Clive Lewis, head of enterprise at ICAEW, gives his five quick tips for SMEs to manage while staff are on their holidays.


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SMEs need to be prepared for staff holiday absences

As many people look to make the most of our summer, you need to make sure that your business doesn’t suffer while you and your staff are on holiday. To do this, follow these simple steps:

1) Plan ahead
During the summer you will have staff away – but so will your customers. So getting cash into your business is critical. Therefore, you must plan ahead to avoid payment delays.

2) Handovers
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.

3) Plan for upcoming payments
Make sure invoices are still paid on time, otherwise you could damage your credit rating and limit your access to supplies on credit. If the person authorising payment is away make sure that someone else can authorise it in their absence. The same applies with cheque signatories.

RELATED: 33% of British workers are too busy to take holidays

4) Make clients aware of absences
Make sure that suppliers or customers are aware of any alternatives to their regular contacts to ensure a smooth handover, ensuring that stand-in staff can access a list of contact details for suppliers and customers.

5) Follow up
Debrief people when they get back. This will enable them to get back ‘up to speed’ after their holiday and fill them in on the important stuff.

Clive adds, “Cash is king and businesses must ensure that cash continues to come in during the summer. Firms must examine their debt collection and bill paying procedures, as well as making sure proper safeguards are in place while staff are away, so that they’re not caught short.”