Last year, British businesses spent 274% more on wine in December than the overall monthly average, according to spending data from over 400 UK companies accrued by multi-user business spending account Soldo.
Soldo found that businesses spent on average £4,556.25 on wine in December alone, compared to £1,216.91 per month on average across the entire year.
The data also found that across the entire year, the highest weekly spend on entertainment occurred during the week commencing 18th December, inferring that it was the most popular time for Christmas parties. General shopping spending by businesses peaked the week commencing 4th December and wine spending peaked the week commencing 11th December.
Event space company Hire Space found that British companies spent almost £1bn on their corporate Christmas parties last year. In the UK, helpful exemptions are available to companies that can keep their festive celebrations within budget: if kept at or below a value of £150 per head – and if open to all staff – annual office parties are completely tax-free.
In many cases, the full extent of Christmas festivity spending is not realised until the bills come in at the start of January, and businesses that don’t have full control over this year’s costs may begin 2019 on the back foot.
“Staff should definitely be rewarded for a year of hard work around Christmas, but businesses also need to realise that December is one of the most dangerous times of year for spending”, said Darren Upson, VP Small Business Europe at Soldo. “Often the costs associated with December’s festivities are hidden, because they are either on a company credit card or buried in employee expenses. This can result in a nasty surprise come January, which is often compounded by heavy tax bills in the New Year.”
“With the New Year right around the corner, the time is ripe for businesses to re-examine their expense management and financial reporting practices”, added Upson. “The right technology can help businesses keep on top of their spending by automating the expense management process.”
Soldo’s multi-user spending account, powered by real-time data and a smart mobile app, makes it easier for businesses and employees to control and oversee every aspect of company spending, especially during seasonal peaks in business spending, such as Christmas.
“Let’s be clear – we’re not trying to play Scrooge here!” said Upson. “We just want to help British businesses spend smarter. That’s why we’re offering £1,000 towards any business’ next social event or staff incentive to help extend the festive cheer – a New Year’s celebration of smarter spending. To enter the competition, businesses just need to sign up for a Soldo account by 31st January 2019* – and one lucky winner will receive £1,000 loaded onto their Soldo account.”