Let’s set the scene: the new year has dawned and you’re back in the office armed with a fresh annual budget, planning all the enterprising things you can spend it on over the next 12 months. At this point, the fourth quarter seems like a dot on the horizon, and you’re focused on spending shrewdly in the near term. When Q4 eventually arrives, budgetary priorities shift to preparing the war chest for the following year – and you realise that you have a large chunk of this year’s budget leftover.

This often leaves businesses scrambling around to find ways to spend their end-of-year budget. Panic ensues, resulting in spending for spending’s sake – a kneejerk reaction that fails to add value to the business. To avoid this common mistake, you must take the time to think strategically before splashing your surplus cash.

Here are five proactive ways you can spend your end-of-year budget that will enhance your business.

1. Give your marketing a shot in the arm

It’s the same old scenario every year for marketing departments: there’s not enough time – or resources – to complete every goal, project, or assignment. And the reasons are typically the same – from limited manpower to budget constraints.

Push your content on social media, invest in an SEO strategist, refresh your website, purchase a project management tool: whatever your strategy, by assigning end-of-year financial resources to your marketing efforts, you’re effectively investing in the year ahead – increasing your chances of success.

2. Recognise your employees

Everyone enjoys receiving a pat on the back for all their hard work. If your business had a profitable year or your employees have gone above and beyond their core responsibilities, use the money to reward them. Depending on how much of your budget is left in the pot, recognition could be given in several ways:

  • Gift them with company apparel or logo merchandise.
  • Present certificates or awards to reward specific achievements.
  • Offer bonuses, event tickets, or gift cards.

Another great way to show your appreciation is to lay on a team-building event – from a meal to paintballing. These socials are also a great way for employees to decompress outside the office and get to know each other – helping to bring your team closer together.

3. Invest in new technology to streamline processes

The end of the year is the perfect time to take stock of your business’s technology and identify if new tools could be implemented to address any gaps in your processes. This could range from deploying a new marketing, accounting, or communication tool to purchasing updated hardware – depending on the amount of money you have remaining. Get this right and you will be able to harness the power of technology to improve efficiency.

4. Donate to charity

A charitable donation is perhaps the most proactive way to use up your budget – especially around the holiday period. Choose a worthwhile cause from your local community or something that is close to your business’s heart.

5. Invest in professional development

Professional development, which is already a top priority for employees, should be afforded the budget it deserves by business leaders – even if this means assigning it leftover funds. For example, 61% of adults in the U.S. rank career development opportunities as the most important factor to look for in a new job.

Not only is professional development a vital employee retention strategy; it also helps businesses to remain competitive by upskilling employees. According to the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), businesses that invest over $1500 per employee per year achieve on average 24% higher profit margins than those with a lower training budget.

NobleProg: your trusted professional development partner

People are your business’s most valuable asset, so make sure you invest in their professional development. Get this right and you will foster an engaged workforce that’s both motivated to and capable of improving their output. NobleProg’s instructor-led training courses – whether online or onsite – empower your employees with the technical skills they need to flourish in their roles.