It’s that time of year again. Can you sense it? Year-end is just around the corner. The rivers are getting cold, the smell of fall is in the air, snow is starting to show in the mountains and everyone is getting excited for winter (at least our office is).
For many business owners Thanksgiving through Christmas is a time to take a laid back approach to their business. Taking that approach leaves you behind in your business and that is no way to start a new business year. Here is a year-end checklist for the small business owner.
There is a lot to do before year-end for the small business owner. Too many small business owners tend to kick back and relax as the year wraps up.
Follow this checklist to ensure you’re on task for your year end planning.
1. Review Bookkeeping
2. Schedule a CPA Tax Consult
First, if there are any tax advantageous moves that you can make you will have time to do so. Additionally if you are going to end up owing a large amount in taxes you will have sufficient notice to make a plan to pay that balance.
Nothing is worse than finding out you owe a lot of money in taxes with just a few weeks’ notice.
I always recommend that you have a tax consultation in early December each year with your CPA.
3. Develop a Budget & Forecast
4. Review Your Organization
Taking a step back and looking at your organizational chart is a great way to define needs, as well as refine your long-term vision.
5. Shop Major Policies
Prior to year-end is a great time to shop your major policies. I like to review my insurance policies with our agent to look for any gaps in coverage or possible ways to reduce our rates.
6. Long-term Budget & Forecast
7. Modify Your Exit Plan
If you said “what exit plan?” then we already have a problem. Having an exit plan in place for your business is incredibly important. Without a plan for exiting your business how do you think it will ever happen? Additionally how will you know when the time is right?
Many small businesses don’t develop an exit plan because they don’t see the point of it. Having an exit plan in place is important and you should review and modify it annually as needed.
Are You Ready for Year End Bookkeeping?
As the year winds down it may seem like a time to celebrate and relax. While it is important to relax there are a lot of tasks you need to do as a business owner prior to year-end if you want to succeed in your small business. That way you hit each new business year running on track towards your goals.
In general, you should avoid year end bookkeeping and instead prepare for the year ahead. Don’t wait until the end of the year to get your finances in order! Work with your internal bookkeeper or outsource your bookkeeping to ensure all your financial needs are taken care of before tax day!
What other critical tasks do you handle before year-end each year?