A hotel’s night audit is an important and mandatory process which closes out one day’s transactions in order to start fresh for the following day. The night audit reconciles the balances of each guest ledger, verifies daily financial transactions, tracks occupancy rates, reports revenues, and reviews the overall operational effectiveness of the hotel.
Tracking and auditing all of the ins and outs of a hotel’s daily transactions is no easy feat, and requires a keen eye. But even the most dedicated night auditor can make mistakes, especially when multi-tasking: in most hotels, in addition to managing these financial reconciliations, the night auditor can also be responsible for running the overnight front desk and tending to overnight guest issues. Balancing all of these roles in one shift can be a challenge, so let’s look at a few ways hotels can simplify the night audit process, and free up their staff’s time to better focus on guests and other revenue generating activities.
The Night Audit Checklist
While there are normally many steps in the overall procedure, here’s a high-level overview of a typical night audit process:
- Complete Outstanding Postings: ensure all guest transactions from the day (ie: parking fees, room service or mini-bar charges, laundry, telephone or internet charges, etc.) have been correctly posted to guest accounts.
- Reconcile Room Status: reconcile occupancy and housekeeping reports and verify any “no shows” to confirm actual room statuses and overall hotel occupancy rate.
- Verify & Post Room Rates: reconcile guest registration records to room reports to ensure the quoted and charged room rates match, and if not, then confirm the discrepancy (ie: room reserved at standard rate, then booked with a corporate rate discount upon check-in). Post accurate room and tax charges to appropriate guest accounts.
- Balance All Departments: close out and balance all revenue centre departments, such as food and beverage outlets, comparing POS software totals to transaction slips or reports within PMS.
- Balance Processed Payments: tally cash on hand and run a batch close on all payments processed; reconcile all settled payments.
- Run Reports: run management reports, such as hotel trial balance, and generate guest folios for following days’ check-outs.
While this seems like a daunting checklist to complete every graveyard shift, especially when it’s also in addition to other duties and responsibilities, there are a few ways to simplify the process.
3 Ways to Simplify the Night Audit Process
- Automate Guest Folios through PMS: a PMS tool can automate the tracking and posting of guest account charges, such as telephone or room service fees. It can also automate next day postings, like room and tax rates. This will significantly reduce manual touches on a guest’s folio, decreasing the chance of a data entry or billing error, and freeing up the auditor to focus on other tasks on the nightly checklist.
- Live Room Status: tablet-based housekeeping systems within a PMS can give night auditors the ability to track the status of room updates in real-time, ensuring no room is missed, making the room reconciliation process as efficient as possible. If a room’s Housekeeping status differs from the same room’s Front Desk status, a “Room Discrepancy” will be created and flagged for review, easing the burden of having to manually cross-reference every room’s status for occupancy rate calculation.
- Payments Integration: Manual payment mistakes can negatively affect a guest’s experience, thus affecting a hotel’s reputation, and ultimately, its revenue. Payment discrepancies can also cost a hotel in the time it takes for a night auditor to review and resolve them. An automated and integrated payments solution can help by dramatically reducing human error and payment discrepancies, and by saving time on nightly payment batch reconciliations. The newly launched RoomKeyPMS Payments solution eliminates the need for a 3rd party portal by importing payments data directly into RoomKeyPMS, allowing the night auditor to easily compare the two systems, spot imbalances, and reconcile them.
In addition to these three process improvements, it’s also important to make sure you have the right person for the job. A great night auditor can be a tough role to fill, as they need to be highly detail-oriented, efficient, have the ability to wear many (many!) hats, and, of course, be okay with working the overnight shift. But a reliable and proactive auditor can make all the difference in the behind-the-scenes operation of your hotel and its nightly close process.
If you’re looking to improve the accuracy and speed of your night audit reconciliations, our platform and our newly launched payments solution can help. Contact our team today to learn more about RoomKeyPMS Payments.
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