Case Study

Settling accounts

How one hotel giant revamped reconciliations with digital technology

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Who we worked with

A multibillion-dollar hospitality company with nearly 600 properties worldwide.

What the company needed

Reconciling accounts took so long that the finance and accounting team had no time to resolve open items or analyze data. Controllership was suffering. 

How we helped

We transformed the reconciliation process by introducing intelligent operations. Our approach incorporated automation, improved policies, and got the most of the people involved.

What the company got

  • Increased reconciliations by 43%
  • Fewer open items and write-offs
  • Simplified and standardized systems
  • More scalable and agile operations

A global hospitality company could reconcile just 68% of its accounts on time, even though it was using a leading reconciliation-management tool. This led to lengthy cycle times, overworked staff, and error-prone reporting. As a result, it was hard to get solid, comprehensive financial information. Controllership suffered, too. We combined smarter processes and analytics with our Systems of EngagementTM. These technologies overlay existing ERPs to enhance productivity. The new structure created a continuous feedback loop that harnesses data and insights from processes to drive improvements and bring about Intelligent Operations. The solution helped the company close 97% of reconciliations within established timelines. That freed up finance staff and executives to dedicate more time to analytical activities, such as resolving open items, conducting root-cause analyses, and creating effective action plans.

Challenge

Reconcile accounts quickly, and free up finance insights

The finance and accounting team responsible for the company’s North American hotel properties could only reconcile 68% of accounts on time. It had already invested in a dedicated technology tool that promised tighter controllership, faster and more responsive decision-making, and greater efficiency. Yet the team wasn’t seeing results. The backlog of open items meant that the finance and accounting staff—and the controller—had no time for root-cause analyses, open-item resolution, or other value-added activities.

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Solution

Automate reconciliations, eliminate silos, build knowledge

Inspired by our Intelligent Operations approach, which builds smart processes that can sense, act, and learn at scale, the company chose Genpact to help reimagine its reconciliation process.

Genpact standardized and automated the end-to-end reconciliations process and localized procedures. We also eliminated silos, gaps in knowledge and processes, and manual entry. Our work continues to accelerate the delivery of more cost-effective, accurate processing, freeing up time for finance and accounting staff to deliver work of higher value.

To transform reconciliations, Genpact:

  • Re-engineered the process so tasks move through the process and management tool consistently, automatically, and seamlessly
  • Created a center of excellence to get teams on side, help share ideas and best practices, and reduce people dependencies
  • Prioritized the company’s accounts by risk, and defined the level of detail and frequency needed to reconcile each account 
  • Improved governance and tracking so that teams reconcile accounts by a set deadline
  • Built a more knowledgeable finance and accounting team, so they could focus their talents on value-added strategic activities

With an eye on technology transformation, we also:

  • Evaluated the company’s back-office operations against industry best practice
  • Introduced standard templates for prepaid reconciliations, accrued reconciliations, and control accounts, throughout the hotel firm’s North American operations
  • Automated balance-sheet reconciliations, which allowed for consolidated and property-level reconciliations, and instituted a smart grouping of accounts (for example, capital accounts are now grouped together)
  • Developed a set of customized auto-match parameters 

Impact

Best-in-class status for reconciling accounts—and higher-value staff

After it re-engineered its processes and made the most out of its technology, the company achieved best-in-class status for account reconciliations. Other benefits the company enjoye

  • A 43% increase in timely reconciliations
  • More time for controllers to review, discuss, and resolve open items on end-of-month reports
  • Faster, more informed decision-making and increased market agility
  • Greater accuracy and completeness of financial statements
  • More time for staff to work on open items, perform root-cause analyses, create resolution action plans, and engage in value-added activities

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