Most hotels are open 24 hours every day, and some of the necessary accounting is optimally performed during the overnight hours. Hotel managers can help assure the integrity of monthly accounting statements by ensuring that each nightly audit is performed correctly.

At a larger hotel, the night auditor might be one of several employees on duty. If you operate a smaller hotel, the night auditor may be the only employee on the night shift. Regardless of hotel size, the night audit process must be performed to post room charges.

Analysis of each daily performance is especially important in the hospitality industry. Once the night is over, any potential revenue from unsold rooms is gone forever. Statistics produced by the night audit provide you with information on which to base management decisions.

Your hotel's computer software likely includes a separate program for performing the night audit. During the process, you may not be able to check in guests as usual. For that reason, the best time for performing the night audit is in the middle of the night.

Balance cash drawer

The night auditor is usually charged with balancing the cash drawer. Your cash drawer likely contains a set amount of money referred to as the till. Even if most of your guests pay with credit cards or by direct bill, the cash in excess of the till amount needs to be counted and removed before running the night audit program.

Prepare daily management report

Near the end of the night audit, a daily management report prints. The daily report can be customized to print only specific pages. The night auditor typically places the report in a designated location so that it is available later for management.

One of the most useful statistics calculated each night is the average daily rate. Even though many guests pay the published room rate, some frequent guests are likely to pay lesser amounts. The average daily rate provides a quick insight into pricing, but it only applies to occupied rooms.

Another daily statistic to measure overall performance of a hotel is revenue per room. Revenue for the day is divided by the total number of hotel rooms. The amount of revenue per room provides a better idea if your hotel is producing enough revenue to cover operating expenses.

Transmit credit card charges

A convenient time to transmit daily credit card charges to your credit card clearinghouse is immediately after the night audit. The summary that prints after the credit card transmittal can be attached to the daily management report or stored in a separate file.

The new business day begins when the night audit is complete. If your hotel serves breakfast, the night auditor needs to inform the arriving breakfast host of the total number of occupants.

Contact a business consultant for more information on hotel accounting.