What Holiday Retail Season Forecast Means for Accountants

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  The latest forecast from National Retail Federation anticipates a busy holiday season with sales growing between 3.8 and 4.2 percent over 2018 data.

  “There are many moving parts and lots of distractions that make predictions difficult. There is significant economic unease, but current economic data and the recent momentum of the economy show that we can expect a much stronger holiday season than last year. Job growth and higher wages mean there’s more money in families’ pockets, so we see both the willingness and ability to spend this holiday season.”  — NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.

So, what does this entail for accountants and how to prepare for more consumer and sales data and seasonal help?

1. Seasonal Hiring

  First of all, there is an anticipated increase in seasonal hiring, which means accountants have to be prepared. Just UPS alone is looking at hiring additional 100,000 workers for the holiday season. 

  It will be essential to distinguish between seasonal, temporary and part-time employees. In most cases, if an employee works less than 35 hours a week they are considered part-time workers. It’s important to remember that even though part-time employees most likely will not be receiving any company benefits, they will still be subject to minimum wage regulations and overtime rules. The employer, and in this case, the accounting and payroll departments need to ensure that employee is classified correctly. Note, that different states have different regulations, that’s why it’s always a good idea to check with the DOL website to file the paperwork correctly on the first try and avoid paying any extra taxes.

2. Financial Data

  Another issue is an increase in financial data you have to process. You will do well by incorporating as many smart apps as possible to automate as many things as possible in order to keep your head cool and be able to focus on things that require your attention. 

The following apps will be especially helpful to automate tasks during the holiday season:

  Stripe|PayPal|Square sync — Business Payments for QuickBooks to set up an automated, highly detailed integration between all three payment platforms and QuickBooks, avoiding hours of manual data entry for each of your clients and companies you oversee.

  TSheets  —  for Payroll automation and smart time-tracking.

  Bill.com —for outsourcing accounts payable department for your clients.

  Business Importer (Online or Desktop)  — for sending your spreadsheets or Google sheets directly to QuickBooks, Xero, MYOB, and Sage One to save up to 10 extra hours a week on any manual input.

  In the midst of it all, don’t forget that it is your holiday season too. If you are travelling, try to avoid extra busy days, buy your ticket now if you haven’t done it already and think of focusing on family and friends instead of tasks and to-do lists more this year. We hope that this article will help you in freeing up the time necessary for that.

  Do you have any holiday season tips for fellow accountants? Share in the comments below.

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