Most people would certainly agree that December, with both Christmas and New Year's Eve to complicate things, is one of the trickier months to orchestrate staffing and payroll questions. Even forewarned, it's easy to miss some of the special logistical considerations when you work with recruiters and contractors, purely because there are so many of them. With that in mind, we've prepared a simple but essential checklist for recruitment agencies anywhere in the UK.

1. Watch Your Cashflow

It’s not uncommon for any shortfall in an invoice finance company’s cashflow in December to still have knock-on effects being felt through January. Many companies won’t want to pay out or be ready to pay out ahead of time, but you still need to have the money for your recruits ready and waiting for payday because, by the end of the month, payroll needs to go out as usual. Well, almost as usual:

2. Plan Payroll Carefully

Christmas can make life slightly more complicated for anybody managing payroll, especially recruitment agencies. Your contractors and candidates (and your own staff) still need to be paid on time (around the bank holidays) or before Christmas, which will probably mean doing your payroll slightly earlier than usual. It all needs to be allowed for and to be liquid in your account, ready to go.. This may be trickier for recruiters than people in other industries, because:

3. Know The Industry Habits and Traditions

Invoice finance companies tend only to work mornings in December. You'll have to factor this in to when you do your drawdowns – these still have to happen in time. Other accounts departments may close early, so try to get payments from them before they do so – or you may be left scrabbling to keep up. When dealing with umbrella company payroll, take account of the bank holidays twice – money needs to get from the intermediate companies to you in time to then make it to your recruits, and that means getting payments going out earlier than you might think. It all means you've got to be ready at a moment's notice. Which is tougher than ever, since:

4. You'll Probably Be Running A Skeleton Staff

Between people's natural desire to be with their family for the holidays, increased risk of colds and flu from the weather, and so on, it's difficult to keep your back office fully staffed during the festive closedown even if that's financially viable. All the same, it's important to get everything done that you normally would, despite these extra stumbling blocks, and, if it's at all possible, you should try to get a head start on the new year.

January is often a time of expansion and recruitment, and to cope with that your desks need to be clear and you need to be prepared. The one real advantage you have is that there should be far fewer incoming emails, which should relieve the pressure enough to give you a chance to work through the backlog and be ready to take off strongly in 2016.

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