative technology because of the time and resources historically required to implement new systems. So while properties continue to be outfitted with modern features and updated amenities on the outside, AP departments are left relying on outdated manual processes. For an industry with transaction volumes reaching well into the thousands every month, this can create a huge disadvantage to overall productivity.

Without an automated platform, AP staff will spend hours every month printing and mailing paper checks as well as manually reconciling every payment. In many cases there is also a two-person check signing policy that creates an even bigger pull on hotel resources and staff time. The costs associated with using paper checks is substantial and the entire process is out-of-date, especially when considering the vulnerability to errors, delays, and fraud.

These processes are not only tedious and time-consuming for AP, but the extended payment cycles that result  can ultimately make a negative impression on vendors, business partners, and customers. Suppliers, for example, may discontinue their services if they get overcharged as a result of an accounting error or if their cash flow is affected by repeated late payments. If an invoice goes unpaid, there could be delays to essential supplies needed for guest related services. Even more concerning are outdated systems that make hotels susceptible to payments related fraud, opening the door for hackers. Simple updates to the payments process including AP automation for hospitality and integration with the right technology offers sound prevention of these inefficiencies.

AP Automation for hospitality allows hotels, resorts, and property management companies to securely process 100% of vendor payments of any type with a single file upload. The ability to upload one secure payment file to pay all vendors, whether through virtual credit card, ACH, proprietary network, check, or foreign exchange establishes a seamless, streamlined accounts payable process that saves time and money.

Payments solutions that include AP automation for hospitality lift the burden of manual processing off AP teams, allowing them to refocus their energy on higher level tasks, identifying new revenue opportunities, or working on customer facing initiatives. In addition, payments are made accurately and on-time, improving your relationship with suppliers and allowing you to maximize early payment discounts.

Virtual credit cards are a great way for hospitality managers to further improve productivity in their AP departments. There are no checks to reconcile, invoices are settled fast and without the possibility of duplicate payments, and the risk of fraud is essentially eliminated. When payments are authorized, a single-use card number is generated for each payment amount and invoice-level data, including internal check reference numbers, is automatically provided for each transaction. Once the payment is complete, the virtual card number becomes invalid, making it extremely secure.  Purchases for unapproved amounts or vendor are automatically declined. AP managers also benefit from detailed reporting, bringing reconciliation times from days to hours.

The transition to AP automation for hospitality is quick and easy when using a platform that fully integrates with your existing ERP or accounting software, with the entire process completed through just a few phone calls.

As competition grows and the industry continues to expand, hotel conglomerates are feeling the pressure to stay innovative in all aspects of the business, including internal operations. Automating accounts payable frees up valuable resources, securely streamlines vendor payments, and increases efficiencies in all areas of the business, giving your hotel the competitive advantage it needs.

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