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Prepare for a New Year: Your End of the Year Business Checklist

The end of the year is a busy time for everyone. The holidays are around the corner, family may be coming into town, and work is packed with your year end to-do list. However, there are a few areas of business and human resources management to take care of before the new year. Here are the things to look into and do now in order to set next year and your business up for success.

Time Off: Where Do Your Employees Stand?

Time off is a precious resource to all employees, whether they have accrued a week off, or they get unlimited holiday time. As the end of the year comes around, your employees may want to take some holiday time off, and will want to know how many days they have left. Here is the information you should gather regarding time off, including how to tell employees about their time off status, avoiding scheduling conflicts, and unused time off consequences. 

When To Tell Employees About Time Off Notices

Simply sending employees a message around early fall of how much time they have left to take off can help them start planning. Maybe they’ll want to take a few days off here and there or a weeklong vacation to use up those remaining days. Either way, letting them know early is key. 

Avoiding Scheduling Conflicts

When everyone wants to take time off, it’s important to ensure there aren’t scheduling conflicts so that projects don’t fall by the wayside and clients aren’t left hanging. To avoid scheduling conflicts, inform employees that they should schedule big vacations sooner rather than later and talk to their teams before submitting it for approval. Additionally, having an open calendar system where employees can see others' scheduled vacation times in advance can help avoid conflicts. 

Use It or Lose It?

While employees are likely aware of how many vacation days they have, they may not know the specific vacation policy. It’s important to ensure that employees know the policy so they aren’t caught off guard when the year’s end comes and they’re scrambling to make plans. There are many different types of vacation policies. Some are ‘use it or lose it’, others roll over to the next year, and some accumulate by the number of hours worked. Ensuring that your employees know the vacation deadline policy will help them avoid missing valuable time off. This not only contributes to the employee’s success and well-being, but the company’s as well.

While vacation days provide employees with relaxation at the end of the year, another benefit typically comes their way at this time too.

A Little Extra Boost: The Holiday Bonus

When it comes to the end of the year, there is much excitement around holiday bonuses. Who doesn’t want a little extra coin to spend as they please? While not every company may be able to provide year end bonuses, if yours is able to, here’s how to do so.

Determine If Your Budget Has Room for Bonuses

In general, when your company is doing well, bonuses are to be expected if it’s in your policy to give them out, but aren't always promised. Determining the bonus amount is up to the discretion of the company, but it’s always crucial to ensure financial stability in giving them out. Bonuses come with taxes as well, so it’s important to decide what your bonus structure will be, calculate the amount, and add in taxes to see if you can afford it.

Who Gets What Amount?

Since giving out a financial bonus at the end of the year is discretionary for most companies, who gets what amount is set by the employer. Some companies may choose to give a set amount to all employees or may structure it by job ranking or number of years at the company. Other factors that may play into who gets a bonus include attendance, performance, and more.

Non-Traditional Bonuses

While some companies choose to give out cash bonuses, others make up for it in non-traditional ways. Non-traditional bonuses can include extra paid time off, gifts, and more. A company might give non-traditional bonuses if due to financial performance they can’t swing it, but they still want to show appreciation for their employees. Some non-traditional bonuses, like small gifts, (excluding gift cards) are considered de minimis fringe benefits, and won’t be taxed. Therefore, some non-traditional gifts can be easier financially to give than financial ones. Of course, some non-traditional bonuses, such as extra PTO, can’t avoid taxable features, but are still valuable for employees. 

Making the Announcement

When you choose to provide your employees with a year end bonus, it’s important to make the announcement properly according to the bonus type. This helps not create conflict, since giving a bonus is discretionary, and not everyone may get one or be happy with their amount. If everyone is getting a set amount across the board or based on their years of employment, this can be announced to the entire company via email or in person. If there will be differing amounts of money or some people will not be getting a bonus due to performance, you’ll want to notify everyone privately. 

Year End Reports: Wrapping Up the Work Year

 Year end reports are a crucial part of your business that always come at a busy time of the year. Not only are year end reports necessary to calculate your company's financial health, they are a benchmark for the next year. Here’s why year end reports are important, why we stress about them, and what you can do to get your reporting done properly and on time.

Why are year end reports important?

Year end reports tell your company how it is doing financially and help you plan for the new year. They are important because they inform you of how much money your company currently has and what your profits and losses were for the year. Year end reports don’t just help you know about your company’s health; they are also essential to report to the IRS and investors.

Why do we stress about year end reports? 

Year end reports seem to be the bane of a company’s existence. Depending on the size of your company and the hired help and sales you have, it may be more or less difficult. Large companies with a large staff and many clients typically have a CFO, whereas mid-sized to smaller companies with smaller staff and client sizes may have a controller or a bookkeeper. Another reason why year end reports may be stressful is if you’re an entrepreneur or small business and you have to manage the finances yourself. Organization also plays a large role in the stress level of year end reports. Companies that haven’t been diligent about keeping track of their financial books throughout the year are apt to struggle, which can spell trouble for their employees and clients.

In order to stress less and set yourself up for success in the new year, see our recommended year end report checklist below.  

At Greenlink Payroll, we understand how the end of the year can sneak up on you, leaving you with a lot to think about and do in a short amount of time. Fortunately, Greenlink Payroll can help you get situated during this busy time of year without stress, from managing payroll online to benefits and talent. Contact us today to learn more. To view the entire infographic, click the image below.

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