Controllers frequently supervise staff accountants and may also oversee additional areas such as information technology (IT). They also manage purchasing, assistant controllers, food and beverage–specific controllers, storerooms, and credit. As managers, they have responsibility for hiring, firing, evaluating, and training staff.
Furthermore, Controllers prepare financial reports that include summary and detail income statements, balance sheets, forecasts, and cash flow statements. Forecasts may be completed monthly as well as compiled annually. Staff members help them work on these reports each month, which will be submitted to management. These reports are used to make decisions and forecast budgeting and spending for the future. Decision making regarding the hotel is tied into the Controller’s role, as the Controller provides the data, statistics, and figures that will be used for these choices.
As financial experts, Controllers offer their insight on hotel operations from a financial perspective. They also review credit applications and monitor accounts receivable reports to make sure that payments are being made and there are no situations that would put their hotel in debt. Controllers are skilled at financial analysis in order to examine the past and look for recommendations for the future.
Additional duties may include:
- reconciling the general ledger account daily
- preparing and reviewing budgets
- recording financial transactions
- valuing inventory
- purchasing new equipment
- responding to inquiries from the corporate office
- handling everything involving audits, including completing the year-end audit process, scheduling auditor visits, reconciling numbers, and responding to auditor requests
- reviewing internal and external audit reports
- reviewing past and future cash flows
- solving problems related to cost controls and revenue enhancement
- investigating, reviewing, and analyzing variance explanations
Controllers typically report to the hotel general manager, but may also have a reporting relationship to the hotel owner/corporate office, in order to offer the hotel corporation additional verification of financial records aside from those provided by the general manager. They tend to work more regular hours than other hotel executives and employees, except during busy hours and tax seasons.
Insiders stress that Controllers at hotels are not just the numbers gurus, but integral parts of the hotel management team. They say their jobs are varied and exciting, and although they don’t have the same direct interaction with hotel guests as other personnel, they still feel as if their work is service-oriented.