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Even Santa—the ultimate entrepreneur—needs a great accountant

Written by Chris Downing on Thursday, 23 December 2021. Posted in Financial management, Finance

As the leader of an independent toy-making and delivery business with around 2 billion customers worldwide, Santa Claus is the perfect example of an small and mid-sized (SMB) business success story.

Even Santa—the ultimate entrepreneur—needs a great accountant

As the leader of an independent toy-making and delivery business with around 2 billion customers worldwide, Santa Claus is the perfect example of an small and mid-sized (SMB) business success story.

But while the names of his better-known colleagues, like Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and, of course, Rudolph, roll off our tongues, we never hear about his trusted accountant. 

The evidence suggests that he has one. Santa’s business is wildly successful year-on-year, even as the population grows; it’s the definition of scalable. Perhaps this heroic North Pole accountant, or bookkeeper, is too busy supporting Santa’s Workshop through this winter’s business activities to stand in the spotlight.  

Santa’s accountant clearly plays a crucial role in these yuletide business operations. So, with the festive shopping cycle in full swing and businesses gearing up for the most profitable time of the year, let’s look at the values and lessons that real business leaders can learn from the ultimate stalwart of seasonal service. 

Fine tune your finances

Supporting the business to stay in control of finances and freeing up time for Santa to provide the human touch, Santa’s accountant is a critical element of Christmas – but do they even know it?

As finances make their way online for easier, faster and more scalable business, every business must modernise. With the introduction of 'Making Tax Digital’ (MTD) programmes, the way businesses record and pay tax is being transformed. These complex changes can be daunting for any business owner, inviting costly errors. Support from an accountant is critical to make the seamless transition to a more efficient, effective and easy approach to tax in the modern business; two fifths of those polled by Sage said MTD was their main reason for seeking accountancy services.

Accountants can even help with your business planning, too. Half (49%) of business leaders would turn to an accountant for critical guidance – more than any other potential consultant. Accountants can identify the most valuable clients, analyse activities, and help business leaders make better decisions on the next key steps.

Accountants are far from number-crunchers that you call on once a year. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of accountants believe SMBs underestimate their value. However, perception lags reality: the vast majority of SMBs (91%) rate their accountants as a critical part of their business’ operation. So, whether a business leader is personally delivering presents to 6,100 children per second or serving their local community with quality products and services, they can rely on an accountant to help make it a success. 

Perfect your payroll processes

In a fast-moving business, like Santa’s workshop, software is undoubtedly being used to elevate human work - automating payroll processes and connecting business insights.

Many of us know that managing payroll can seem like a full-time job in itself. Employees’ personal details, hours worked, pay rates, sick pay, overtime, tax deductions, pensions and more all require careful compilation and individual examination every month, just to make sure everyone is paid the right amount at the right time. When you add in the extra pressure of increased seasonal demand, business owners can lose more sleep than a child on Christmas eve. Fortunately, accountants are there to lighten the load. 

Both accountants and bookkeepers can introduce effective processes for managing payroll tasks and deadlines. Reducing stress for the business leader and playing a role in maintaining employee happiness. An accountant supports the business to document and define efficient payroll processes, whilst taking over the complex task of calculating wages, and managing time-consuming admin such as pension enrolment, tax submissions and payslip production.

In today’s digital-first world, business leaders can snap, upload and forward documents like receipts to their accountant in just a few clicks for easy communication and time-saving tricks. The future of practice management software is integrated between the business leader and their accountant, making managing payroll even easier.  

Recharge your HR

Maintaining a happy and productive workforce requires more than just paying them on time. So, how does a great business leader like Santa do it? 

By smoothly onboarding employees, promptly addressing any workplace complaints, and accessing meaningful insights into how to make his workshop better for everyone. Powerful people management software can help every entrepreneur and SMB owner to make informed decisions on these tasks. 

HR software’s most important feature is that it helps the workforce feel engaged and informed through self-service tools. This has been particularly important in 2021 as many businesses transitioned to a flexible working pattern, and workers received less face-to-face interaction with peers. It’s an worthwhile investment; companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable, and highly engaged workplaces see 41% lower absenteeism

Digital HR technologies can manage expenses, annual leave, employee performance and more from anywhere, at any time. Come January, when Christmas is over for another year, SMBs can easily curate a holistic view of each employees’ performance with feedback from peers, managers and subordinates collated throughout the year.  

Where would Santa be without his business sidekicks? 

Like any business, Santa clearly has a lot on his plate at Christmas – and that’s all before he can sit back and enjoy dinner.

What’s obvious by the dedication of his workforce, the continuous growth of his business, and its worldwide success is that an accountant, armed with the power of data, is behind the practicalities of the Big Day. 

The accountant’s help is vital for ensuring that Santa can truly make his millions of customers’ dreams come true. This year, all business leaders should be giving themselves the gift of support; why not start by talking to an accountant?

About the Author

Chris Downing

Chris Downing

Chris is Director of Product Marketing for Accountants and Bookkeepers at Sage. He brings over two decades of experience as an accountant in practice with a passion to enable businesses to make best use of technology.

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