Updated: May 8, 2019
With your Choice Advantage nightly Back Office Report now telling your accounting system QBO what your nightly credit card batches "SHOULD" be (via your nightly upload from the CIA connector) and your bank synchronization telling QBO what credit card deposits were actually received by your bank, you can use these helpful best practices to verify that your hotel has processed each night's batch correctly.
Never lose another $$$ to incorrect credit card batch submissions from Shift4!
Time and again when EXCL Hospitality steps into new accounting or management relationships with hotel owners we find they are NOT verifying that the credit card batches are accurately submitted and are actually received by their bank. And frankly, I understand why! It is tedious and time consuming to manually add Discover totals + Visa totals + MasterCard totals 365 times a year to see if that sum total equals your bank deposit. And then there is the separate Amex batch and deposit, and the weekend batches which tend to get all lumped together into one deposit. It can be frustrating and feel like you are unwinding knotted string. This frustration when errors occur flows to our guests who don't receive their credit due or who are charged twice or who have the charge posting to their bill thirty days late after their expense report deadline has passed. These guests will annihilate your LTR for mistakes that would have been quickly identified if anyone was looking or they will make you pay with time consuming charge backs.
My CPA and I have spent many wasted hours looking for mistakes on paper and adding machines reconciling our paper monthly credit card and bank statements typically catching errors 30 days out from their occurrence. But with QBO now able to synchronize to your bank and to your PMS, there is no more need for this difficulty or delay. If you know what to do in QBO you can identify errors within hours not weeks.
I can't count how many times owners DO NOT KNOW that they did not receive the money. Maybe it was for batches from two weekends ago that were not submitted when the night auditor called off, or batches submitted incorrectly due to turnover, or even one owner recently who I discovered while doing forensic detective work, lost an entire night's receipts exceeding $10,000 due to the Shift4/Choice Advantage (CA) sync failure that dropped an entire day's transactions into thin air during a nationwide glitch (the GM never saw the Choice email with instructions on the tedious fix required). Frankly no one ever knew there was something to fix. My list of credit card batch money hemorrhaging is long and these losses are often undetected by Choice owners. That room is sold, that card is charged and yet that money never hits the top line of your financial report prepared by your accountant. How does this happen? Because you send your bank statements over to your accountant and they enter what your bank RECEIVES. They have no idea what your bank should have RECEIVED.
EXCL is a company that knows how to get this money each and every time for our clients so I bang my head against the wall when I encounter owners with lost receipts over and over. Why does it happen?
Because your front desk SHOULD be making correct credit card entries with proper authorizations in CA.
Your night auditor SHOULD be auditing the Shift4 batches prior to submission to verify that each CA cc transaction is accurately reflected in the Shift4 batch.
Your Shift4 batches SHOULD match your CA final transaction totals.
Your GM SHOULD audit the prior night's submission each morning for accuracy.
Your Shift4 submissions SHOULD go to your credit card processor accurately.
Your credit card processor SHOULD send the correct amount to your bank.
But we all know what can happen when we rely on "SHOULD" when this many relays are involved to get the money in the bank (FOUR RELAYS - your Front Desk to CA to SHIFT4 to your CC PROCESSOR to your BANK). When credit card mistakes are not identified early, you can count on NOT SEEING THAT MONEY!
Reconciling that your batches submitted match your batches received has NEVER BEEN EASIER with the QBO synchronization to your bank and the QBO synchronization to CA via the CIA interface! Let me show you how.
First make sure your QBO account syncs to your bank account and that your CIA uploads from Choice Advantage are posting in QBO via their Connector app.
Now that your QBO is syncing with CIA and your bank are you ready to learn how to reconcile your credit card batches? Watch this video demonstration on how to Reconcile your credit card batches with ease. Or if this is too much to handle, give me a call and let EXCL Hospitality do it for you. INSERT VIDEO HERE
Here are some EXCL best practice takeaways for this topic:
EXCL 201 Accounting Best Practice #1: Getting Started - Sync Choice Advantage to QBO via the CIA Connector.
EXCL 201 Accounting Best Practice #2: Getting Started - Add all of your Bank accounts to QBO to sync. If you have a rare bank that cannot sync to QBO, switch banks. It is worth the effort.
EXCL 201 Accounting Best Practice #3: Getting Started - Bookmark QBO login, CIA Connector login, CIA Back Office Report Upload, Choice Advantage Login each to your browser.
EXCL 201 Accounting Best Practice #4: Reconcile CC Batches at least weekly. The EXCL Way is at least every Monday and Friday and more frequently during management transitions.
EXCL 201 Hotel Best Practice #1: Night auditor prints the CA Hotel Journal Detail & audits to pending Shift4 batch prior to submission to reduce batch errors.
EXCL 201 Hotel Best Practice #2: Night auditor prints Shift4 batches submitted report for GM to review and sign off on each morning for accuracy.
EXCL 201 Hotel Best Practice #3: Night Auditor uploads CA Back Office Report to the CIA upload page each night after audit.
Kristin Crinot is the CEO of EXCL Hospitality and has been offering her expertise, strength of character and a deep commitment to excellence for the benefit of our clients and teams since 1999. She is always learning new ways to be a better human and hotel operator. This blog is part of that exercise and may or may not be relevant to you. EXCL Hospitality offers these little nuggets of accounting practice and opinion as opportunities to learn more about how to improve your hotel accounting. You should not consider them professional advice. Of course EXCL is always looking for clients and mutually beneficial accounting and/or management relationships with like-minded owners who share in our commitment to Happy Guests. Happy Teams. Happy Owners. If you would like to learn more about our accounting or management services, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org