Program Web Address



In her discussion - Understanding Annual Reports of Hospitality Firms - by Elisa S. Moncarz, Associate Professor, School of Hospitality Management, Florida International University, Associate Professor Moncarz initially offers: “Management bears full responsibility for the reporting function of annual reports prepared by publicly-held companies designed to provide interested parties with information that is useful in making business and economic decisions. In Part I the author reviews the content of annual reports of firms in the hospitality industry, while looking at recent developments affecting annual reports. Part 11, in a subsequent issue, will comprise an in-depth examination of the annual report of an actual firm in the hospitality industry, focusing on suggested guidelines and recommendations for how to use annual reports as an aid to the decision-making process in the hospitality industry.”

This article is to be considered a primer on reading and understanding annual reports, as well as a glimpse into the dynamics that affect them.

In defining what an annual report is, Associate Professor Moncarz informs you with citation, “Annual reports are required by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) ¹ for all companies with securities sold to the general public. These reports, which must be issued within 90 days after the close of the calendar (or fiscal) year, comprise a primary source of information about these companies,” she further reports. “Indeed, the official version of the company's history is summed up yearly in its annual report by providing full information of the company's operations over the period as well as what the company is gearing up to accomplish in the next year,” Professor Moncarz closes the definition.

Why should thus happen over and above SEC requirements? The financial component is an important one; the author offers her informed view: “The major objective of financial statement reporting is to provide information that is useful to present and potential investors, creditors, and other financial statement users in making rational investment, credit, and similar decisions. Thus, financial statements represent the primary (and most reliable) source of knowledge about a particular firm in the hospitality industry.” The above two paragraphs crystallize the requirement and the objective of annual reports.

“A typical annual report of a hospitality firm contains a number of standard features which may be broken down into the following three sections…” General, financial data, and supplementary data are variously bounded and circumscribed for you.

As a marketing device and feel-good initiative, the annual report is a useful tool for a hospitality corporation that is in-the-black, and focused on the future, says the author. She cites the Marriott Corporation’s 1985 annual report as an example. Of course, an annual report can also be a harbinger of bad news for shareholders as well.

Notes/footnotes and disclosure are key elements to the credibility of any annual report; Professor Moncarz discusses these concepts at length.

“Given the likelihood that the hospitality industry will continue to face an uncertain economic environment for some time, financial statement users should become more demanding in their need for information that will help assure the firm's survival and evaluate its ability to

generate earnings, increase the firm's investment value, and provide for its future growth,” Professor Moncarz says. “Accordingly, understanding annual reports in the hospitality industry should become even more critical.”