Keeping Your Year End Calm

How is 2018-19 nearly over already?! For many businesses, this 31st March marks their year-end.  It’s coming around quickly and it’s busy, busy, busy in the business-world.  Care homes are no exception but *deep breaths* there is plenty of time to get everything in order.  

Here are our top three tips for keeping the chill in the run up to year-end and getting ready for the awesome year that 2019-20 is going to be for your business:

1. Check your holiday entitlements

Ideally, you’ll have had your eye on this across the year to ensure your staff spread the holiday evenly over the year.  The March holiday splurge seems to be a perennial issue regardless so better to be prepared for it.

If your staff do still have holiday to take, make a decision on how you want to handle this – are you going to allow them to carry it over or do you need them to book it in ASAP?  Whilst use it or lose it is a mantra you might want to adhere to, you need to think practically about staffing levels in your home.  Having a bit of flexibility now and allowing a degree of carry forward may prevent unnecessary agency usage and keep staff morale high.

2. Update your fee contributions

With the new CMA guidance in force, there is more focus than ever on making sure your care home fee invoicing is accurate.   New fees often come into force with the start of the financial year and you have likely already written to your customers in good time to let them know about any impending changes.  As soon as March 31st hits, your finance team will have their heads under the bonnet of the business with year-end reconciliations.

Take the time in the run up to year-end to get prepared, updating your fee contracts with a future effective date in your care home management software.  That way, when the new year commences, your invoicing takes no additional set-up.  Your finance team can concentrate on those time-sensitive bits of audit work.

3. Prepare for your year-end reports

Having a clear record of how things stand at 31st March will help your yearly audit run smoothly.  It will also help any analysis you want to do to check the health of your business, identifying strengths and weaknesses to allow you to plan for the year ahead.  For that you need complete and accurate data.

First things first, you need to check your data is up to date.  Now is the time to run your exception reports, make sure the information on your care home management system is all up to date and you have full records.  Give your team plenty of time to go and find the data to make the updates – your priority is accuracy.  Explain why it is important and provide them with plenty of time to gather or check any information that needs adding.  If this is a last-minute rush, you risk guesstimating or partial data sets.  Run the reports again about two weeks before year-end and follow-up any final discrepancies.

Once you are at 31st March, you should be all set to run your reports and save them for your records.  Simples.

An extra, freebie tip: Make your finance and payroll team feel loved!

Regardless of how prepared you are, your finance and payroll teams will have a lot of pressure on them at the end of the year.  They have lots to get through and need information quickly – in all likelihood they have the impending annual dread of the auditors poking and prodding their numbers.  Nerves might be more on edge than usual!

These are the teams that keep the business afloat and make sure your teams are paid.  This is the time of year you need to be on it, reduce unnecessary demands on their time and get information over to them in a timely fashion.  We’re sure the odd cuppa and biscuit here and there won’t go amiss either!