Business Planning: Preparing for Year End
Preparing for year-end finances shouldn’t only be about taxes. It is a perfect time to begin business planning to meet your financial goals and start off the new year with clean books. Below is a refresher of our year-end checklist with a few new additions.
Every company should have a few key reports that they run for year end:
- Run a profit and loss (P&L) report by business line to know exactly where you stand before the holiday season/year end;
- Use your balance sheet to get a snapshot of your assets and liabilities and compare to the prior year, looking for major or unexpected differences in account balances;
- Run aging reports for both accounts receivable and payable to know what will be booked for the prior year that might only show up the following month; and
- Review your financials in conjunction with any bank loan covenants to ensure you won’t violate any terms of your loan agreement.
Don’t wait until the last minute to look after staff, payroll and personnel year-end loose ends:
- Decide if, and how much, employees will receive for year-end bonuses;
- Tie up any expense reimbursement loose ends; and
- Make sure you know how much 401(k) match or safe harbor will be owed after year end.
Loose Ends and Review
Look after all the loose ends ahead of time so you are not scrambling at the last minute:
- Ensure your inventory is up to date ahead of the busy holiday season; for example, to know if you should offer a sale in order to clear out an overstock of inventory, or if you have sold-out items;
- Have your accounting team review your expenses to confirm everything is appropriately allocated;
- Review your reconciliations and be sure they are up to date before the holiday crunch time;
- Ensure you have all the W-9 and contractor information you need so you or your accounting team are ready for processing 1099s; and
- Decide if the current year should be locked in your accounting system after December close to prevent changes to the prior year’s finances.
Budgeting and Goal-Setting
If you have not already, begin planning your budget for the following year:
Check with your tax advisor to see what needs to be done to maximize savings and minimize your tax burden:
- Ask your tax advisor which additional reports you should have prepared ahead of time to make your tax season seamless;
- Donate money: It provides tax savings, and it will leave you feeling great;
- Learn which tax law changes might affect you; and
- Use up your end-of-the-year budgets; this can help maximize your deductions for the current tax year.
Whenever you are preparing for year end, do not forget to also prepare for the year ahead. Set up all the accounts, files and folders you will need for the new year, ahead of your first month end close. January is a busy month regardless so the more prepared you can be, the better. Last but not least, if you don’t have one already, start a “Questions/Year End List” that you can refer back to at this time every year.
For more information, contact Chris Arndt at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 312.670.6235. Click here to learn more about our Cloud CFO Services.
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