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15 April 2014

arena4finance talks with HOSPA graduates

arena4finance has been the proud provider of the Hospitality Professionals Association’s (HOSPA) Education and Training Programmes for over 10 years. Delivering programmes in hospitality Financial Management and Revenue Management, the courses are highly recognised by the industry. Popular amongst finance and revenue management professionals, the courses also attract interest from university graduates who wish to further develop their expertise. Below are the profiles of just two students who have completed the Education and Training Programmes in either Financial Management or Revenue Management.

Esa Ruotsalainen HOSPA ETP in Financial Management, February 2003 - March 2005

Esa graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 1999, obtaining an MSc in International Hotel and Tourism Management. After completing his studies, Esa became Food and Beverage Services Manager at Queens Moat House Hotel in St. Albans where his main responsibilities included managing F&B operations, training F&B staff, setting up the IT systems for the department, and ensuring that company financial and operational objectives were achieved.

Developing an interest in finance whilst studying towards his Master’s degree, Esa applied for and got offered a place on Radisson SAS Hotels’ training programme for future financial controllers. Having no technical accounting training, Esa enrolled on the HOSPA Financial Management programme to develop the required skills for his new role.

Being promoted to Financial Controller during his HOSPA studies, the course gave Esa the confidence to undertake technical accounting tasks and to discuss financial matters with the management team. Through the development of his accounting skills, the course extended Esa’s responsibilities to include the training of departmental managers in cost accounting.

On completion of the HOSPA Financial Management programme, Esa continued his professional development with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), where he was exempt from the Fundamentals of Management Accounting paper. He now runs his own country inn, Marston Montgomery in the Derbyshire Dales, where he is involved in all aspects of the business, including Accounts and Payroll, Sales and Marketing, and Revenue Management.

Why did you choose to study with HOSPA?

HOSPA (then BAHA) seemed the obvious choice due its specialisation in hotel accounting. Also, I had been introduced to HOSPA by Oxford Brookes University whilst studying there. The study method seemed to fit well with my work commitments too. My other option was to enrol for the CIMA qualification, but the training centres were far away and the cost of the course did not suit me at the time.

How did studying for the HOSPA course compare to studying towards your degree?

It was a very different experience as I had taken time off from work whilst studying for my degree. Time pressure was high at times, particularly when I was promoted to the position of Financial Controller in the middle of my HOSPA studies. New responsibilities added to the time strain and the studying got quite hard. However, with perseverance and determination I got through my exams. I also found that on the strategic level [Stage 3], the topics mirrored some of my degree studies and I was able to use that knowledge in the exam. I was even able to use my dissertation for reference.

Would you recommend the HOSPA course to other graduates?

I would definitely recommend the course. It gave me confidence in finance and accounting. As a Financial Controller, I encouraged my accounting staff to enrol for the course and managed to put few through it. It was great to see how it built employee confidence and I know that at least one of them is now a Financial Controller.

Why is it good to work in hospitality finance?

You get to be involved in many different areas of the business, including Food and Beverage, Housekeeping, Sales and Marketing, and Revenue Management. You get to be involved with setting up IT systems, financial targets and control systems, and you get to monitor and audit those systems. You will also be involved in training people who would have not had any exposure to finance or KPIs [Key Performance Indicators] to ensure they meet company requirements.

Emma Morris HOSPA ETP in Revenue Management, September 2011 – March 2013

Graduating from the University of Brighton in 1994 where she studied a degree in International Hospitality Management, Emma began her career as Senior Receptionist at the De Vere Grand Hotel in Brighton. In this role, Emma was responsible for managing the reception team, checking guests in and out, and dealing with any complaints.

Progressing on in her career to manage a team of Revenue Management Analysts, Emma wanted to develop her skills in this area. As her degree programme did not cover the practice of Revenue Management, Emma sought further training in this specialist field and looked to the HOSPA programme. Requiring a professional development programme that was suitable not only for herself but for her team also, Emma and two of her senior analysts began the Revenue Management course in September 2011. Since then, Emma has continued to enrol members of her team on the course.

Emma is now self-employed as a Business Consultant, where she manages Business Process Change projects.

How did studying for the HOSPA course compare to studying towards your degree?

It was very different. The HOSPA course is very much self-study, which was a bit of a challenge to start with, particularly trying to balance a (more than) full time job as well as studying. However, the key thing with self-study is to make sure that you plan the time and make sure you do a little often rather than lots occasionally!

How has the HOSPA course helped you in your career progression?

The HOSPA programme has really helped my team in expertise and also in confidence. A number of the team have been promoted since achieving a Revenue Management qualification through HOSPA. I have now temporarily moved out of the Revenue Management field, but I am sure that if and when I return, the HOSPA qualifications will put me in a good position.

Would you recommend the HOSPA course to other graduates?

Absolutely. Particularly as Revenue Management is such as specialist area and could never be fully covered in a degree programme (unless the degree was a Revenue Management degree!).

Are you interested in a career in Finance or Revenue Management? Are you seeking a certified qualification to cement your current experience? Then call arena4finance today on +44 (0)1202 842809 or email hello@arena4finance to find out how we can help you achieve your career goals.