How much accounting should every hotelier know?

Many college educators ask people in the industry what skills our profession requires of graduates. In this column, I have asked about writing skills, the balance between experience and educational credentials, analytic skills and professional grooming. You have valuable insights to post in reply, and engaging in dialogue is one of the outstanding traits of this publication’s blog series.

In our faculty and curricula meetings, we debate what optimum and baseline competencies graduates of our hospitality management program should have in different areas. Today I am asking you, readers, what is the basic, minimum level of understanding that a new hire should have in accounting, specifically hotel or restaurant-related accounting? 

Usually two, sometimes, three courses in general and hospitality-specific accounting and financial management have been the norm to complete a bachelor’s degree for hospitality management programs. If you were hiring talent for your property, not specifically in your controller’s office, what do you expect the minimum knowledge level in accounting and financial management to be? And how, before hiring, do you determine a job candidate’s financial acumen?