The holiday season is officially upon us. Businesses are experiencing shorter workdays, fewer employees in the office, longer lunches, more parties and a whole lot of holiday distraction.
While it’s important for everyone to enjoy this time of year, it’s also crucial that you use this season to stay ahead from a business-perspective.
Accounting teams are not only performing month-end and year-end activities but preparing budgets and forecasting for the coming year—all with fewer workdays than the average month to do so.
Now, if you are an accounting or finance leader how do you manage your team during this process?
Strategically, is the answer.
We all know communication is key—and a lot of it is needed. But so is an overall plan outlining your expectations, deadlines, and goals so your team knows exactly what’s needed to get it all accomplished. Not to mention that bringing in temporary or contract professionals to team up on outstanding projects can be a major help in maximizing your efforts.
It’s no question that the holidays can produce its own kind of stress. Adding work stress into the mix can really take away from this joyful time of year, and no one wants that.
I thought it was important to discuss ways to help keep your projects, team, and you motivated and fully staffed during the holiday season.
I recently came across an article on Forbes that discusses this topic, and I wanted to share some of these best practices along with a few of my own for the accounting and finance functions, specifically. Check out the 5 Ways to Manage Your Team and Projects During the Holiday Season below.
1. Plan to communicate early and often
Start planning for the holidays well before the holidays are actually here. If you can compile at the start of Q4 all the projects you’ll need completed by the end of the year, you’ll have ample time to create a plan of action. Then, communicate in a clear and concise manner what your expectations are of your team members for the coming holiday season. It’s best to communicate your plan more than once and across multiple platforms. Be sure to send out emails, discuss face to face, send out calendar reminders and hold meetings. The more the plan is discussed, the better. This will allow employees to be aware of what’s to come during the holiday season and offer any commentary so that you can tweak the plan based on their feedback such as days off, flex schedules, workload, etc. if needed. If there are concerns or gaps in personnel that you can identify, it’s best to know these well ahead of December. That way, you can retain the resources you will need.
2. Consider contract employees
When many of your team members are taking PTO or working fewer hours during the holidays, you’ll inevitably become short-staffed and need some extra support. It’s often helpful to hire temporary or contract employees to bridge these gaps and get the support you need to complete reports and projects on time. Employing temporary professionals will not only keep your permanent team members happy while they take their time off, you won’t break the momentum of the business or miss any deadlines. Plus, if the individuals exceed your expectations, you can always consider them for full-time employment and add them to your headcount in the future.
3. Partner with a recruiting or consulting firm
Enlisting the help of a recruiting or consulting firm is key to finding the temporary staff you need during the holiday season. Make sure to identify a firm who specializes in your vertical, so they fully understand your needs. Many recruiting or consulting firms have divisions that concentrate on various functions such as accounting, finance, technology, consulting, health care, marketing, legal, etc. By working with a specialized practice, as opposed to a general firm, you are more likely to get the talent and resources that best align with your goals.
4. Clean up the accounting books
We all know that December is hectic for any accounting team. Besides month and year-end close, you have budgets and forecasts, and likely tax and audit preparation to do. It’s good practice to clean up any discrepancies including gathering financial statements, organizing receipts, reconciling accounts and cross-checking inventories. When you have all data packaged up and organized, it should make for a happy accounting/finance leader and better temperament of your business. It should also set you up nicely for the start of the New Year.
5. Take a moment to relax
Even though there is a lot to get done before the end of the year, it is important to take care of yourself and set aside time to relax. No one wants to start the New Year with burnout. Be sure to step away from the office for the holidays and enjoy the parties with colleagues, friends or family. If you plan ahead and cover all of your bases, you should be able to unwind for a little bit with no worry. Practice what you preach and step away every now and then. Then, get ready to kick off the New Year strong!
Need help hiring for your team or project? Contact Brilliant today!
What are some other ways your business works to keep things on track during the holiday? Share with us in the comment section below!