Most recruitment agencies can agree that December is a tricky time of business. You have to manage staff annual leave, early payroll and achieve monthly sales targets. Even with the greatest preparation and determination to achieve these things, it’s easy to miss crucial processes over the holiday period.
With that in mind, TBOS have prepared a simple but essential checklist for recruitment agencies to use this Christmas.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR CASH-FLOW
We have seen it in many cases whereby recruitment agencies have struggled to manage their cash-flow in December due to their clients not paying their invoices on time. Clients may use the holiday period as an excuse to pay an invoice later than expected, which unfortunately has a knock-on effect on your agency as well as your invoice finance facility (if you’re a contract agency).
Invoice finance companies will have a schedule of when invoices are due and if payments fall outside of this period, this can have an effect on funding limits in December and even January. This can be problematic as your candidates will still need to be paid as usual. Whoever handles your accounts will need to be diligent on credit control to ensure your agency’s cash-flow runs smoothly over the holidays.
PLAN PAYROLL CAREFULLY
Managing early payroll can be pretty complicated for any business in December, but for recruitment agencies it’s even more tricky as they need to manage payroll for their placements as well as their staff, with management of their commission structures too.
TBOS understands that cash-flow can have a devastating effect on payroll so it’s incredibly important you have an accounts team who run a tight ship, with plenty of preparation leading up to Christmas and after. Many people can feel lax around the holiday season so it will be your responsibility to oversee the accounts are being carried out correctly and on time.
KNOW THE INDUSTRY HABITS
Invoice finance companies will often only work mornings in December. You must factor this in to when you do your draw-downs of funds as you will have to allow plenty of time. It’s worth noting other accounts departments may also close early in December, so remind your clients of their invoice due dates in good time of the invoice being paid. This will limit late payments and eliminate wasteful time chasing payments.
When dealing with umbrella company payroll, take account of the bank holidays twice, one for the Christmas period and the other for New Year. You will need to work closely with your intermediary companies to ensure money clears with them to then clear with you to ensure payments are made to your candidates on time. This needs careful management and payment process must be followed diligently, one mispayment can throw out the payment sequence and you don’t want unhappy candidates and clients at Christmas.
LIMITED STAFF DURING THE HOLIDAYS
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 close down, even if it is financially viable.
TBOS recommends preparing your staff annual leave schedule now and ensuring your staff can cover each other’s work over the festive period. Make a plan to ensure there are back-up processes should anything go wrong with payments and that your IT support are available, should your team’s systems go down. You never quite know what will happen, until it does so it’s better to prepare for every eventuality.
NEED SOME BACK-OFFICE HELP THIS CHRISTMAS?
TBOS currently manage the back office and accounts requirements for over 100 recruitment agencies in the UK. Our specialist team manage everything from timesheet management, invoicing, contractor finance right through to credit control and bookkeeping, even providing monthly management accounts and statutory year-end accounts.
Our processes are no different in December, only structured differently to accommodate the time schedules of our recruitment agency clients and their end-clients. If you need some assistance this Christmas with your back-office, don’t hesitate to give our team a call, we can certainly help!