Paperchase Guide to Hotel Accounting



Hotel accounting is a specialized field aimed at recording, managing, and analyzation of the financial activities of a hotel business. It acts as a financial backbone of a hotel management system ensuring smooth operations and long term success of the business.

The key aspects of the accounting for hotels are as follows:

  • Basic accounting principles
  • Revenue streams and expense categories
  • Accounting systems and tools
  • Financial statements

Understanding the Hotel Business Environment

The hotel business is a complex interplay of income and expense. A hotel will generate revenue from various income sources such as food and beverage, room rates, and additional services like parking and spa treatments. There are many types of fixed costs that are involved, such as rent and salaries, and variable costs of food and utilities may fluctuate.

To navigate this dynamic, hotels must adapt their strategies and manage the staffing levels to manage hotel bookkeeping during the seasonal fluctuations.

Foundational Accounting Principles for Hotels

A few principles govern the environment of hotel accounting. The general ledger and chart of accounts organize the financial transactions, while the double entry system ensures accurate record keeping. As compared to other businesses, a hotel primarily uses accrual accounting, recognizing the revenue earned and expenses incurred.

The analysis of financial statements like balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements provides a comprehensive picture of the hotel charts of accounts. Hence, the understanding of these principles is essential for sound financial decisions.

Average Daily Rate

Hotels operate based on average daily rate. This revenue is split up across all rooms in a hotel. Hospitality accountants use a metric called RevPAR (revenue per available room). There are two formulas used to calculate RevPAR: total revenue/number of rooms available OR Average Daily Rate × Occupancy Rate. The goal of using RevPAR is to analyze a hotel’s ability to fill rooms at an average rate. 

The caveat of using RevPAR is that it is not 100% accurate at depicting a property’s performance. Room rates play a major role in this. For example, a hotel may have a low RevPAR because they have fewer occupied rooms, but a higher revenue. This could result from cheaper rooms being vacant, but more expensive options, like a suite or penthouse being occupied. Hotel bookkeeping also depends on the type of hotel. Smaller boutique hotels can often have a lower occupancy but higher rates, whereas a franchise hotel like a Marriott or Hilton will have higher occupancy but lower rate.

Core Functions of Hotel Accounting

The core functions essential to maintain the financial health of the hotel are as follows:

Revenue management and controls:

It involves overseeing room reservations, accurate billing of the guests, and management of cashier operations to ensure proper cash flow.

Accounts payable and receivable

The management of payments to vendors and collection of cash from the guest is essential as it ensures timely settlements and maintains a healthy cash flow.

Payroll and human resource management

The processing of payroll for staff, management of benefit programs, and compliance with labor laws are important responsibilities in hotel accounting.

Budgeting and forecasting

The creation of realistic budgets for future operations and forecasting of revenue and expenses helps in financial planning and decision-making.

Cost control and variance analysis

The monitoring of the expenses, identification of areas of deviation from the budget, and implementation of corrective measures are crucial for controlling costs and maximizing profitability.

Advanced Topics in Hotel Accounting

Food and beverage cost control

This area focuses on the analysis of food and beverage costs, optimization of purchasing practices, and minimizing waste. Additionally, it also emphasizes the profit margins in the F and B department in hotel accounting services.

Fixed asset management and depreciation

The management of a hotel’s proper equipment and other investments, including their tracking value order through depreciation, is crucial for accurate financial reporting.

Internal controls and fraud prevention

The implementation of internal controls and safeguarding against attempts of fraud is essential to protect the financial assets of the hotel and ensure accurate financial data.

Hotel accounting software and technology

The utilization of specialized software and technology streamlines the accounting processes, improves data accuracy, and provides valuable insights for informed decision-making.

Financial Reporting & Analysis

A hotel business culminates in insightful financial reporting and analysis. It involves the following:

Ratio analysis

The ratio analysis in accounting hospitality includes the evaluation of hotel performance through financial ratios like occupancy rate, average daily rates, and revenue per available room, providing insights into profitability and efficiency.

Benchmarking against competitors

The comparison of financial ratios and metrics with the competitors in the same segment allows the hotels to assess their relative’s position and identify the areas of improvement.

Financial reporting to stakeholders

The timely and accurate financial reports in hotel accounting charts of accounts are crucial for external stakeholders like banks to assess the hotel’s financial health, investment potation, and credit worth.

Compliance & Regulatory Requirements

Navigation compliance in the hotel industry needs adherence to various regulations. A hotel must collect and remit the lodging and occupancy taxes, comply with the employment and labor laws regarding wages, working hours, and benefits, and adhere to establishing financial reporting standards to ensure accurate financial information to maintain hotel charts of account

The Future of Hotel Accounting

The future of hotel accounting is poised and bright, with scope for transformation laced with technological advancements. Automation is expected to take more space in the industry with entry in tasks like reconciliation, basic reporting, and data entries. Along with technology, a human-centric approach will always stay in focus. Hence, skilled hotel accountants will be required to interpret data, identify the changing trends, and offer strategic guidance, ensuring the navigation of the dynamic hotel industry and securing sustainability.


Hotel accounting is a cornerstone of a successful hospitality business. It goes beyond mere record keeping and keeping track of financial data. So we ensure that while you are balancing your guest experience we are balancing your books. What’s the wait for? Contact us today to experience hotel accounting services !