The impact that Christmas has on business depends on where you are in the world. In some countries like the US – Christmas is just one day. When you get to a country like Ireland, Christmas starts around the 1st December and ends sometime in the middle of January.

To compound the problem for a large number of companies their year-end is in December, just at the time when there are very few people around.

So, what are the suggestions?

  1. Treat December as just another month, like every other. If payment from your customer is due on the 28th of the month, then it is due on the 28th December! If they are not going to be around that week, then arrangements should be put in place to receive the payment on the 22nd.
  2. The state of your ledger is dependent on your own expectations – make sure you set them high enough!
  3. Use the year-end as a deadline for everyone. Get the Sales Department to resolve all outstanding issues. Get every dispute resolved and let the “season of goodwill” prevail to get to the bottom of all outstanding problems and not to bring them into next year.
  4. Take time out to either send Christmas cards or gifts to the hard working AP person that has looked after your payments month in and month out to ensure you achieved your targets. A simple “thank you” is always appreciated.
  5. Take time between now and the year to tidy up your office and your files (paper and electronic). Nothing makes you feel in control, like working in an organised space, so block off a few hours and you will look forward to returning to a clear and uncluttered space in the New Year.
  6. If you have responsibility for the credit and collections function, spend a few hours in the office on the 31st December to make sure all payments received are lodged and properly recorded
  7. Leave work in the office over the festive period. Never be tempted to bring it home with you. Your family and friends are the most important thing of all. So make sure they receive your undivided attention over the holiday period and most importantly: have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year yourself – you deserve it.
  8. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and everyone who contributed to making 2017 a great year: To the Certificate and Diploma students, the one day course attendees, the companies I have the privilege of providing in-house training to, to the sponsors and winners of the Credit Team Awards and everyone else who helped along the way. We have ambitious plans for 2018 to continue to promote the profession of credit management and the knowledge and effectiveness of everyone working in the area, as always if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Declan Flood, Chief Executive of Irish Credit Management Training