I love this time of year! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s tempting to focus on holidays, traveling and family visits, but tend to forget about your businesses 4th quarter closing. Now is the time of year where your business needs your attention the most, especially when it comes to your finances. Keeping on top of the details between November 1st and January 1st will not only keep you on top of year-end closings but off to a strong start in the New Year.
Here is a checklist of what you need to do for your business before the end of the year.
- Accounting – Make sure you’re maintaining excellent financial records throughout the year. By December, it will be extremely helpful for you and your accountant.
- Running Reports – Take a look at where your business stands financially, compared to other years. You’ll want to run a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. By looking at these reports will give you a good indication of where you are financially and where you are headed.
- Analyze Cash Flow Statements – By looking at your cash flow, you can see how your money was spent throughout the year. There is three specific aspect’s that you’ll want to analyze:
- Operating activities (revenue and expenses); investing activities (assets purchased and assets sold); financial activities (loans and repayments).
- Vendor Information – Make sure all your vendor information is corrected in your system. Purge or disregard any inaccurate information or if you don’t need to reconnect with them.
- Reconcile Accounts Receivable – Make sure you have a list of outstanding invoices or which clients still owe you money. Try to get these settled before the end of the year to give next year a fresh start.
- Double-Check Payroll – Stay on top of any issues which may need your attention. Don’t forget to check any health and life insurance benefits as well.
- If you have big purchases your considering and have a profit, this is an excellent time to make those purchases and reduce your tax liability.
- Make an appointment with your accountant to discuss any other tax saving strategies you can take advantage of before year end.
- Information Technology (IT)
- Back It Up – Make sure all your account files and client files are backed up and secure. Have an external hard drive available or cloud-based system.
- Back-Up Contacts – If you do most of your business over the phone or computer, make sure you back them up – even if you have to keep an old address book.
- Download Files – Dropbox is perfect for keeping documents and reports as a back-up. The Golden Rule for data backup is 2:1 – create 2 separate digital copies in 2 separate places and 1 offline copy.
- Evaluate Your File System – Creating a file-naming system is especially important in businesses, especially those share servers. Make sure any and all files are uniform to the method you prefer.
- Human Resources
- Bonuses – Decide if you want to offer a bonus or other end-of-year incentive before the end of the year. Doing it before January will impact your profits report.
- Staffing Needs – Take an inventory of your current staff and determine if you’ll need to hire more employees for the next year. Make sure you budget these additional expenses in the upcoming year.
- Collect Accomplishments – What milestones have you and your company accomplished? Acknowledge them and your staff for an outstanding performance.
- General Business
- Inventory – Make sure you conduct an inventory count before the year’s end and make corrections as needed. This is the time to make sure you are not only keeping accurate records but not experiencing any loss.
- Make New Goals – Have you accomplished any of your goals this year? What about next year? How will your path be different for the upcoming year? Also – write down your financial goals and talk to a professional (like us!) about how to achieve them.
- Check Your Website – When was the last time you did a thorough look through your website? Make sure every button works, every phone number is correct ad links are working properly. It’s imperative to make sure everything is in working order.
Closing out for the end of the year can seem like an overwhelming task – but staying on top of your business goals and finances will make next year a lot easier.
Still have questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to help plan your own check-list.