Tribal gaming properties can reap numerous benefits by bringing their accounting services in-house
BY KURT WILLIAMS, CASINO CASH TRAC
Countless tribes have transitioned from bingo halls to casinos with slot machines and table games, and for many, from small temporary structures to elegant architectural buildings. Many things have changed for most of the tribes that have gaming establishments during the last quarter century; however, some things have not. One area that some tribes and their casinos are still striving to master is possibly one of the most critical functions, accounting.
During the proliferation of Indian gaming, many tribes were forced to outsource accounting in their thriving operations to firms with experience in the area. This was understandable, because the Indian gaming market exploded quickly and a good pool of talent takes time to build. Now that years have passed, this talent pool has grown and the tides have turned.
That said, casino accounting remains one of the most common outsourced functions. When accounting is outsourced you lose control over a vital function of the operation. It can seem overwhelming to build a new accounting department from the ground up, but with good planning and careful execution, it can create valuable jobs and save tribes and casinos a lot of money month after month.
The majority of us are familiar with the old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” It is hard to argue with such logic. However, from the service providers prospective, Karl Marx may be more correct when he said, “Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.” The organization that you are outsourcing to must maintain certain levels of profitability, and understandably so, but their profits come at the tribe’s expense.
If your facility is currently outsourcing the accounting function, it may be time to consider insourcing. Start by weighing the pros and cons. Most commonly, casino management is hesitant to bring accounting back in house because of the lack of qualified personnel, compliance, policies and procedures to address accounting, costs of setting up an in-house accounting department and sometimes fear of “getting it right,” among others. These are all valid concerns; however, with planning, implementation support, training, tools, procedures and systems in place you can most certainly overcome these concerns. This is where an experienced professional can help. There may be an initial investment to make this transition; nevertheless, the long-term savings heavily outweigh these initial costs.
FOLLOW THE MONEY
While valid concerns about insourcing accounting do exist, the benefits far exceed those issues, the most noticeable of which is money. Outsourcing the accounting functions is expensive. Review the cost of your outsourcing and consider the continued effect on profits for years to come. Better yet, look back at the last five years of operations and determine how much outsourcing has cost your operation. The cost of staffing your own accounting department will almost certainly cost less.
Another benefit is job creation. In my experience, job creation and training are often at the top of the list when talking with tribal leaders. Insourcing your accounting functions is an opportunity to recruit, train, and employ tribal members for well paying positions.
Another advantage of insourcing is timing. It often takes time to gather all of the information and documents, send it to someone else, and wait for the results. Having a properly organized in-house accounting department to perform these functions will absolutely speed up the flow of information to management. Making great business decisions is contingent upon having timely information.
A high functioning accounting department also provides several benefits to any organization such as, identifying areas to save money or develop efficiencies, provide cost-benefit analysis of capital expenditures, and build budget and forecast models to name a few. With all of this information readily available at your fingertips, there is no need to look to someone else to perform these essential functions.
AUDIT SYSTEM A MUST
The final step in bringing accounting in house is to have a CAS (Casino Audit System) provider to make the entire process of accounting and revenue audit more efficient. Casino Cash Trac is one of the CAS solutions and it captures financial transactions in the cage and vault, and then merges data from the systems throughout the casino into a best-of-breed analytics tool allowing accounting and revenue audit to see everything in one place.
No matter how long you have outsourced your accounting, you can still develop a solid action plan that will allow you to make the confident decision to insource your accounting. Bringing your accounting department back in-house is not an overnight project, but it could be a very positive and cost effective step towards building the enterprise knowledge base that will benefit your casino and tribe for years to come.
Kurt Williams is a CPA as well as co-founder and CEO of Casino Cash Track, a Tulsa, Okla.-based provider of Casino Insight, a suite of tools that manages the entire accounting operations as well as providing business intelligence and campaign management for gaming properties. He can be
reached at www.casinocashtrac.com.
Nevada gaming machine route operator turns to hosted SaaS solution to streamline employee scheduling process
BY CELAYIX SOFTWARE
For one Nevada route operator responsible for servicing 7,100 gaming devices in bars, taverns, convenience and grocery stores throughout the state, scheduling its geographically diverse workforce was a complex and daunting task. A common phrase around the office, “geography in the route business is not our friend,” meant that finding out who can work and most importantly, where they would work, was not a simple answer.
Despite a staff of schedulers, the large workforce meant accounting for vacation time and last minute call-ins was an overwhelming job. Crucial to the business was identifying staff that could work at a moment’s notice, but also knowing the locations where employees were available. According to the company’s vice president of gaming development and technology, keeping track of all the information was “brain-damaging.”
The scheduling department attempted to create a static schedule, but countless changes were made as soon as it was published. Any scheduling solution implemented had to “change direction
HOST WITH THE MOST
The company needed a hosted, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that could manage their operational complexity. The route operator opted for the eTime Xpress solution from Celayix Software. Once eTime Xpress was selected, Celayix’s implementation team quickly set up a rules-based system that fit the bill for the company. “The Celayix team was very thoughtful during implementation, and were able to leverage past experiences for our benefit,” the vice president of gaming development and technology said.
With Celayix’s workforce management solutions, the company is able to more effectively schedule staff and accommodate last minute changes. In one region, the company was able to schedule its staff eight times faster than before Celayix. Building a biweekly schedule used to take two hours; it now only takes 15 minutes.
Costs are also controlled, since the scheduling department is now no longer expected to mentally apply overtime rules when substituting replacement employees. With overtime now coded into the system, it has paid for itself.
The “scheduling headaches” of the past have also been eliminated, as Celayix’s automated solution allows schedulers to change shift information on the fly. Finding the right employee, for the right location, now happens in a fraction of the time.
Now, employee availability, staff physical location and site preferences, as well as time off and vacation requests, are built into the system. This reduces the amount of manual intervention into the scheduling process, and allows the company to grow the business.
Celayix Software is a Seattle, Wash.-based provider of eTime Xpress employee scheduling software. For more information on Celayix workforce management solutions, visit www.celayix.com.
Seven Clans taps accounting solution and policy/procedure update for all three of its casinos
BY JOSEPH EVE CPAS
JOSEPH EVE CPAs has installed the highly regarded and advanced CasinoEdge Intacct cloud financial management solution at all three Seven Clans Casinos locations in Minnesota. The software brings greater efficiency, increased control and a decreased total cost of ownership to the properties.
Additionally, JOSEPH EVE wrote an update of the casinos’ policies and procedures and performed a finance transformation assessment followed by implementation of the solution.
“As a multi-site operator, we needed a solution that would unite our properties’ procedures while at the same time streamlining our overall operations, increasing accounting accuracy, and decreasing wasteful inefficiencies,” said Edward Hanson, CFO of Red Lake Gaming Enterprises. “We have worked with JOSEPH EVE in the past, and when they presented the CasinoEdge Intacct solution, it immediately became clear we had found what we needed.”
The Intacct system includes accounting, cash management, purchasing, vendor management, financial consolidation, revenue recognition, project accounting, fund accounting, inventory management and financial reporting applications, all delivered over the Internet via cloud computing.
LIVING ON THE EDGE
JOSEPH EVE’s CasinoEdge configuration of the Intacct solution allows Seven Clans to increase efficiencies, reduce costs, empower better decision-making and reduce errors. Specifically, the software enables:
• Electronic purchasing and purchase approvals from any device (computer, tablet, smartphone);
• Better decision-making utilizing user-friendly on-demand reports and dashboards that pair operational data with financial data for any defined time period; and
• Increased accuracy through a revenue audit and posting process that is simple, more automated, less error prone, and consistent across all three properties.
“Installing our CasinoEdge configuration of the Intacct systems is a major step forward for Seven Clans,” Lindan Elliott, senior manager-consulting for JOSEPH EVE. “In addition to increased efficiencies and more-informed business decision-making, the anticipated ROI for the project is 222 percent with a projected total cost of ownership that is 63 percent less than the solution that is being replaced. We are confident the CasinoEdge Intacct solution will deliver the measureable results the tribe expects.”
Founded in 1983, Billings, Mont.-based JOSEPH EVE CPAs is a team of more than 60 certified public accountants, certified fraud examiners and experienced team members providing a wide range of services for clients in more than 28 states. Some of the firm’s services include external and internal audit, financial management software and Title 31/AML assessments. For more information, visit www.josepheve.com.
Counting on better service
Innovative currency processing solutions help casinos by improving customer service
BY CUMMINS ALLISON
As more and more states legalize gambling and approve the expansion of gambling operations, new casinos continue to enter the gaming market. Whether they’re large resorts or smaller slot casinos, these new gaming properties must do all they can to get a leg up on the competition in order to attract patrons—and keep them coming back. For many, this means increased focus on customer service.
Cummins Allison, a leading innovator and provider of coin, currency and check processing technology as well as ATMs, outlines how investments in technology such as money and ticket counters can help casinos enhance customer service by improving speed and accuracy when processing a patron’s coins, cash and tickets.
Quickly convert customer winnings with money and ticket counters: The cash cage is just one of the areas where casinos must deliver outstanding customer service. The ability to quickly convert winnings into cash keeps customers happy and coming back, which is an important aspect of running a profitable gaming operation. Advanced money and ticket counters give casinos efficient and accurate means to process players’ winnings. Using ticket-in, ticket-out (TITO) reading technology, these devices scan and sort each note, making the exchange process quick and accurate. The ability to read and image mixed tickets and cash-in a single pass eliminates the need to presort tickets and cash before processing, for a quicker cash-out experience. As a result, patrons can spend less time waiting in line and more time on the gaming floor.
Imaging tickets also allows casinos to eliminate many of the costs associated with ticket storage. It lets them quickly and accurately retrieve ticket information at a later date without having to dig through boxes.
Enhance customer service with self-service coin: Some casinos have increased player services by installing self-service coin machines—giving local residents a faster alternative to having casino cage employees count their coins. Patrons simply pour their coins into the coin tray, and within seconds, the machine counts their coins and prints a receipt. They then simply take the receipt to the cashier for conversion to cash and quickly begin spending money on the gaming floor. In addition to benefitting customers, self-service kiosks with on-screen advertising capabilities give casinos another way promote their games, restaurants and other services.
Mt. Prospect, Ill.-based Cummins Allison is a leading innovator and provider of check, currency and coin handling solutions, as well as full-function ATMs. TFor more information, visit www.cumminsallison.com.