Imagine building your hotel and not touching anything for 10, 15, or 20 years. Not upgrading. Not reinvesting. Not undertaking property improvement plans (PIPs). Nothing. Your hotels will gradually lose ground to competitors who aren’t afraid to modernize their designs and technology.
While this might seem like the last thing you would do, the truth is you probably wouldn’t balk at keeping the same accounting software for a decade or two.
But the problem is that your accounting software is vital to the financial success of your hotels. Failing to update your accounting software in this digital age could cost you just as much as skipping out on those much-needed hotel renovations.
You’re really left with two choices: hop onto the bandwagon of modern accounting systems, or sit back and do nothing. Which would cost more? That’s what we’re here to discuss.
What’s the True Cost of Not Updating Your Hotel’s Accounting Software?
While failing to upgrade your hotel’s accounting software might appear to be a matter of dollars and cents, the true impact extends well beyond the immediate financial cost.
Holding on to outdated legacy software instead of choosing a modern solution can result in a ripple effect, impacting multiple aspects of your hotel’s operations.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the main costs associated with not updating your hotel accounting software:
One of the substantial implications of utilizing outdated legacy software is the severe drop in operational efficiency. Older software versions often fall short in performance and functionality compared to their modern alternatives.
From slow loading times to the inability to work remotely, these inefficiencies significantly disrupt day-to-day operations.
What it will cost you: Extra labor, lower staff productivity, and potential revenue losses due to dissatisfied customers and negative online reviews could negatively impact future bookings.
Increased Risk of Inaccuracies
Older software often relies on manual data transfer from one system to another. This error-prone process leads to financial discrepancies and potential data loss.
For instance, manual data input could lead to incorrect billing, inaccurate tax calculations, or inconsistencies in financial statements.
What it will cost you: If not detected and corrected in time, these flawed reports could cause financial losses, misguided decisions, strained guest relations, and reputational damage.
Cybersecurity is a critical issue for all businesses today, and your hotel’s accounting system is no exception. Older software versions typically have more security vulnerabilities compared to modern cloud-based accounting software.
As such, they are more prone to security breaches, posing significant risks to your hotel’s confidential financial data and potentially compromising your guests’ personal information.
What it will cost you: A data breach could be monumental, from direct financial losses due to fraud, costs of legal representation and penalties, to severe damage to your hotel’s reputation.
Problems with Integration
As technology advances and more third-party solutions come onto the market, the ability to integrate various software and tools becomes more crucial. However, outdated systems often struggle with or don’t iterate at all with modern third-party applications.
What it will cost you: This technological inflexibility limits your hotel’s ability to adapt, innovate, and remain competitive, causing missed opportunities, operational bottlenecks, and potential loss of business.
Downtimes, system crashes, and sluggish performance can disrupt operations, creating a counterproductive and inefficient environment.
Hotel staff may need to spend excessive time on training to learn workarounds for the system’s shortcomings or to use outdated interfaces effectively.
All this time spent troubleshooting and working on manual processes detracts from their core duties and negatively impacts the level of service provided to guests.
What it will cost you: From direct labor costs to indirect revenue loss from diminished guest satisfaction and lower occupancy, lowered productivity can cost you a lot in the long run.
Maintaining outdated legacy systems can be a significant drain on resources. These systems often come with hidden costs, including Citrix connection fees and high fees for upgrades, updates, and customizations.
On top of that, as these systems age, finding suitable support for them becomes increasingly challenging. This, in turn, can lead to the hotel employing or training specialists just to keep the system running, further diverting valuable resources away from more productive areas of the business.
What it will cost you: The financial drain of maintaining outdated systems can be substantial, potentially eclipsing the cost of implementing a modern, efficient system and affecting your hotel’s overall profitability.
One of the most detrimental impacts of obsolete accounting systems is the challenge they pose to informed decision-making. Without access to accurate, real-time financial data, strategic planning and forecasting become more difficult and less reliable.
What it will cost you: Misguided decisions resulting from inaccurate data lead to poor business performance, missed growth opportunities, and reduced competitiveness in the market.
Legacy accounting software often lacks the advanced features and integrations that modern solutions offer.
Features like real-time updates, mobile access, automation of tasks, and integration with other hotel PMS and POS systems enhance productivity and provide better guest service. These are necessary for your hotel to remain competitive.
What it will cost you: The inability to leverage modern features and integrations can limit your hotel’s operational efficiency and guest satisfaction, potentially leading to a decline in market share and profitability.
As regulatory requirements continue to evolve, outdated accounting software may struggle to stay compliant. Failing to meet these requirements could result in your hotel facing legal and financial repercussions, including fines and penalties.
Moreover, compliance issues could also damage your hotel’s reputation, particularly if non-compliance leads to legal action or negative media attention.
What it will cost you: Non-compliance could lead to significant financial penalties, potential lawsuits, and damage to your hotel’s reputation, affecting future bookings and overall profitability.
Real Examples of Problems From Outdated Legacy Software
While there are a wide range of problems that spring up from using outdated software, some of the most pressing issues are:
- Incorrect Billing: Manual data entry or old systems with limited automation might result in incorrect billing information, such as miscalculated room rates, erroneously charged services, or inaccurate taxes. Such inaccuracies lead to disputes with guests, reputational damage, and financial losses.
- Erroneous Financial Reporting: An outdated system may not accurately compile financial data, leading to errors in income statements, balance sheets, or cash flow statements. Due to these inaccuracies, incorrect decisions are made, audit issues arise, and regulatory penalties may be incurred.
- Inaccurate Inventory Management: Outdated accounting software may fail to accurately track inventory, resulting in discrepancies in the recording of items like food, beverages, or supplies. Your hotel’s profitability and service quality will be affected by overspending, waste, and shortages.
- Mismanaged Payroll: If the accounting software also handles payroll, it may not accurately calculate employee wages, taxes, or benefits due to outdated tax tables or calculation errors. As a result, you might have dissatisfied employees, underpayment issues, and legal problems.
- Faulty Revenue Management: Obsolete software might not correctly reflect current room occupancy rates, special rates, or discounts, leading to inaccurate revenue forecasts. You can’t make informed pricing decisions or maximize revenue if this happens.
- Disjointed Reservations: Older systems may not seamlessly integrate with modern booking platforms, causing inaccuracies in room availability data. You could end up overbooking or underbooking, affecting your revenue.
- Inaccurate Guest Data: Outdated software may fail to accurately capture or update guest data, resulting in a lack of personalization or errors in guest communication. Guest satisfaction will suffer, and you’ll have a hard time building relationships.
Bottom line—any inaccuracy has the potential to cause significant operational issues and financial losses for your hotel. Therefore, updating your hotel’s accounting software is crucial for maintaining accuracy, efficiency, and guest satisfaction.
How HIA Can Help Bring Your Hotel Accounting to the Next Level
Upgrading your hotel’s accounting software is more than just a modernization move; it’s a strategic decision to streamline operations, improve decision-making, and enhance guest experiences.
And Hotel Investor Apps (HIA) is here to help.
We offer comprehensive and cloud-hosted ERP and accounting software designed to help streamline hotel operations and improve efficiency. Our software offers several features that can benefit your hotel, including:
- Real-time dashboards (personalized by job role) giving relevant data points to decision-makers for better planning, performance, and profitability.
- Automation and workflows that save time and reduce the risk of errors.
- Mobile app that allows you to access key features and functions of the ERP system on the go, such as viewing and creating dashboards, entering expense receipts, and generating reports.
- Multi-currency support to let you manage your hotel’s financials regardless of local currency and exchange rates.
- Modern security to protect your hotel’s sensitive financial data.
- Easy integration with PMS, POS, and third-party applications to drive real-time decision-making.
We take hotel accounting to the next level by combining all your relevant data for instant access, streamlining complex processes, closing your books faster, and empowering informed decisions.
To take the next steps and modernize your accounting software, reach out and schedule a demo.
Co-founder and COO
Chip Fritsch, instrumental in overseeing HIA’s daily operations, brings 15+ years of hospitality industry experience to his role. His responsibilities span from product development to business growth strategies and client onboarding. A former full-service hotel General Manager, Chip knows the in-and-outs of hotel operations and that motivates him to develop new products and services to best support hoteliers. The past 7 years have seen Chip immersed in hospitality software where he has been pivotal in helping HIA win the Acumatica Development Award.