With Christmas just around the corner, many of us have already decked the halls, completed our Christmas shopping and have plans in the diary for every weekend during December.

Others might leave things until last minute, with only two shopping weekends to go until the big day. This weekend is set to be the busiest weekend on the high street of the year, with many getting prepped with Christmas trees and gifts.

Whether you’ve been organised since November, or you’ve not had a bite of a mince pie yet, it is important to understand how you can prepare for Christmas for your business.

The last few weeks will have been incredibly busy across all sectors. Getting your freelancing plans organised will mean more time to enjoy seeing family and friends and more time to spend on your own personal project during the break, rather than focusing on client work.

IPSE research has revealed that if you’re self-employed, your business can improve by taking more time off. One in 10 have actually not taken any days away from work in the last 12 months.

Not only that, but mentally, it is important to take time away for your own wellbeing. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

The festive season means your clients will probably be winding down over the holidays too, meaning there is much less pressure to get back to it until the New Year.

When you’re busy with work and fighting for that work/life balance, one thing that can help is if someone else is looking after your finances. Having a good accountant on your side during busy periods can make a huge difference, but what else can you be doing as a small business to ensure from now until the new year runs smoothly?

We’ve pulled together a host of tips to help you make the end of 2022 successful as a small business.

Set aside a budget

If you’re not working over Christmas, it also means that you will not be bringing in an income, so it is worth accounting for in your budget to have enough aside for December and into January. It’s also worth noting that if the financial department of your clients are on holiday over the festive period, it is less likely that your invoices will be settled between December 24th and January 3nd.

Limits for Christmas parties

If you are trading through a limited company, rather than as a sole trader or partnership, you can claim a tax relief for a business celebration. Annually, you are allowed up to £150 per employee, or up to £300 if a guest is included. Please note that the £150 per head amount is a limit and not an allowance.

Remember to put any Christmas parties or meals through the books to reward yourself and any staff you might have.

Don’t forget your tax returns and payments

Having everything in hand ahead of the holidays is so important. You need to make sure you file your tax returns and make any payments on time to avoid fines.

The Corporation Tax payment needs to be made within 9 months and 1 day after your accounting period has ended. If your accounts are to the end of March, payments will fall at the beginning of the new year, so filing annual accounts to Companies House will need to be done in time for that. If you’re taking time off, it’s worth doing that in advance if you can.

Sole traders will be aware that deadlines for online returns and tax owed will occur on January 31st. It’s easy to forget to get everything ready after the Christmas break, when clients are ready to kick off the year, so make sure you put aside time for that too.

Reward your staff

The Christmas season is very stressful, no matter what industry you work in. With more work to do in the run up to the big day, there is a lot of pressure.

Make sure you’re looking after yourself and your staff by rewarding hard work and keeping morale high, with overtime pay, Christmas bonuses and staff parties. Remember that your team are your greatest asset, so make sure you celebrate their contribution. It will also help retain the good staff you have into the new year, and thank them for their loyalty over the year.

Utilise Social Media

Keep speaking to your customers and clients, even if you are having a break over the festive period. Keeping your brand at the forefront of people’s minds is a great way to make sure they choose you in the new year.

As January rolls around, people review their finances, home life and plan for the year to come. This might mean they want some work doing to their home that you can provide, or a new service to their business, and will come to you when they have the funds to pursue these things after Christmas is over.

Review the last year

It’s a great idea to take time during December to analyse how well your business plan has gone during 2022, and will give you new ideas to create a strategy for 2023 to grow your business. Look at your plans for your current clients too, and make sure you’re happy with how you’re working together, as well as identify any opportunities to grow your client base.

It’s a good idea to look at your business income and expenditure and see if there are opportunities to increase revenue or reduce costs.

It’s also worth looking at any areas that you can improve your own skills in, and research any training opportunities you might be able to enjoy in the New Year. From there, you can expand on the services you can provide.

Consider a refresh

A refresh of your business can bring a whole host of new opportunities. This could be a refresh of the services you are offering, or you might want to update your branding and website. It could even be a refresh of your fundamentals and who you work with.

One thing many people choose to do around this time of year is look at the third parties they work with and see if there is any way to save money or improve these partnerships.

As a small business, sticking with the people who have worked with you for a number of years can sometimes sound like the easiest option, especially if they claim to know your sector better than anyone else. However, many are not giving you the best service they can.

One of these areas is your accountant. Many accountants are stuck in their ways and charging you more than they should be for the level of service they are providing. Contractors and small businesses can often stick with who and what they know, but if you’re not 100% happy with the service you are receiving, it might be time to switch accountants.

Finding an accountancy firm that you can trust with your finances can be difficult but building a great relationship with your accountant means that you can focus on growing your business and delivering a quality service to your clients. It is essential that this relationship is value-driven so you get the best service for your money.

There are so many reasons to switch to Gorilla Accounting, including our client service guarantee, FreeAgent as standard for all of our clients and our refer a friend scheme. You can read more about these on our website.

If you are unhappy with your current accountant and feel like you aren’t getting the service and value your business deserves, then it’s time to join Gorilla. You can speak to our expert team on 0330 107 9670 or request a call back.

Get Ready for January

Now is a great time to get ready to hit the ground running in January. Starting 2023 after a great festive period, a relaxing time off with family and friends, and with a fresh head of ideas will help you make the most of the start of the year.

Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone here at Gorilla Accounting.