Weathering the storm of the effects of Christmas on business

We’re told it is the season to be jolly, but for small businesses, the festive season brings a variety of issues that can make Christmas a real headache. From early payment of salaries to potential late payment of invoices, business owners have to work hard to stay on top over the Christmas period.

Christmas parties will have become an expected perk by staff, and with many a ‘do’ likely to have taken place by now, business owners shouldn’t go into the Christmas break without having filed all receipts and expense logs attributed to this accordingly, to avoid anything becoming lost or forgotten over the break.

If Christmas gifts for staff are still being considered, it’s a good idea to buy something such as chocolates or a bottle of wine – these kinds of gifts can be given without tax implications, saving another accounting headache.

It is also wise not to let any debts linger – don’t be afraid to use the last remaining days before Christmas shut down to carry out a final chaser on unpaid and overdue invoices. If this isn’t done, it’s just another thing to add to the January to-do list – let alone the cash flow issues non-payment can cause.

Give staff the responsibility of ensuring the office closure is taken care of, such as informing customers and clients of closure dates and giving out emergency contact details if necessary, or putting on the security alarm (ensuring the contact details in the event or it going off are correct and up-to-date). Don’t waste energy (and money) unnecessarily by leaving equipment on, even in stand-by mode.

Use any downtime in the run up to closure to think about the business, from planning and goals for 2016 to inviting suggestions or feedback from staff. Anything that can be done on this ahead of time means that everyone can hit the ground running in the New Year with a renewed vigour and clear goals.

Most of all, enjoy the break for what it is: when the last minute shopping for gifts and the purchasing of far too much food is done, it is time to relax and spend quality time with loved ones.