The end of each year is a good time to review achievements and set goals for the coming year. A business year-end checklist can help you to do both of these things. It can also help you identify areas where improvements can be made so you can work them into next year’s strategy. In this article, we’ll discuss five steps to get your business ready for next year.
Each step will take some time, but you’ll likely save time and energy when it comes to tax preparation, business strategy, and tech issues. We’ll share helpful resources and trusted partners throughout the article so you can prepare for next year’s goals fast. If starting a new business is one of your goals, we can form a company for you and provide all the support you need to be successful. Find answers to FAQs, help on our blog, and solution providers to help you build a profitable business.
You might be wondering why the following tasks should be done at the end of the year. There are exceptions, but most small businesses operate on a calendar year, so December is the time to get ready for next year. No matter when your fiscal year ends, there are steps you can take to get ready for tax filings and establish goals before the new year begins. Working through this 5-step checklist will help you save time later by doing a little housekeeping now.
Each step covers a group of tasks to complete. Some tasks will take longer than others, but you can bookmark this article and come back to it as each task is completed.
The best picture of success or failure is found in the numbers. Comparing revenues and expenses reveals whether or not your company has grown, shrunk, or remained stagnant throughout the year. In order to plan goals for next year, it’s critical to know where you stand financially.
Both the chart of accounts and the profit and loss report should be reviewed for
If a professional bookkeeper or accountant manages your books, you can request the financial reports to complete your review.
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Now that you can see how your company has performed throughout the year, it’s time to improve on what worked and consider options for what hasn’t worked. There’s always room for improvement, even on top-selling products or services. There can also be services or products that aren’t making money. Some research on how to improve profitable items and improve or eliminate others altogether will help you grow more successful lines, improve on poor-performing lines, and perhaps get rid of the ones that aren’t worth your time.
One of the easiest ways to set and track goals is by adding them to a spreadsheet. It may take some time to complete the list, but once you can see the targets, it will be easier to achieve them. Keep in mind that next year’s business goals should be focused on increasing sales, improving products or services, and expanding your customer base. You may also want to consider fundraising and other investment options if you intend to expand your business.
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Based on the results from step 1, you should be able to determine if adding or reducing staff is necessary to carry out next year’s business goals. If you intend to hire, make sure to use up-to-date employment and tax forms. eForms has a variety of free fillable employee applications. The IRS also has free forms for employment verification and tax withholding.
Employee contact information should be reviewed and updated before next year’s tax documents are generated. If you have an intranet, you can just ask team members to review and update their own information. Otherwise, a short form or email requesting new details will simplify collecting information.
Now is also a good time to determine bonuses, year-end celebrations, and any other perks to share with your team. Here’s a great article on planning the best employee holiday events. You can also review our employee rewards providers for gifts and other ideas.
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Depending on how much information is stored, it could take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours to back up computers and other storage devices. Starting computer and storage backups at the end of your work day will save time during business hours. If you don’t have a backup system, there are affordable options that are easy to set up.
You can make the most of free cloud storage by deleting unnecessary files and organizing the files you want to keep into folders. Also, consider how your folders and files are named. Do you use a standard naming convention, such as “YEAR-MONTH-FILENAME”? A standardized file name policy allows you to sort and find files quickly. Now is a good time to rename files so they’re easy to find later.
More on file name best practices
At least once a year, you should review your website, listings on selling platforms, email and newsletter templates, and social media channels to correct any mistakes and update contact details. Review product availability, pricing, listing descriptions, and shipping charges (if applicable) for accuracy.
If you have moved, make sure your new phone number and address are listed on your Google business profile, social media channels, and website so customers can find you. Consumers are much more likely to buy from businesses with accurate information listed on the web. Make sure to publish posts on your site and social channels to get the word out about your updates.
An effective web presence is critical if you want to compete in the modern age. Statistics show that a full 70% of consumers look for small business websites when shopping for products and services. The best way to grab sales from online shoppers is with a clean, smart, and effective website. You don’t have to be a web designer to start a business site. You do need to be able to update your website or hire an expert to do it for you. If your site is informational or a simple e-commerce site, you can probably launch and manage a site on your own.
There are several affordable solutions that come with themes, templates, and tools to make a low-cost DIY website pretty quickly. We offer two website packages with all these features to help you launch a new site fast. If you haven’t set up your web presence, add this task to your year-end checklist to get ready for the new year.
Review business licenses, permits, and recurring state report requirements to make sure they’re up to date. Late reports and expired licenses may include additional penalties and fees. But without current licenses and state compliance, your business is at risk of being shut down. You may have to pay late fees, penalties, and interest, but you’ll still be able to keep your doors open. Penalties and interest should stop accumulating as soon as you file and pay for applications and reports. So you can save money by updating these documents sooner rather than later.
Licenses, permits, and recurring state reports should have filing and expiration dates displayed on them. If you’re not sure whether or not a license or report status is current, contact the proper state and/or local agencies for help. They’ll check your status and offer resources to update expired documents.
We can help you catch up on annual reports and automate business compliance, so you don’t get stuck paying penalties and late fees. MyCompanyWorks Premium™ offers both compliance and security to keep your business in good standing. We’ll take entity maintenance off your hands, so you can focus on next year’s goals. Gain instant access to free business and tax forms, cloud storage, and entity monitoring all in one place. Read the entire list of features and put your business compliance on autopilot with just a few details. We’ll do the paperwork and offer support every step of the way.
If one of next year’s goals is to move and/or rebrand, you can start by changing your business name and updating the original Limited Liability Company or Corporation articles. If you intend to change your name, ownership, business purpose, or other information on the original formation paperwork, you’re required to file amendments with your state of business. You can contact each state and local business agency to amend filings. Or we can file them for you if you want to save time.
NOTE: Make sure to file your name change before doing business under the new name. All business licenses, permits, and other documents with the old name will also need to be updated.
If you want to dissolve – permanently close your company, you can do so before the end of the year to save money on taxes and additional reporting next year. Filing Articles of Dissolution officially ends the existence of your company, and you’re no longer obligated to file reports with your state. If you need to close your business, you can file a dissolution and get a free post-filing checklist to help you close up shop.
Working your way through a year-end checklist is a great way to pinpoint issues, prepare for tax season, and plan for next year’s business goals. You’ll have a clear picture of finances and overall performance, so you can make informed decisions about growing, shrinking, and stagnating service lines. With this information, you can also determine a budget for employee perks, bonuses, and holiday celebrations.
Organized and backed-up data is essential to prevent time lost to constant searching or recovering lost files. Maintaining technology keeps you and your team running with minimal downtime. With some cleanup and organization, you can work toward next year’s targets, instead of constantly hunting for documents or troubleshooting equipment.
Reviewing and updating your company’s web presence helps customers find you fast. The end of each year is a good time to make sure contact information, business hours, etc. are current. You’ll also want to spend some time reviewing product and service pages for accurate content. Social media channels and newsletters should also be updated if needed. Taking some time to analyze your website’s performance can help you improve your strategy for next year.
If you’re planning to change your company’s name, ownership, or other important details, you must file amendments with state business agencies. All licenses and documents issued to your business must also be updated. We can amend LLC or Corporation articles for you, or you can contact each agency directly to record the updates.
If this is the last year for your company, you can file a dissolution to officially end your business. Dissolving your company before the end of this year will prevent your company from having to file and pay for next year’s taxes and state reporting. We can file your dissolution to ensure your business is officially closed before the new year begins.
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 30th, 2022 at 1:40 pm and is filed under Small Biz Management, Corporate/LLC Compliance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.