Fine Point Consulting Newsletter - December 2020

What A Year It Was!

We are coming up on the last days of 2020, and what a year it was to kick off the new decade! I'm sure we have all seen every heartfelt (but by now cliché) note on this year and it feels like there's no more to say.

In this year like none other, my hope for each of us is that the spirit of the holiday can still ring true. We may not be having our office Christmas bash, but we've found other ways to let our employees know how vital they are to the businesses we run. Maybe you're doing drive-by cookie drop-offs for family and friends rather than evenings together. 

Some of us may be spending these couple of weeks leading up to the holidays even more hunkered down in a self-imposed quarantine so we can enjoy a small gathering with family in the next few days. Maybe you know your Amazon and FedEx delivery drivers by name since you've been stocking up for Christmas morning.

From our FPC family to yours, this month we wanted to reminisce and share some of our traditions with you. They may look different in 2020, but we may be able to keep some the same. This year more than any other, no matter how our celebrations look, I am focusing on that classic lesson taught us by the Grinch - it will come without ribbons, it will come without tags. The joy of the season is in our grasp, as long as we have hands to clasp - or elbow bumps, or Zoom high fives, or simply smiles to share (behind our masks, of course).

President, Fine Point Consulting


HR Tips: Mental Health and Self-Care in December

It’s called “the most wonderful time of the year”... but in truth, it’s not wonderful for everyone. Many people find winter, in particular, a tough time. With shorter days, less sunlight, and colder weather, some people can feel depressed. At such times, self-care becomes even more essential.

This year especially, things may seem even more difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many parts of the country under tough restrictions, limiting our social connections and creating feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. We’re well into December, and we still don’t know exactly what the festive period will look like, which is challenging for many people.

It’s important to remember that although we’re living through unusual and difficult times, they won’t last forever. And, if you’re feeling stressed, worried, or in a difficult emotional state, that’s entirely understandable given the circumstances. Recognizing these feelings and taking positive steps can help.

Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the state of being fully aware of yourself and your surroundings, without judging either. Although that seems like a fairly simple concept, with the world as busy and constantly connected as it is, taking a step back can be difficult.

Mindfulness can help to decrease stress, improve your wellbeing, boost your creativity and memory, and help with your mental health.

Get outside
When the weather is a bit colder, we might be tempted to stay indoors more than usual. If you’re able to get out for a walk during the day, it can help. Fresh air and sunlight can help reduce stress, make you feel more relaxed, and improve your physical health.

Eat well 
In the colder months of the year, it’s easy to fall into relying solely on comfort foods to nourish us. Throw in things like Christmas dinners, leftovers, and holiday treats like boxes of chocolate and fancy decorated cookies, and it’s easy to write off December entirely. It’s important to keep in mind that a healthy and balanced diet is an essential part of self-care all year round. 

Exercise 
There are many benefits that come with exercise - it reduces the occurrence of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well as lowering your risk of early death. Exercise is also excellent for your mental health, helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Express gratitude 
Gratitude is another seemingly straightforward concept. Most of us are grateful for one thing or another in our lives. However, this apparently simple emotion can be a powerful self-care tool. There is a growing body of evidence to show that expressing gratitude can help with your physical and mental health. 

Limit your screen time
It’s easy to get caught up in the continuous news cycle at the moment. Developing stories, whether about the coronavirus pandemic or otherwise, can keep you glued to your TV or devices. Although it’s good to keep informed about the latest developments, you should try to limit your screen time in this respect. Continuously refreshing the page or obsessively checking for new updates can leave you feeling drained and anxious. Reducing your screen time in general also brings several benefits. It can help to reduce eye strain, prevent headaches, improve your sleep, and boost your focus. 

 

If you or someone you know needs immediate support, please visit:  
https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help


Fine Point Employees’ Favorite Holiday Traditions

Allie, Controller
“Absolutely nothing beats the annual around the world ping pong tournament! There are a former MLB player and a former NFL player in attendance each year. It gets awfully competitive and feels good if you can beat those two especially. I am going to miss this tremendously this year!”

Zach, COO
“Instead of someone having to cook a large dinner, we have an appetizer cookoff where everyone makes one small dish. There is then a ranking process to determine who made the best dish and they win a prize. I have yet to get a first place vote - shocker, I know.”

Steph, HR Practice Leader
“My favorite holiday traditions are baking, drives to look at the Christmas lights, and Christmas morning brunch.”

Bonus – Steph’s mom!
“My mom was one of 14 kids and they had no money. The smell of wet paint makes her think of Christmas. Why? Because Santa could not bring them new toys. But what Santa could do was paint their old toys and leave them under the tree Christmas morning.”

Bailey, Assistant Controller
“My favorite Christmas Eve tradition is the Green family’s white elephant gift exchange - always something that makes us all cry as we're laughing so hard. My second favorite is the family holiday jam sessions with my husband Grant on the violin, my mother-in-law on the accordion, and me on the sax. Great moments.”

Erica, Staff Accountant
“My family holiday tradition is getting a couple of new Christmas ornaments from my grandmother on Christmas every year for my tree. This is something she's been doing since I was a baby, so when I finally moved out, I had enough ornaments to fill my new tree! My grandma started it because her first Christmas when she moved out, she had nothing to decorate her tree with, so she wanted to make sure we always had plenty when we moved out! It's my favorite thing about the holidays.”

Lenise, Staff Accountant
“Christmas is all about food and games in my family. We look forward to some Puerto Rican holiday dishes like pasteles, pernil, and alcapurria (all fattening dishes). We play silly games, dance, and laugh a ton!  Best part is we open all the gifts on December 24th, which is called Noche Buena.”

Leroy, Controller
“This year will be the 40th Annual Christmas Cemetery Tour. When I was a sophomore in college, my brother died of cancer at the age of 30 on a brutally frigid, crystal-clear Christmas morning. Needless to say, anniversary grief for my parents was always apparent after that. My dad wasn’t one to express his emotions much, but he would ask me, every subsequent Christmas, if I could take him to Wood National Cemetery so that he could visit his son’s gravesite. We would go, shiver, and my dad would keep his thoughts to himself as did I. We continued to do this until my dad could no longer make the pilgrimage prior to his death. The next Christmas, I offered to take my feather-weight of a mother on the same journey. She gladly accepted and we continued, again, until her death.

After that, my Christmas Day didn’t seem complete without taking the trip, so I began to take my daughter. We would visit my brother’s grave, those of my parents, and my mother’s parents. Typically, we would then go and spend some “daddy-daughter” time, often by visiting the Mitchell Park Conservatory (“The Domes”) and have a bit of a lunch, celebrating our lives together.

My daughter has since married and moved away. Because of my divorce and her marriage, I get to see her about once every 3 years for Christmas, but when we do share it, we take the tour, just like old times. In those years when she isn’t around (like this one), I take the tour myself. I spend a few moments, just like so many others, being with my family, remembering the good times.”

Angie, Staff Accountant
“My family has a few holiday traditions. My mom gets all the grandkids ornaments every year so when they are adults, they will have them from each year to decorate their own trees. Growing up, I was allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve and it was always pajamas. I do this with my kids also - sometimes I add a movie night pack with a new movie and snacks. We also drive around town and look at Christmas lights every year!”

Chelsea, President
“My tradition was Christmas Bingo - every year on Christmas Day, we would always host Christmas bingo at my family's house.  Everyone would bring a gift or a knick-knack and when you won the round of bingo, you got to pick a gift. It started as just my family and both sets of grandparents. As uncles and aunts from out of town would visit, our bingo games got bigger and bigger. We had three generations sitting around a table, or wherever you could find room in the kitchen for your bingo card, playing bingo for hours on end. The real highlight was when we finally upgraded and got a spinner to make our experience more official.”

Louisa, Tax Practice Leader
“In my family, we always give the turkey his due, and no Christmas is allowed until after Thanksgiving. Growing up, I loved waking up that Friday to my mom playing her favorite Christmas album by Amy Grant or my dad playing The Tractors. This was also the only day all year my siblings and I willingly cleaned our house (while singing at the top of our lungs) so that we could decorate and get our tree!

Christmas Eve is the biggest celebration in my family. As kids, we participated in our Christmas Eve service, which most years my mom actually wrote - that's how involved my family is at my home church. Even now that we've all moved away, we show up for Christmas Eve and my mom hands us the choir music and all the kids and sons-in-law join the choir. Each year at the end of the service, all the lights are turned off, and the entire congregation has candles lit while we sing Silent Night.

Santa comes while we're all at church, so by the time we get home on Christmas Eve, all the presents are out. My sisters and I switch out our dressy shoes for Christmas socks and we eat soup that my mom and older sister have made (at least 2 or 3 kinds), and then we all find a spot on the living room floor to open presents. Now that we all have kids too, we let the grandkids tear into all their gifts first, and then the rest of the family goes around and around, youngest to oldest, one gift at a time. Also, it's not really Christmas unless at one gift makes the recipient cry.”

 


“The Fine Point team is so great at being ahead of the game and we feel like everyone there is a wonderful person. We can go to any one of them to ask questions and not be made to feel like idiots, or that we should have already known the answers.” 

Gloria and Mara
Owners


Client Achievements

We love working with our clients and are proud of all their success. 2020 was busy and fruitful for each of them! Here are five notable examples of client achievements from this year:


FPC Meet and Greet: Hunter Decman, Staff Accountant

Fine Point Consulting is excited to introduce another team member, Hunter Decman, who mostly handle the day-to-day accounting needs of our clients, assisting with month end close, and other various projects.


Holiday Tip: “COVID-19 Fighting Station”

Even though the CDC is recommending we celebrate the holidays only with those who live in our same household, it’s natural to want to get together with others, especially during this time of year, and considering most families have special traditions tied to this season. How about setting up a “COVID-19 Fighting Station” inside your door? A bottle of hand sanitizer, some disposable masks, and perhaps some disinfecting wipes are all you need. This year, we wouldn’t be surprised to see these replace bottles of wine and flowers for host and hostess gifts! In fact, you could also pick up some 1-2 ounce bottles of hand sanitizer, travel-sized packages of disinfecting wipes, and masks as party favors and take-home treats for your guests.


Mark Your Calendar!

  • 12/25 - Christmas (Bank Holiday)
  • 12/31 - Year End
  • 1/1/21 - New Years Day (Bank Holiday)
  • 1/18/21 – MLK Day (Bank Holiday)
  • 2/1/21 - Q4 Payroll Tax, W-2, and 1099 Reporting Deadline


Fine Point Employees’ Holiday Movie Tournament

In our most recent staff meeting we all shared our favorite Christmas movies and programs. For a little fun last week we decided to turn it into a tournament and vote on which one would reign supreme. We posted periodic match-ups on slack and used custom themed emojis to vote. The last round was a close call, and required every team member to vote… ultimately, Buddy the Elf took the title.


Fine Point Consulting is a boutique consulting firm offering expert-level professional accounting & human resources services customized to meet your budget. We help entrepreneurs who are trying to scale fast, get more done, and stay lean.

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