How 20-minute monthly forecasts empowered a boutique hotel’s accounting partners

Landscape of a harbour

The COVID-19 pandemic hit hotels particularly hard, especially in the beginning. Hospitality executives who are usually focused on delivering exceptional guest experiences were suddenly confronted with a precipitous drop in revenue. The Oxford Collection, a family-owned chain of 16 boutique hotels, was prepared with Sage Intacct solutions for both budgeting and accounting.

The Oregon-based hotelier implemented Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning jointly with the accounting foundation shortly before COVID struck. “Sage Intacct allowed us to see where our revenue and expenses were on a real-time basis during COVID,” said Megan Walker, vice president of accounting and finance. “We had to watch every penny we spent, so if we didn’t have visibility through Sage Intacct it would have been much harder to know where we were at any given time.” 

After successfully navigating the pandemic, the 600-employee Oxford Collection is now using Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning as a key component in modern financial management. Here are a few highlights of their success. Learn more in our new customer success story. 

  • Improved business decisions with timely budget vs. actuals reporting 
  • Gained breakthrough visibility across the organization 
  • Strengthened collaboration between corporate accounting and hotel GMs 
  • Adopted monthly forecasts that can be created in just 20 minutes 
  • Eliminated 20 hours per week of manual budget work

Centralizing and Streamlining Finance 

It’s a remarkable transformation for Oxford Collection, which previously managed budgets for each property in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and California in 17-tab Excel spreadsheets, each with up to 500 rows and 30 columns.

“Those spreadsheets were massive and formula-driven, so if one formula got messed up, you’d break your whole spreadsheet,” recalled Walker. “We had multiple people entering data, so it was easy for human errors to happen. If we found a mistake in a formula, we’d have to fix it 16 times.” 

Meanwhile on the accounting side, Oxford Collection’s use of an outdated on-premises Softrak Adagio application meant extensive manual data work with little time for analysis. Accounts payable entries, for example, consumed 40 hours a week while closing the books could take up to 25 days.  

After a 2019 evaluation, Oxford Collection decided to adopt Sage Intacct for both budgeting and accounting, with Sage Intacct partner Armanino LLP handling the implementation 

“I liked that Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning connected with Sage Intacct for accounting, so we could centralize all of finance in one place,” Walker said. “I also felt we had room to grow with Sage Intacct, especially with its add-on modules and third-party applications.” 

Real-Time Visibility for Data-Driven Business Decisions 

Walker says that visibility for data-driven business decisions is the most critical impact of Oxford Collection’s move to Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning. 

Budget vs. actuals reporting is now based on up-to-date data and available on demand in dashboards to hotel managers, department heads, and other stakeholders. That’s a huge improvement over the past, when the finance team would spend eight hours a month updating actuals as the books closed around the 20th of the month.  

“General managers now have real-time budget vs. actuals data at their fingertips through Sage Intacct,” Walker said. “That’s allowing us to make real-time decisions based on current data, not information that’s weeks old.” 

Oxford Collection is now using insights to benchmark property performance, identify best practices for profitability, and share them across hotels. Plus, the business benefits with a more collaborative culture with hotel general managers and department heads, vs. a top-down approach before.  

“Collaboration has increased exponentially, and the biggest value to the business is that our general managers are taking on more ownership, and are more invested and engaged,” Walker said. 

Monthly Forecast Creation and Sharing in Just 20 Minutes 

Oxford Collection’s monthly forecasting process is now much more streamlined and requires less data entry, with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning instantly syncing the latest actuals with updated financial projections to reflect changing conditions. In the past, monthly forecasts required manual entry of actuals each month, resulting in a lack of real-time data insights. 

“Monthly forecasts for all 16 properties now take 20 to 25 minutes in total to create and share with our general managers,” Walker said. “In our old system, it would have been a full-time job to do that. Everything works seamlessly and is a lot more streamlined now.”  

As a result, Oxford Collection has eliminated 20 hours a week of budget-related work previously handled by a member of its five-person accounting and finance team. That’s one of several big efficiency gains that Oxford Collection has realized with Sage Intacct. 

The Bottom Line: Becoming a Strategic Partner through Visibility and Automation 

On the accounting side, AP processes are now automated through integration between Sage Intacct and a Yooz AP solution. That’s eliminated 40 hours a week of manual AP work for corporate accounting, while general managers are spared from inputting daily expense data into Excel. 

And by connecting Sage Intacct with a RoomKey property management system, revenue is automatically imported daily in the general ledger, vs. an eight-hour monthly exercise previously. Monthly close time has dropped from up to 25 days to just 10. 

“The finance team is no longer just number-crunchers,” Walker said. “We’ve become a more strategic partner to the business through the visibility and automation we’ve gained through Sage Intacct for both budgeting and accounting.” 

See our full Oxford Collection customer success story to learn more about how the hotelier is using Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning. 

Case Study – Oxford Collection

Boutique Hotel Chain Gains Agility, Insights, and Strengthened Collaboration with 20-Minute Monthly Forecasts