By Pete Rizzo (@pete_rizzo_)
Depressed daily rates in major markets, the high cost of employee healthcare, scarce capital for building renovations – all of these concerns loomed large over hotel operators entering 2013. As a result, it’s not exactly a surprise that concerns over a lack of advanced accounts payable solutions weren’t top-of-mind for many in the hotel industry.
With 2013 almost in the books, however, one thing sets accounts payable problems apart – they’ve now moved closer to a solution.
Thanks to a new partnership between payment solutions provider CSI Enterprises and accounting software specialist M3 Accounting + Analytics, hotel operators now have the ability to modernize their accounts payable process in a way that the companies say reduces the required labor and manpower.
“Previous to our partnership with CSI, our customers would print paper checks, stick them in envelopes, put them in the mail and send them to the vendor,” Allen Read, president and COO at M3, told PYMNTS.com in an interview. “Now our customers are able to streamline their payments, and additionally, we are able to get a rebate back from their payments, which they never were able to do before.”
Launched just last month, the partnership finds CSI offering its globalVCard paysystem as a new feature available through M3’s hosted back-office accounting software. The result, the companies say, is a turnkey solution that allows M3’s 3,000 hotel properties to take advantage of CSI’s globalVCard electronic accounts payable system.
So, what convinced CSI and M3 that it was time to bring this innovation to the hotel sector? For this answer, PYMNTS.com spoke to Read and David Disque, senior vice president and director of operations at CSI, to learn more.
How Did CSI’s And M3’s Partnership Come To Be?
In hindsight, a partnership that merges CSI’s software with M3’s client base may seem like a no-brainer. But, sometimes the best ideas are generated by listening, not acting. That was the case for CSI and M3 and their new solution, according to Read and Disque.
Read told PYMNTS.com that the companies were inspired to work together at the suggestion of a mutual customer, whose strong reaction to the idea indicated there would likely be a demand for the solution in the market.
“I remember the customer saying, ‘It’s like I’ve just got Christmas in July,'” Read said.
Who Can Benefit From The Service?
Of M3’s 3,000 hotels, Read estimates 45 percent are large, big-box hotels that may have other avenues by which to pursue an automated accounts payable solution. But, Read noted that small hotels would “not be able to achieve or participate in the benefits that CSI provides” without M3’s new deal.
Disque agreed with Read’s assessment, indicating that smaller hotels may not have been able to achieve the complexity of integration in accounts payable that they can with CSI and M3 from other sources. But, both were sure to stress that the solution is not limited or best suited to any one type of hotel.
“From the client’s perspective, it’s just simply an alternative payment type,” Disque said. “They literally turn the switch, and they could be processing payments, and it offers a service now to all of M3’s client base.”
How Will Hotels Benefit From CSI’s And M3’s Accounts Payable Solutions?
In response to this question, Disque and Read painted a clear picture of why they believe hotels will truly benefit from their accounting software. The execs stressed the industry knowledge their companies bring to the table – M3, in particular, was built by individuals who own and operate hotels – and the efficiency users can now achieve. Disque noted CSI’s user-friendly interface as one of its strongest contributions.
Still, that wasn’t all Disque and Read discussed. For more on how CSI and M3 are innovating in the payment space and advancing security and control in accounting software, listen to our full podcast here.
*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.
SVP/Director Operations for CSI Enterprises, Inc.
SVP/Director Operations for CSI Enterprises, Inc. Mr. Disque has worked as Vice President of Operations for CSI Enterprises, Inc. since early 2001. His diverse skill set has lent to the development of key corporate payment offerings and client service initiatives for all of CSI’s business operations. In addition, Mr. Disque has been Instrumental in the development of the globalVCard paysystems for Accounts Payable which has become CSI’s growth engine in leading the company to new heights market penetration and transaction spend volumes. David’s vast experience has allowed him to deliver numerous presentations on corporate payments and electronic payables topics as well as being actively involved in the innovative programming and development of CSI’s electronic accounts payable and GlobalVCard Paysystems initiatives.
President/Chief Operating Officer for M3 Accounting + Analytics
President/Chief Operating Officer Allen Read brings over 20 years of hospitality industry experience to M3 Accounting + Analytics. He began his career as a front desk associate at the Best Western Hotel in Natchez, Mississippi in 1986. Upon relocating to Georgia in 1990, Allen joined McKibbon Brothers as a front desk associate at the Thomasville Holiday Inn. Over several years, he broadened his knowledge of the industry by working in a variety of roles, leading to his position as General Manager at several McKibbon-owned hotels throughout Georgia. In 1999, Allen transitioned to Director of Information Services. With the development of the new McKibbon Company, M3 Hotel Accounting, he became one of the company’s first employees, acting as Business Manager. In January 2002, Allen was made a Partner in the company, and promoted to Vice President of Operations. Five years later in January 2007, he was named President and Chief Operating Officer. Allen is a graduate of Mississippi State University’s College of Engineering, and a Certified Hotel Administrator.