Ah, the end of the year. It’s time for holiday promotions, boosted sales (hopefully), and year-end preparations. If you don’t prepare for the end of the year and follow a checklist, you’ll probably find yourself burning the candle at both ends.
Coming from an experienced business owner, it’s never too early to start preparing for the year-end. Get a jump start on your year-end checklist and avoid stress by learning how to wrap up your business.
1. Complete End-Of-The-Year Reviews
The end of the year is a great time to review how well your team worked together. But, how can you see that? Cue performance review time.
Year-end is one of the best times of the year to hold performance reviews. You can discuss employees’ accomplishments from the year as well as goals they hope to reach in the new year. Not to mention, performance evaluations give you the opportunity to find out how your employees are feeling. Listen to your employees’ concerns and let them know their opinions matter.
2. Update Your Payroll Records
If you want to start on the right foot in the new year, you need to have all of your employee information organized. So, what does this mean for your business, you ask? Well, this means you need to get your payroll records in order before the year-end.
As an employer, it’s your duty to make sure everything is straight with your payroll records before tax time rolls around. Otherwise, it could cause a plethora of payroll problems for both you and your employees.
You can use payroll software to simplify the process and take the load off of your shoulders. If you opt to handle payroll yourself, be sure to handle tasks like:
- Verifying employee wages, benefits, and deductions
- Checking employment tax rates (they tend to change annually)
- Making sure you recorded all paychecks
- Recording year-end bonuses and payments.
The sooner you start, the better. When the new year starts, you’ll have even more on your plate, so it’s best that you get a head start on the end-of-the-year payroll process.
3. Tidy Up Your Accounting Books
If you want your accounting books to be in tip-top shape for the new year, take some time to organize your books and business receipts.
Keeping your books nice and tidy is an essential part of staying up-to-date for income tax season. And let’s face it, no business owner wants to be scrambling at the last minute (or maybe that’s just me).
Here are just a few of the things you should be doing at year-end to get your books in order:
- Gather financial statements
- Count and cross-check inventory
- Organize business receipts
- Reconcile bank accounts
To simplify your year-end accounting process even further, you can organize from the get-go (aka stay organized the entire year) or use accounting software to track financial information.
4. Review Your Business and Marketing Plans
Remember those goals you set at the end of last year in your business and marketing plans (and hopefully looked at throughout the year)? It’s time to revisit those goals you set and see where you stand.
Take a look at your business and marketing plans and review your year. Did you meet the goals you listed in your plans? Or, did you fall short somewhere?
If you didn’t reach your goals, use the end of the year to rethink your strategies and start fresh. Update your plans if you’ve had major changes to your business throughout the course of the year.
Remember, nobody’s perfect. Chances are, you’re going to have a few goals you didn’t reach. And that’s OK! Find out why you didn’t reach certain goals during the year and make it your mission to check it off your list in the new year.
5. Set Goals For The New Year
If you want to grow your business during the new year, you need to have a plan and set reachable business goals.
When the year starts to come to a close, set aside time to think about what goals you want to reach in the upcoming year. Some goals your small business might have for the new year include:
- Opening a second business location
- Making X sales in the first quarter
- Hiring additional employees
- Expanding your offerings
Your goals can be large (e.g., remodeling your store) or small (e.g., cleaning out your filing cabinet). When thinking about your goals, just make sure they’re attainable. Don’t set goals that you clearly can’t reach within the next year.
Based on your goals, build an action plan and timeline. Your action plan will help you stay on track and give you a timeline to complete said goals.
6. Do A Little Relaxing
Last but not least, don’t forget to cut yourself some slack at year-end. You’re a busy business owner, but that doesn’t mean you have to work your butt off 24/7.
According to one source, a whopping 70% of small business owners do not see a holiday as a vacation from work. Trust me when I say this is one statistic you do not want to fall into.
The best gift you can give yourself (and your family and friends) is your presence. So, attend that holiday party. Bake those cookies with your kids. Hang out with your loved ones. Do whatever you need to do to kick back, relax, and spend some quality time with the people you care about the most.
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