Avoid the accounting hangover after your Christmas party! 🎁

Sarah Hiraki

 · 12/09/2019  · 12/09/2019

If last year is any guide, British workers will spend more than £10 million on entertainment with work colleagues this Christmas. That doesn’t include the cost of official office parties, although the trend seems to be toward workers supplementing or paying for these parties too. For small businesses, it means not only additional expense, but more work for stretched financial staff. With many also trying to close their books in December, it’s already a busy time. How can you avoid adding to this work with a deluge of invoices, receipts and claims for ‘that round of drinks I bought…’?

👛 Set a festive budget

It’s obviously up to you to decide if you want a Christmas party, and how much you want to spend on it. Data shows one in three workers feel a Christmas party is the least their employer can do to show gratitude for their efforts. Whatever you spend, it is important to not only control costs, but to correctly account for them. The costs of an annual party, including food, venue, transport and VAT can be deducted against tax. HMRC rules state that you can spend up to £150 per head on an annual Christmas party for staff. So, making sure that all those costs are recognised and can be reported is important. One way to do so is to establish a dedicated virtual account to manage the Christmas party budget.

We all like to reward our employees and thank customers and suppliers at this time of year, which means the festive season often requires more expenditure by individual employees who then want to claim money back from the business. Without strict controls this can easily lead to accounting headaches and difficult conversations with individuals. How can you stay in control without looking like a Scrooge?

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🚨 Be the policy police

Reiterating policies on what can be claimed as an expense from the business is important so that everyone knows the rules. Empower employees to make decisions and reward customers and suppliers by buying them gifts or paying for meals – but with control. Establish limits and then monitor them using corporate payment cards or dedicated accounts. Keep an eye on additional expense like taxis and make sure everyone is clear on what will be covered and by which budget. These steps not only help you stay within budget, but ease the burden of finance staff checking, reconciling and paying additional expenses.

📬 Automation for those out of office

The festive season can also mean challenges with staffing. Not just those unproductive workdays after all the Christmas party, but time off for school productions, family gatherings and other social events. It often means that for much of December businesses are operating with a skeleton crew. But, even if you close for the Christmas holidays you can set up automated payments and adapt permissions so that core business processes go on and don’t pile up for finance teams to deal with in the New Year.

This is a great time of year to reward teams and boost morale by spending time socialising with staff, customers and suppliers. Plan, and use the advantages of Revolut Business to stay on top of things and ensure that your finance teams enjoy it too!

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