We don't have to tell you twice that Christmas is a crazy time of year. Whether your business is super busy or not busy enough, the season can feel overwhelming. We've compiled some tips to nudge you in the right direction – so go get 'em this Christmas season!
1. Arrange your employee's time off– early.
When are your employees taking leave? Have all leave requests been processed and approved? Have you checked to make sure all employees have enough leave accrued for their requested time off? What if the employee doesn’t have enough Annual Leave? Get to these questions before the madness of December sets in.
(Note: Employees can apply for leave without pay if they have not accrued enough leave. Depending on the employee and internal policy an employer can pay an employee for annual leave that has not been accrued.)
2. Make sure your money doesn't take a break.
The last thing you want when enjoying your holidays is an calling to ask why someting hasn't been paid. So, if you have part/full-time employees and your office is shutting down over the break, make sure you have a plan in place so payroll is still processing timesheets.
With this in mind, if you are currently in a Payment Arrangement, here are some tips to avoid missing a payment this festive season:
Refresh yourself with the payment schedule and due dates. Take note if your due date falls on a public holiday, and ensure you make a payment prior to it's due date. If you are on a direct debit, ensure you have enough funds in your account. If you make the payments yourself, think about setting up an automatic bPay 2-3 days prior to your due date.
3. Watch out for public holidays!
Over the Christmas break you run into 3 public holidays – Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. If you’re asking employees to work on these days, make sure you’re across their entitlements. The public holidays for the 2019/2020 Christmas and New Year Period are:
- Wednesday 25th December 2019
- Thursday 26th December 2019
- Wednesday 1st January 2020
Make sure that any permanent staff member, who’s rostered ordinary days/hours fall on any of these dates, is paid as per their base rate. If you are open for business on these days, then any employee who is rostered on to work will receive public holiday rates.
4. Get that cash flowin'.
Silent Night. Or day. Or couple of weeks. During the Christmas period most business will experience a slow down in trading, if not a complete standstill. However bills will still need to be paid and managing cash flow over this period is super important.
Get your invoices out ASAP. Don’t wait until just before your office shuts down to sort your invoices out. Do part invoices, or invoices in advance – make sure your customers know they are coming.
5. Incentivise outstanding debts.
If you need some cash in the door to sustain you over the break, consider offering a discount on the debt if paid before December 20. Also, know your major customers Christmas shut down dates and make sure you are one of the first welcome backs they get in the new year 👋
6. Take some advice from Highland!
Woof! I might only be a 6-month-old-pup, but I’m full of beans. You see, I know what I need to do to get fed. I gotta sit down, shake, and be a good boy. So if I, a crazy little pup, can teach you one simple thing, it would be to understand what you need to be paying most attention to. What do you need to be doing to ensure you are getting well fed by your clients? Take some time before Christmas or over the break to contemplate that, so your 2020 can be as good as a scratch on the belly!
7. Find a day to dream.
When you run a business, Christmas allows for some time where you can get away from the day to day of the business.
Find one day where you go away from it all, maybe to the beach, the bush or the pub, and think broadly about the year that is to come, and the year gone by. What is it that you want your business to achieve in the next 12 months? What lessons have you learned? What is the best case scenario for your business and what might you need to get you there?
8. Make it practical.
Take your dreaming and reflect on this year and the next.
- What new products / services worked, what didn’t?
- What would you like to introduce in the new year? New customer experiences, new invoice templates, automated processes, etc.
- Which customers should you be focusing on?
- Is it time to ramp up marketing and advertising? Can your business handle the extra demand? Can you afford it?
- Is it time to hire more staff? What do you need to know about payroll and super?
9. Check the mail!
Just because Christmas tends to be a fun-filled, busy time of festivity for most of us, this doesn’t mean the Australian Tax Office shuts down and takes a break with us all.
Please remember not only to check your mail for any important notices that may arrive (and a little longer than expected too, due to the amount of online shopping and Christmas cards being sent) but also your My Gov account.
The ATO is utilising paperless post more and more these days, which is great as you can still be sitting on a beach, drink in hand, getting some sun while reading your notices on your phone or tablet. Make sure you check the action-by dates in case it is over the period you are away. A simple check can save a lot of trouble later on.
10. Don’t You (Forget About Me)...
Brought to you by General Ledger (Illumin8’s Siamese Fighting Fish aka Head of Security)
If you’re lucky enough to be shutting up shop and taking a break over the summer, here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Bills don’t go on holidays, even if you do. Don’t forget to pay your suppliers. It may be helpful to organise direct debits and auto payments on bills so it’s a case of set and (don’t) forget!
If you’re spending time away from the business premises, make sure you’ve taken measures to ensure things will be exactly as you left them when you return. This might mean securely locking up equipment, a new security system or surveillance cameras, or even hiring a third party to take care of it for you. Forgetting this could end with devastating consequences which have the potential to cause significant emotional and financial stress.
11. Work on yourself, not just your tan.
If your business keeps going over Christmas, make sure you take time to rest. Running a business is awesome, rewarding, crazy and exhausting. Take a moment to check in with the heart of the business (that’s you!) and ask yourself this….. rrrr you ready for 2020?
Recovered –from the (hopefully) kick ass year you just had! Rested –starting the new year mentally and physically fresh sets a super positive tone for the future! Reflecting –on the year that was, what went well & what could have gone better. This is key to forging the stepping stones of your plans for the new year. Re-aligning – don’t be afraid to shift your focus in 2020 if it’s time for change.
12. Come back ready to go.
Make sure you come back after Christmas ready to share your reflections and goals from the break. Your employees need to know where they're headed, so communicate it with the rest of your team to create accountability and focus for the year to come.
From all of us at Illumin8, we're wishing you a very happy festive season. Keep kicking butt!