Year End. It’s not just for Finance and Accounting. Of all the seasons of the year, Quarter 4 is the time of year when every department in every industry should create a strategic plan for tackling projects, fitting in extra holiday-related fun, and making adjustments for plenty of staff fluctuation.
Although Year End often refers to the busy buzz of bookkeeping and auditing for accounting teams, even Finance & Accounting departments forget to factor into their planning the effect of the perfect maelstrom of employee vacations, holidays, and the flu season. Many organizations and departments across all industries find themselves strapped for staff.
“The end-of-the-year winter months tend to be one of the busiest times for our company because so many organizations and departments become buried by year end responsibilities and deadlines,” says Leslie Prince, Regional Vice President for Roth Staffing Companies. “We encourage all workforces to make a plan for the last quarter of the year that takes into account their potentially limited staff and additional projects.”
When formulating an action plan for your workplace, add in Roth Staffing’s elements for success.
1. Start early.
A good Year End plan should start in September. Now that it’s October, you don’t want to let any more time go by without a Q4 plan. Don’t wait until you’re already one step behind to begin coordinating projects and considering extra help during the holidays.
2. Build in some breathing room.
It’s great to set aggressive deadlines, but it’s also necessary to remain flexible if projects don’t wrap up quite on time. Ensure that your house of cards doesn’t start collapsing by building in some extra time to fulfill responsibilities. For instance, if pulling data and compiling an essential report typically takes five business days, allocate seven days to the project. That way, if employees are unexpectedly out of the office or the server crashes, your department or organization is not in hot water.
3. Cross train.
One way to offset employee absences and extra workloads is to train multiple coworkers on a certain skill set. Although it may seem time-consuming in the short term, in the long run, having multiple employees in one workplace who possess necessary skills means an automatic backup plan if anyone gets sick or leaves on holiday.
4. Bring in a temporary project manager.
In the real world, even the best laid plans go awry. One solution is to proactively bring in a temporary project manager to handle and coordinate an important business goal so your organization or department can progress towards its everyday work at the end of the year.
“Our marketing department wanted to create an entire campaign for a new business line, so we brought in a temporary marketing specialist completely dedicated to that project,” said Staci Johnson, Vice President of Marketing at Roth Staffing Companies. “We had an entire outline on what we hoped to accomplish each day and each week. The specialist used our department’s resources (writers, designers, web development) but was the driver of getting the project done. We never would have completed the plan while also doing our day-to-day work without the extra help.”