December, often seen as a time of holiday festivities and relaxation, can also present challenges for businesses, particularly in finance. With many employees taking time off, and business activities slowing down, it’s crucial for CFOs to prepare their finance departments for a productive December. In this blog post, we’ll discuss strategies and tips for ensuring that your finance team makes the most of the month, setting the stage for a successful start to the new year.
Set Clear Priorities:
Define the most critical financial tasks and goals for December. Focus on year-end financial reporting, budgeting, and tax planning. Make a checklist and communicate it to your finance team to keep everyone aligned on the priorities.
Review and Update Budgets:
December is an excellent time to review and update your budgets for the next year. CFOs should work closely with their teams to assess what worked in the current year and make necessary adjustments for the upcoming year.
Tax Planning and Compliance:
Collaborate with your tax department to ensure all tax-related activities are up-to-date. This includes evaluating tax strategies, completing any necessary compliance tasks, and planning for the year ahead.
Take the opportunity to reconcile accounts, review financial statements, and ensure all records are accurate. Address discrepancies and identify areas that may need adjustment.
Audits and Compliance:
If your company undergoes financial audits, use December to ensure all documents and records are prepared. Be proactive in addressing any potential audit issues to streamline the process.
Team Training and Development:
A slower pace in December can provide opportunities for team training and development. Use this time to enhance your team’s skills, update knowledge, or introduce new tools and software that will be used in the coming year.
Vendor and Supplier Negotiations:
Review contracts with vendors and suppliers. December can be an optimal time to renegotiate terms, seek discounts, or explore opportunities for cost savings.
Cash Flow Management:
Assess your company’s cash flow needs and determine if any adjustments are required. Develop strategies to manage cash effectively in the upcoming year.
Set Personal and Professional Goals:
Encourage your finance team to set personal and professional goals for the upcoming year. This can include career development plans, skill-building objectives, and individual performance goals.
Enjoy the Holidays Responsibly:
While it’s essential to ensure productivity during December, it’s also crucial to allow your team to enjoy the holidays and recharge. A well-rested team will be more effective in the new year.
December can be a challenging month for finance departments, but with proper preparation, it can also be a time of opportunity and productivity. By setting clear priorities, reviewing budgets, addressing compliance, and investing in team development, CFOs can ensure that their finance departments are well-prepared for the slower business month. The proactive approach taken in December can set the stage for a successful start to the new year and help your organization achieve its financial goals.