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Accounting Systems in Front Office


Guest folios in a non-automated or manual system contain a series of columns for listing individual debit (charge) and credit (payment) entries accumulated during occupancy. At the end of the business day, each column is totalled and the ending balance is carried forward as the opening folios balance of the following day.


Guest transactions are printed sequentially on a machine posted folio. The information recorded for each transaction included the date, department or reference number amount of the transaction, and a new balance of the account. The folio’s outstanding balance is the amount the guest owes the hotel or the amount the hotel owes the guest in the event of a credit balance at settlement. The column labelled previous balance pickup provides an audit trail within the posting machines framework that helps prove the current outstanding balance is correct. If the semi-automated posting is done by mechanical equipment, it does not retain individual folio balances. This means that each accounts previous balance must be re-entered each time an account posting is made to the folio. This process enables the machine to produce a new current total on the folio card, but it is very error-prone and often and often leads to correct folios balances and subsequent night audit mistakes. Electronic posting equipment often does retain folio balances.


Point of sale transactions may be automatically posted to an electronic folio when a printed copy of a folio is needed, debits (charges) and credits (payments) may appear in a single column with payments distinguished by parentheses or a minus sign. Printed folio copies may also proceed in the traditional multiple-column account format. It is unnecessary to manually maintain an account’s previous balance in a fully automated system since computer-based systems maintain current balances for all folios.


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