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HOSPA CEO Jane Pendlebury comments on the importance of education throughout your career.

As I hope you all know, one of the most important things that we do at HOSPA is professional development. We have two main certifications, the first being Finance and the second Revenue Management. Both are popular courses with great feedback from the people who take the course or sponsor one or more of their team to complete the learning. Both courses come with three levels - Introductory, Operational and finally Strategic - and take six months each to complete.

Those who already have a lot of experience can join at a level to suit their already existing knowledge and skills, which means that - thanks to this tiered system - we have people from all levels of hospitality enrolling. In fact one of last years’ highest scoring candidates was a General Manager who had wanted to truly understand revenue management.

The General Manager in question, David Clancy, is GM of the Leonardo Edinburgh Capital Hotel, and he had this to say about his experience: “The course is designed to offer best practice and the work-based assessments definitely allow me to enhance my own revenue management decision-making across all the revenue generating outlets in my hotel. The knowledge and skills I have and am developing from participating in this course will assist in my day-to-day performance along with my career opportunities, and I am very grateful to the teaching and guidance offered by the team at HOSPA.”

It is fantastic that David has recognised the benefits a HOSPA course can bring. An experienced GM gaining so much from them, just serves to underline how worthwhile the courses are. It’s a wonderful endorsement and our courses are something we encourage other GMs to look into. For further feedback on them, please see www.hospa.org/en/education/what-our-employers-say/

I recently read the article behind this link. www.hotelfinancialcoach.com/hospitality-financial-leadership-why-teaching-accounting-inhotel-school-is-waste-of-time/ It’s an interesting read, but in short David Lund’s article suggests that teaching accounting in hotel schools is a waste of time. Given its seemingly negative spin, it might seem a strange choice for its inclusion in The Overview!

However, on further reading, you will see how he makes a strong case for distinguishing between what should be being taught to future hotel operational managers as against what is appropriate for future financial managers.

It made me cast my mind back to my own university experience. The accounting element of my BSc in Catering was an area of deep concern for many of my contemporaries. We learned how to prepare a Balance Sheet and a P&L amongst other technical and mathematical tasks. I suspect the majority of those who are not directly involved in finance never have to do this. However, understanding how to read and comprehend the figures becomes crucially important as junior staff get promoted up through the organisation. The fundamentals of preparing a budget preparation and understanding cash flow are also key to future success.

There is no doubt that it’s challenging for all colleges and universities to provide lecturers with the relevant knowledge and experience, as well as delivering courses that focus on the specialist aspects of operational and management accounting in the hospitality industry. The tools and textbooks that address these subjects adequately for non-financial managers are few and far between. 

Where HOSPA can help is with its members’ meetings and events programme. These highlight operational issues relevant to the sector, while our courses are geared to explaining and providing examples of standards applied within the industry such as the Uniform System of Accounts.

David Lund himself is a great example of a finance professional who is dedicated to supporting operational managers with the tools and information necessary for them to understand, interpret and act on financial data and to help them to be more effective without having to become accountants.

I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on this, Jane.Pendlebury@hospa.org

For more information on the HOSPA courses, please contact the Professional Development Team on 01202 889430 or education@hospa.org

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