When Nichols took the position as staff accountant/accounts payable associate for Pinnacle Hotel Management in 2003, she had to quickly acquaint herself with a new company and a new accounting system. "It was my first day on the job. It was also Pinnacle's first day of training on their new accounting software, Profitvue," Nichols said.
"Profitvue, from Aptech Computer Systems, was different from the mega-brand systems, but it was hospitality based and easy to learn. I picked up the ins and outs of Pinnacle's management company financial statement and reporting preferences, but at that time we had to create all of our custom reports manually. The company's property management and back office systems were not yet integrated. This manual process left room for error," Nichols said. "We created all of our budgets using spreadsheets. Looking back, it was very inefficient, but it worked at the time."
Today Pinnacle operates 24 properties made up chiefly of Marriott and Hilton brands. "As we grew, and Aptech introduced new products to the industry, we added Aptech's Execuvue® Hospitality Business Intelligence and Targetvue Budgeting and Forecasting systems," Nichols said. "Today all of our systems are integrated and we capture property data multiple times a day without any rekeying and can create any ad-hoc report desired."
Execuvue is Aptech's IBM Cognos-based ASP enterprise hospitality business intelligence (BI) application that automatically gathers property data from leading property management, time and attendance, and other third-party systems. Targetvue is Aptech's hospitality-driven budgeting and forecasting solution. Aptech joined forces with PROPHIX to develop a budgeting and forecasting application fully-integrated with its Execuvue hospitality business intelligence and accounting systems.
"Pinnacle is unique. Our owners and managers have a wealth of experience and want to see property performance from different angles," Nichols said. "We leverage our Execuvue BI analysis and reporting capability. Along with standard financial reporting we use the system's ad hoc report building tool to drag and drop raw data elements to create custom reports at our regional managers' request. The system lets me analyze data to spotlight specific information, like T/A fees as a percentage of revenue, in less than a minute. I can also create reports for specific time frames and prior years to provide as much or as little detail as needed, all on the fly." Nichols said she frequently pulls performance data for cost per occupied room with trailing 12 months vs. prior year's cost for each expense item. "This kind of precise breakdown makes analyzing our operation's performance much easier. These can give us an 'ah ha' moment that helps us be more profitable and creates a culture of hands-on numbers-based management."
Pinnacle's property managers enter their budget numbers in their Targetvue budgeting and forecasting system. "Targetvue is set up like Excel, we can enter cost per occupied room and it will flow through to other budget areas to simplify the process," Nichols said. "Targetvue eliminates the need to correct and consolidate multiple spreadsheets for review and reporting. I can spread annual expenses over 12 months and do this with other metrics. I set up reports so at budget time I can see changes against prior years. This data goes to Execuvue for next year's forecast, which cuts hours of time off processing budget reports."
Execuvue and Targetvue reports can combine actual results with budgeted or forecasted data. Pinnacle finds these tools to be valuable in evaluating financials. "Execuvue and Targetvue are essential tools for our budget season's processes," Nichols said. "Aptech developed several detailed reports for Pinnacle that provide vital statistics such as cost per occupied room, or percentage of room revenue for all expenses. Before, we would find ourselves sitting in budget review meetings with spreadsheets and Excel files feverishly calculating these amounts on our own. Now, everything is calculated for us with the click of a mouse. It has made our budgeting process flow much smoother."
Pinnacle Hotel Management was founded in 1997 by Ron Franklin and Dick Vilardo to develop and manage Marriott and Hilton branded hotels. Their first project, the 123-room Courtyard Orlando East/UCF opened in June of 1997. Since that time they have developed or purchased 37 additional hotels. Pinnacle's largest project to date is the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, a 304-room, full service hotel. The company manages its own hotels, as well as those owned by other companies. Pinnacle has completed 29 ground up hotel development projects in markets such as Washington, D.C., Florida, New England and California. Pinnacle has also successfully completed several brand conversion projects including the Courtyard Alexandria, Virginia, the Fairfield Inn and Suites Palm Beach, Florida Courtyard Key West, the Boston Courtyard Billerica/Bedford, Massachusetts, and the successful brand conversion of the Courtyard Marriott Philadelphia City Avenue.
Aptech Computer Systems, Inc., based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the only provider of a fully integrated enterprise accounting, business intelligence and planning ecosystem to the hospitality industry. All of its clients are companies like yours, which own or manage hotels. Its solutions help customers at both the corporate and property levels understand their financial and operational data for faster goal achievement.
The company is renowned for introducing business intelligence into the hotel industry, and offers a solid resource of hospitality professionals. Aptech is an IBM Software Value Plus partner and Premier Solution Provider, as well as a Prophix Premier Business Partner.
Incorporated in 1970, Aptech's state-of-the-art back office, true business intelligence and enterprise planning solutions are 100% hotel specific. Solutions include PVNG, Execuvue®, and Targetvue. Clients comprise over 3,500 properties - including large chains, multiple-property management companies and single-site hotels. Execuvue is registered to Aptech Computer Systems, Inc. All other trademarks are owned by their respective holders. For more information please visit www.aptech-inc.com.