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9 September 2015

USALI update for hotel finance teams

In June we were delighted to co-host with the HOSPA Professional Development Committee a one day seminar exploring the implications and implementation issues arising from the publication of the latest edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI).

The USALI sets out recommended formats, account headings and cost classifications for the preparation and presentation of financial statements for hotels and related businesses. The first edition was published in 1926 and since then this guide has become the industry standard for best practice reporting. Over the years the USALI has been revised and updated several times with the 11thedition published in June 2014 by the Hotel Association of New York and the Financial Management Committee of theAmerican Hotel & Lodging Association(AH&LA) with funding from the Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals (HFTP).

The purpose of the USALI is to provide a uniform accounting system for the hotel industry which enables internal and external users of financial information and statistics to compare the performance of similar properties in the sector. The new edition contains a significant number of revisions which, the authors explain, is a reflection of the need to update due to changes in industry practice and Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) and to address issues that have arisen since the previous edition. Full adoption of these changes is required in order to remain compliant with the system and the recommended date for adoption was 1st January 2015.

The workshop, held at the City of London Apex Hotel, featured a group of senior hospitality financial controllers in informed and vigorous discussions on the changes.

These changes in reporting terms, and in some cases methodology, have been incorporated in the following areas of the:

  • Summary Operating Statement
  • Operating Schedules for specific departments such as Food and Beverage
  • Non-Operating Income and Expenses
  • Financial Ratios and Operating Metrics
  • Financial Statements
  • Revenue and Expense Guide

These aspects were discussed as part of the one day seminar which was facilitated by Debra Adams from arena4finance and Diana Mountain, the outgoing chair of the HOSPA Finance Committee. We were also pleased to welcome international hotel specialist advisor, Howard Field. Howard consulted on the production of the 11th Edition of the USALI and is the author of guides to the USALI 9thand 10theditions entitled 'A Practical Guide to the Uniform System of Accounts for the Hospitality Industry'.

During the day Howard and Diana explained the updates and then the following specific issues and their impacts were debated amongst the group:

Changing terminology

Gross and net revenues

Miscellaneous income

Service charges and surcharges

Operating ratios

In particular the impact of the recommendations for service charges and surcharges caused much debate.

It is worth noting that this latest edition of the USALI includes access to Excel templates for all the main reports – all of which are downloadable from publishers following purchase of the text.

Further updates?

eCornell has this excellent video panel discussion, moderated by Cornell Professor, Jan de Roos, which highlights changes and provides guidelines for best accounting practices.

Joining de Roos on the panel is Robert Mandelbaum, Director of Research Information Services forPKF Hospitality Researchand Greg Remeikis, partner in CohnReznick Accounting & Auditing practice; co-director of the Mid-Atlantic Hospitality Practice; and a member of the firm’s National Hospitality Industry Leadership Committee.

To watch the video from eCornell visit

Order a copy of the USALI?

A copy of the 11th edition can be purchased from the HOSPA bookshop at

When is this seminar available again?

Tuesday 22nd September 2015

The one-day course is priced at £250 + VAT per delegate and includes lunch and a copy of the 11th Edition plus 14 days access to the online classroom. The course runs from 9.30am until 4.30pm.

Location: Apex City of London Hotel, 1 Seething Lane, London, EC3N 4AX

How do I register?

To register your place at this event, please email or call our team on +44 (0)1202 842809.