It’s that time of year again – time to start thinking about what to give your vendors, clients and staff for Christmas. For many small businesses, this annual tradition comes at a cost, but with some planning, small and startup companies can afford to give meaningful gifts that boost productivity among staff and charm vendors and clients.
It’s Already October
The first order of business is to start saving money. Just like you would save up in your personal household budget for gifts, set aside a bit of each month’s profit for the next three months so you don’t have to buy gifts on credit. In fact, you should consider saving all year long for big annual expenses such as corporate Christmas gifts. Regular and special expense budgeting is something an experienced accountant can help you with.
Stay within your budget
Yes, it’s tempting to shower your staff with gifts for their hard work and to stun your clients with expensive treats to win their favour, but managing cash flow should be your first concern.
Now that you have some money set aside and a budget to work within, look at your options. If you are a very small operation (home-based or startup) and cash flow is not consistently positive, a simple signed card shows your staff and your clients that you took the time to think about them.
If you have a bit more wiggle room in your budget, take a look at some promotional items that you can buy in bulk and put your logo on. Avoid calendars (everyone has a digital one on their smart phone these days) and look for things that speak to your brand but will also be used by your clients. A big bag of candy in a fancy jar with wrappers sporting your logo is a sweet treat for your clients’ or vendors’ entire office. Mugs, golf gear, umbrellas – thanks to digital printing, you can get your logo on almost anything these days!
Stay away from branded items
They already know and support your brand. Coffee gift cards, a day off with pay, wine (if you know for sure they drink it) and boxes of chocolate are nice ways to say “thanks for your hard work” at Christmas time.
If you have a client or vendor that went above and beyond for you during the year, this is the time to show your appreciation. Companies are a team effort, so gift something their whole company can enjoy. Altruistic gifts in the company or vendor’s name, such as a gift from Plan Canada, are a pleasant surprise, as are boxes of hand-delivered donuts or a large fruit or coffee basket that can be shared.
Of course, you need to know if your gifts are tax deductible. It depends on the value, who it is for and what it is. AF Accounting can help you learn about this and so much more. We love to assist small businesses in Quebec with everything from tax assistance and virtual CFOs to budgeting, bookkeeping and more. Give yourself the gift of properly balanced books and expertly reported tax forms by contacting AF Accounting before your Christmas season gets underway.