The Small Business Year-End Checklist
year-end accounting
The year-end stretch holds the same importance as the start of the year. It dictates your next steps. Whether it’s a hectic or a slow period for your business, it’s important to take the time to make sure you get your ducks in a row in preparation for the upcoming year. Especially when you are asking the daunting question: what stage is my business in right now?

 

If you’re not sure where to start, use this checklist to figure out where your company is in relation to your business ambition and goals.
ON THE FINANCIAL FRONT

Prepare Financial Statements and Analyze the Ratios. The first and most crucial step of a proper business year-end review is to prepare your financial reports and perform an analysis on your most relevant financial ratios. Starting with the financial statements:
  • Balance sheet: to measure your current financial performance
  • Income statement: to measure your profitability
  • Cash Flow Statement: to summarize your business’ cash inflow and outflow in the following areas:
    • Cash flow from operating activities
    • Cash flow from investing activities
    • Cash flow from financial activities
After your statements are ready, take a close look at the financial ratios with direct impact on your business operations. Check out our article explaining the most relevant ratios for small businesses to get an accurate understanding of your business’ financial position.

Prepare Your Tax Documents. Too early to get your tax documents ready? Think again. The year-end stretch is the best time to get it started as it allows you to evaluate your tax strategy. Is your current tax strategy putting a heavy burden on your business oprations? Talk to a tax professional to discover other strategies you can implement to minimize your tax burden such as incorporating your business venture.

Evaluate Your Current Revenue Goal. With less than a month left, now is the best time to take one last look at your earning stream. Are you on track to finish the year on target? Or is there a need to readjust?
ON THE TECHNOLOGICAL FRONT

Back Up, Back Up, Back Up. If you aren’t already doing this on a monthly basis, backup your data and contacts on all of your devices so that you wil have a copy safely stored elsewhere in case of technological breakdown. It’ll also create a smoother transition when you decide to migrate to another enterprise platform or upgrade your hardware.

Audit Your Website. Your site is your business’ digital calling card as well as the first point of interaction for the majority of your prospects. While a monthly website audit may focus on the content and links you need to add or edit, a year-end audit helps determine the effectiveness and efficiency of your website in more detail. For example, does your site have logical steps for the user? Can you improve its loading time? A thorough website audit allows you to see if there’s a need to migrate to a new platform, purchase additional features for your current platform, or peform a complete overhaul of your website.
ON THE GENERAL FRONT

Review your business documentation. The end of the year is the best time to make the necessary changes to your business documentation. First, begin with removing any old paperwork and create digital copies of your current business documents.

Subsequently, check your current documents, do you need to make corrections? Do you need to update your documentation strategy? If there’s been a change in your business processes, make sure those changes are reflected in your business documents. They are after all the backbone of your business
Update Employee Record & Payroll Info. Such as addresses, emails, phone numbers, as well as the status of your new hires. While you’re at it, take a look at your former employees’ files to check their access level to your business system.
Examine Staffing Needs for Next Year. Based on this past year’s performance, when are the times that extra hand or two is needed? Would a new hire or intern help you capture additional revenue? Or does it make more sense to work with a freelancer? Additionally, as you examine your staffing needs, provide feedback to your employees and see if there are ways to improve their effectiveness. Recognize outstanding performers and share with them your business accomplishments with them, to let them know that their work contributed to it.
Set Goals for the Upcoming Year. Based on your review, which goals did you cross out form the list. Did you reach the goals you expected to achieve? which ones did you achieve unexpectedly? Based on the ones that you haven’t cross out, modify the goals so that they will make sense for your business based on the projection from your financial analysis. Do not be discouraged if some of the goals require you to take a step back. It’s like doing a touch up on
AND THAT'S IT
End of the year holds the same importance as the beginning of the year: it sets the tone for your next move. Specifically the immediate steps you will take at the beginning of the new year. The year-end review will provide you with a sensible perspective of where your business is.

KEEP IN MIND: do not be discouraged if your review resulted in bringing your business a step backward. It might be a crucially needed step to iron out a few wrinkles.Growth is never a linear progression. So continue believing in the process and what you are offering.
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