Of those 500,000 I am willing to bet that 50 percent do not know about or use "You Sally." If we ramp that number up by multiplying the 250,000 real hotels by the average number of department managers, GMs and owners, let's say 10 per property, we have roughly 2.5 million hotel management people that do not know about "You Sally," Or, to express it properly, USALI "You Sally," is an acronym that stands for the "Uniformed System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry".
I think it is time that everyone in our industry who considers themselves a real hotelier take up the cause and bring Sally into their world. Sally is unique and a gift that we can all benefit from. She not only has a lot of experience, she is also recognized around the world by brands, management companies, franchisors, banks and consultants as the authority when it comes to how you dress your financials.
USALI has been around for almost 100 years. She started out as a guidebook for the Hotel Accountants Association of New York City in the late 1920s. Since then she was adopted by the American Hotel Association and most recently by the association, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals or perhaps better known as HFTP.
She is the bible for the financial standards in the hotel industry. She lays herself out in nauseating detail and provides a solid and usable framework for our industry to follow when it comes to how we present financial information. She also gets around and keeps herself fresh and looking fine by getting a face lift and tummy tuck every 10 years or so. Did you know she is currently on her 11th edition?
She doesn't come cheap though. A current 11th edition is several hundred dollars. The last time I checked on the big A (Amazon), she was listed for $850 for the hardcover and $250 for the paperback. Pro tip: Find the 10th edition or even the 9th and buy it used, you will save a fortune and the updates to the 11th easily can be found summarized online.
I work with many hoteliers to help them get their financial statements to work for them. Many of these businesses make three big mistakes that we need to correct, and we follow Sally's framework when we build their new reporting system. This is not a difficult transition—from mistake to correction—but it is necessary if you want your business on a firm footing and especially if you're looking for financing or investors.
If you are serious about running your business better and you realize that an investment in how you do this will generate superior results, then you're ready for the big leagues. It's not difficult to do this but having a guide can sure make your journey much smoother and faster. As for Sally, she is there to guide all of us to better reporting and to this we owe her a great deal of gratitude. I know other service industries are very jealous of her so we need to be thankful that we have her on our side.
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David Lund is The Hotel Financial Coach, an international hospitality financial leadership expert. He has held positions as a Regional Financial Controller, Corporate Director and Hotel Manager with an international brand for over 30 years. He authored an award-winning workshop on hospitality financial leadership and has delivered it to hundreds of hotel managers. David coachs hospitality executives and delivers his Financial Leadership Training throughout the world, helping hotels increase profits and build financially engaged management teams. He speaks at hospitality company meetings, associations and he has had several articles published in hotel trade magazines and he is the author of three books on Financial Leadership. David is a Certified Hotel Accounting Executive through HFTP and a Certified Professional Coach.
The Hotel Financial Coach