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The Lodging Chief Financial Executive

Chief financial executives of lodging operations
are given various titles including
controller, chief accounting officer, vice
president–accounting, and chief financial officer.
The most common title, at the property
level, is controller. Who are these people?
What are their skills? What responsibilities do
they have? Answers to these questions and
many others are provided in this chapter.
The lodging financial executive historically
was viewed as a mere bookkeeper—that
is, he or she prepared financial statements.
Research shows that the lodging controller
has evolved into a full-fledged member of the
management team of a lodging property.
Considerable research has been conducted
over the past 20 years of the membership
of the Hospitality Financial and
Technology Professionals (HFTP), formerly
known as the International Association of
Hospitality Accountants. The results of this
research form the basis for this article. The
HFTP was founded in 1953 for the purpose of
advancing the accounting profession. Its chief
publication, The Bottomline, is published
eight times annually (bi-monthly and two special
editions). The HFTP currently has over
4,300 members in over 50 countries. The
HFTP in 1981 established the Certified Hospitality
Accountant Executive (CHAE).
Since that time, more than 840 hospitality accountants
have earned their CHAE. In 1994,
the HFTP established the Certified Hospitality
Technology Professional (CHTP), and in
the past six years over 100 technology professionals
have earned their CHTP. These two
certifications bring immediate recognition to
these professionals in the hospitality industry.
* PAST RESEARCH
Over the past 20 years, several studies have
been made of HFTP members. Geller and
Schmidgall conducted one of the first studies in
1984.They surveyed 1,000 HFTP members, and
311 lodging financial executives completed
questionnaires covering education, skills, authority,
responsibilities, salaries, and involvement
with committees of their properties.
Geller, Ilvento, and Schmidgall replicated
this study in 1990, mailing the questionnaire
to 750 members of the HFTP associated with
the lodging industry.

The DeVeaus surveyed the 291 CHAEs
in 1988.Their survey covered the usual demographics
of age, gender, title, compensation,
and education. They also addressed marital
status, hours worked, and community/industry
participation. This study included all
CHAEs, not only those in the lodging segment
of the hospitality industry.
Tse surveyed the HFTP membership in
1989, covering three specific areas as follows:
. Demographic information such as age,
gender, and educational level
. Professional activities such as position title,
years in profession, and buying
authority
. Information about the respondents’
companies
Her survey was not limited to members
associated with the lodging industry, though
hotels and resorts employed over 65 percent
(648) of the respondents.
Damitio and Schmidgall updated Tse’s
1989 study in 1996. Three hundred members
associated with the lodging industry
responded.


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