Finance: Plan now for festive season

By Jeremy Tauri

It's around this time of year people are starting to use the C-word. I heard it at one of our team meetings and rolled my eyes at the employee who blurted it out. I was shocked. Christmas is in eight weeks.

I immediately thought of the P-word. Planning.

But isn't it a bit soon? We've gone through a Christmas every year (excluding mid-winter Christmases) of our lives and made it out the other end - even after some resolutions over a few pints on New Year's Eve, right?

I tell you now, Christmas will sneak up on you; it will catch you unaware if you are not prepared.

All accountants suggest that you look at your expenses when you're planning.

Over the Christmas season you will need to think about holiday pay, the Christmas luncheon, Christmas cards, staff gifts, that last newsletter, who's going to be on call and communicating closing hours to everyone who needs to know.

And don't forget to provide for GST and taxes on the other side of Christmas. There's GST due in January and February (for two monthly filers) - a double whammy after those traditional office productivity lows of year end. This is followed by Terminal Tax in April and a third provisional in May (for March 31 filers).

Make sure you have your expenses covered with a buffer and remember Christmas Eve is not the time to ask the bank for an overdraft extension.

Although those with a typical nine-to-five office might be looking to close up shop, retailers, hospitality and tourism industries are stocking up, reviewing their special offers and giving their shops a festive makeover.

It's time to maximise sales opportunities - buff up the customer service, call in favours from staff to work extra hours and put your business on show. Boxing Day specials are always popular and remember hiring great staff and (note the and) providing training will be the key this year for getting more sales.

- Hamilton News

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