WBMDay8As if this time of year wasn’t crazy enough, many of us follow the calendar year for our financial year planning. Meaning many of us will be closing the books on this financial year very soon.

Crossing Ts and dotting financial Is now can help you get your business be organized and work smarter in the year ahead. Here’s a quick checklist on what to remember to help you get through smoothly. Treat, not Trick!

  • Take an inventory of all products or raw materials on hand. If you use a cloud-based sales system, be sure to note the end of year inventory total on January 1. Most POS systems only keep the current inventory total.
  • Review your finances with your accountant/bookkeeper.
    • Ensure payroll is in good shape to get employees W2 forms on time.
    • Close out all outstanding receivables before year-end and nudge on those unpaid bills.
    • Ideally, you’ve been collecting W9s throughout the year. If not, do so now. In terms of 1099s, keep in mind the due dates for filing: 1099s to recipients on or before Jan. 31 and to IRS on or before Feb. 28.
    • Reconcile transactions and cash checks. Reissue checks as needed and void as needed.
  • Run year-end financial reports (save as PDFs) and export your accounting data. If you need data from a few years back, it will be easier to look at a PDF report that summarizes the data you need. Here are some key reports to run:
    • Profit and Loss, Jan 1 – Dec 31
    • Balance Sheet, dated Jan 1 and another dated Dec 31
    • Payroll tax details for each employee, Jan 1 – Dec 31
  • Save PDF copy of your business calendar. A vital business record, your business calendar documents travel, meetings and more related to your work. If you use a paper planner, set a consistent and secure location to keep the old calendars available for at least 5 years running.
  • If you use your vehicle for business, write down your mileage at the end of the year. You may want to keep this with your calendar records.
  • Download Square/Paypal/Dwolla/online banking statements as a PDF report of all transactions of the year. Be sure you also download copies of utility bills, credit card statements, insurance bills, supplier invoices, tax filings and any other online financial data. Set this up next year to pull monthly as backup to make life easier.
  • Review and update your business and marketing plans. Set yourself up for the year ahead by putting a plan in place, setting goals and then marking into your calendar monthly reviews. These monthly reviews will help:
    • remind you and your team of goals and priorities
    • determine which strategies are working or what needs to be modified due to recent changes
    • adjust for new opportunities and priorities
  • Review your business structure and business processes to see if and where you can find any opportunities to cut expenses.
  • Review your insurance coverage.
  • Backup and secure key files to ensure your business can stay up and running during unexpected events, such as natural disasters. Send a copy to a cloud backup like DropBox.
  • Donate to charity. December 31 is the deadline for charitable contributions to deduct from your 2015 tax return. Instead of donating cash, consider donating low-basis stocks or mutual funds to avoid capital gains tax. You may also consider donating time or in-kind items to a local charity which is great for team morale and local publicity.
  • Remember to use up FSA money. If you have money set aside in a flexible spending account for health care expenses, see if you can order new glasses or schedule that dental work you’ve been putting off.