47% of directors expect to add finance tasks to their list of festive chores, One Poll study shows

Gary Turner
Gary Turner

Almost half (47%) of the UK’s small and microbusiness owners* will spend the Christmas break catching up on finance jobs they haven’t been able to get done during the year, a new Xero-commissioned OnePoll survey has shown.

41% of those who need to get their books up-to-date will be locking themselves away for between one and two days to help them catch up on tasks such as tax returns, invoicing and cash flow. Interestingly, more female bosses (56%) expected to work on their finances over the break than their male counterparts (38%).

“Owner-managers who use their holiday to catch up on finance tasks are not only sacrificing family time but may also miss out on the strategic benefits that a year-round perspective on their accounts can bring,” says Xero managing director Gary Turner. “For example, if they’re leaving it to year-end to complete a tax return, it’s probably too late to take advantage of tax breaks or act on invoicing or cash flow issues.”

In all, more than half (58%) of the business owners questioned said they either will or may have to work from home over the Christmas holiday. Other festive headaches for small business heads included the need to shut down (39%), covering sick leave (31%) and staff holidays (25%).

“From a finance point of view it’s a hectic time of year,” added Paul Bulpitt, director of accountancy at small business accountants The Wow Company. “As well as HMRC’s January 31 deadline for self-assessment, over 300,000 registered companies must file their accounts to Companies House no later than December 31.

“Inevitably, there will always be those who leave it to the last minute. In our experience however, owner-managers who keep their books in the cloud tend to be far more organised at year-end. Crucially, it’s also far easier for their accountants to identify gaps or problem areas in advance of the New Year or January 31 deadline, avoiding the need for business owners to toil away over Christmas.”

*OnePoll survey questioned 500 business owners with 1-25 employees.

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