7 tips to ensure your SME doesn’t suffer over the summer holidays

As many people look to make the most of our glorious summer, we’ve come up with seven top tips for small and medium sized businesses owners to make sure that their business doesn’t suffer while they and their staff are on holiday. 

At this time of year when employees will be taking their holiday it is essential that firms plan ahead to ensure business is not disrupted. With an upturn in market conditions for many sectors, it’s important to maintain that momentum.

Seven top tips for SMEs to manage while staff are on holiday:

  1. Getting cash into your business is critical. During the summer you will have staff away – but so will your customers. Plan ahead to avoid payment delays.
  2. Make sure invoices are still paid on time otherwise you could damage your credit rating and limit your access to supplies on credit.
  3. If the person authorising payment is away make sure that someone else can authorise it in their absence. The same applies with cheque signatories.
  4. Make sure that staff complete a proper handover and in enough time. Staff involved in raising sales invoices and chasing customers for payment must properly brief the staff standing in for them; especially on commitments made by customers regarding payment. They must also be aware of how to follow up customer queries regarding sales invoices so that disputes are resolved quickly.
  5. Make sure that suppliers or customers are aware of any alternatives to their regular contacts to ensure a smooth handover and make sure that stand-in staff can access a list of contact details for suppliers and customers.
  6. Systems for recording / forecasting cash flow need to be maintained in the finance director’s absence.
  7. Debrief people when they get back – this will enable them to get back “up to speed” more quickly after their holiday.
Cash is king and businesses must ensure that cash continues to come in by examining their debt collection and bill paying procedures as well as making sure proper safeguards are in place while staff are away.

Clive Lewis is head of enterprise at ICAEW.

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