Year-End Checklist for Business Owners

Wrapping up the year does not only give business owners peace of mind that their records are closed out properly, but it also enables you to plan for a successful year ahead. Failing to plan means planning to fail, so it is essential to evaluate your company’s information and leverage your findings to improve operations next year.

Use this checklist of seven steps to efficiently analyze your business at the end of the fiscal year and set goals to prosper in the year to come.

Review Your Financial Records

Getting your financial books in order can be tedious if you have been unorganized throughout the year. However, this is a necessary first step to reviewing your business as a whole. Be sure to collect and review all:

· Credit card statements

· Financial statements

· Payroll reports

· Interest statements

· Last year’s tax returns

· Required tax documents for this year

If you need help gathering and evaluating your financial records, consider asking an accountant or bookkeeper for assistance.

Secure all Information

Accidents happen and files can be erased. Ensure all information vital to your business is backed up onto a secure external hard drive or virtually in the cloud. This can include the documents above as well as contact information for vendors, teammates or customers. Urge your team to back up their information as well to ensure your hard work does not go to waste.

Take Stock of Inventory

If you sell a product, this an opportunity for you to understand and record how much you’ve sold in the last year – and what did not sell as well as expected. Doing so can also provide insight into any theft or discrepancies in your numbers. Go through your stock thoroughly to identify and investigate any errors. If you provide services rather than a product, reflect on the number of sales completed this year and any improvements you can make.

Evaluate Your Staff

Check in with your team to assess their performance, skillset and determination. Consider holding year-end reviews with employees to get a feel for how well they know the business and their position, as well as their perspective on the company. This feedback can help you determine your business’ position and if additional hiring is needed next year.

Compare Operations to Your Business Plan

Revisit the business plan you made when first starting your company and compare your performance to its original goals. Evaluate if you are reaching your short- and long-term goals, objectives, financial projections and more. This can help you stay on track to reach your goals and identify any areas where you have strayed. If you have deviated from the original plan, update your business plan to reflect any changes.

Evaluate Your Position

Determining your current standing is a must to effectively improve operations and profit next year. Ensure you have a firm understanding of where your business is currently by reviewing important financial documentation, including:

· Balance Sheet: Provides your equity, assets and liability in a summary of our company’s financial standing.

· Income Statement: Offers an overview of your business’ profits for the year with itemized revenue expenses.

· Cash Flow Statement: Indicates whether your company’s cash has increased or decreased over time, the inflows and outflows and how the money was spent. This includes operating expenses, investments and loans.

Additionally, consider changing your tax strategy, such as changing your business structure to a corporation to reap the financial tax benefits. Speak with a tax lawyer or accountant before making any decisions, as different strategies may work best for various types of businesses.

Plan for Next Year

Now that you know how you did this year, look ahead and decide what goals you want to meet by the end of next year. Make sure your yearly goals align with your overall long-term plan for your business. Then, layout your intended goals and create an actionable plan to get there.

Setting your business up for success can get lost in the day-to-day grind – but APGFCU help you plan your future. Visit their website to get started.

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