Executives of two hospitality management firms faced a fork in the financial management road when their companies merged in 2016. Three years later, it’s clear they chose the right path.
One company, Benchmark Hospitality International, ran an Aptech accounting application geared for the hotel and hospitality industry. The other company, Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, had been on Sage Intacct since 2008. Which system to use?
The decision turned out to be an easy one, as Brett Atkinson, formerly Gemstone’s CFO and today the SVP Finance at the merged company, which retained the Benchmark name, says in our new customer success story.
“Gemstone had good experiences with Sage Intacct, while Benchmark had challenges with Aptech, especially with its business intelligence component,” Atkinson said. In addition, Benchmark was running an outdated version of Aptech that lacked a user-friendly interface and flexible reporting with drill-down capabilities.
Meanwhile, Gemstone was seeing great results with Sage Intacct — especially after integrating it with ProfitSword, a BI and budgeting solution geared for hospitality. “The dual capabilities of Sage Intacct and ProfitSword integrated together made the decision really easy for the combined entity,” Atkinson said.
Better Insights and Decisions Across the Company
The integration between Sage Intacct and ProfitSword has paid off for Benchmark. The 10,000-person company provides more than 50 hotel and resort owners with a full range of services including hotel management, sales and marketing, food and beverage, health and wellness, and IT and asset management.
With the integration, Benchmark has gained deep insights into performance for more informed decision-making at the corporate, departmental, and property levels. Daily information from properties, including occupancy and profitability, are fed into ProfitSword and then into Sage Intacct, allowing detailed reporting in either system.
“We can quickly assess how we’re performing against budget and forecasts, or comparative pricing across locations, and what levers we might be able to pull to improve a certain metric,” Atkinson said. “Departmental managers can drill down into a deep level of detail to understand what’s behind the numbers.”
And at each property, Benchmark managers have daily information essential to optimizing performance. “It’s very much numbers-driven, so the general manager and director of finance at each property are always looking at daily information and making decisions on the fly on whether to stay the course, turn left, or turn right,” Atkinson said.
And Sage Intacct’s integration with a FloQast accounting add-on has helped Benchmark monitor and manage account reconciliations.
“We’re able to look at reconciliations in real time in FloQast and determine whether they’re in agreement with balances in Sage Intacct,” Atkinson said. “That’s helped us to drive a uniform practice and process for all of our account reconciliations.”
Freeing Up 20 FTEs from Manual AP Processes
Sage Intacct, used by about 350 Benchmark employees, has also helped the company improve financial management efficiency with seamless multi-entity consolidations across 80 entities and simplified currency conversions for international properties.
At the property level, Benchmark has automated what were manual and time-consuming accounts payable processes with Sage Intacct. At about 40 properties, that’s allowed Benchmark to reallocate one-half of a full-time accounting resource previously dedicated to AP work to higher value tasks and customer service.
That amounts to 20 property-level FTEs across the company — a significant liberation of time by moving to online invoice approvals, electronic signatures, and a more paperless environment. Plus, user satisfaction has risen markedly with Sage Intacct, Atkinson noted.
As the company grows and adds new properties, Atkinson’s team can set up a new entity in just two days, compared to as many as 20 days with other software.
“It’s a very simple and easy process for us to bring on a new property,” Atkinson said. “We can set up a new entity and bring in historical data in a couple of days, so it’s a very efficient timeline.”
Those and other benefits with Sage Intacct equip Benchmark to excel at its business — helping clients ensure profitability and create distinctive and memorable experiences for discriminating guests.
To learn more about how Benchmark manages its financials with Sage Intacct, read our new customer success story.
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