It's crazy how time flies, especially for small businesses. Another year is coming to a close and as a small business owner there are things that you need to do to prepare for your calendar year-end and your fiscal year-end. In some cases, these two events might even coincide. To alleviate some frustration and to help you understand what you should focus on — from a "small business accounting" perspective — I am going to use my business, Momentum Fitness, as our example for today as I detail my year-end to-do list.
As My Year-End Approaches
The first task on my year-end to-do list is to check my AR (Accounts Receivable, or invoices that haven’t been paid yet), and my AP (Accounts Payable, or bills that haven’t been paid yet). My goal is to try and clear up as much of my AR & AP as possible before the actual year-end. I send out customer statements from Kashoo to my clients with outstanding balances and then I pick up the phone. Crazy idea in this day and age, I know, but sometimes a phone call can get action faster than any digital communication (think; email, chat, etc.).
Our business doesn’t have inventory, so tracking and reporting on it isn’t a concern for us. But if your business HAS inventory, you would have to "take stock" to see if you have the correct amount ($ value of inventory on hand) being accounted for in Kashoo.
As part of my year-end to-do list, here are the tasks I do on the last day of my fiscal year:
- Count cash and track it somewhere so I can send to my accountant.
- Document all outstanding cheques and their amounts.
- Document any undeposited credit card funds.
- Download my AR and AP reports from my accounting software (Kashoo).
Additionally, here are a few other things on my year-end to-do list (not necessarily accounting related) that help my business get ready for the year to come:
- Are you giving any bonuses? If bonuses are going to be paid out in the current year, then talk to an accountant about withholding the proper amount of payroll taxes.
- Ensure all client information is accurate, and send them thank-you notes for their business over the last 12 months.
- Write a list of major business achievements/goals reached for the past year.
- Prepare a staff meeting in January to "kick-off" the New Year just right.
- Set goals. I use my Profit & Loss Report in Kashoo to see what worked this year and what didn’t. Tip: Break down your goals into action steps and "Key Performance Indicators" so you know whether you are on track or not throughout the year.
- Not sure what you want your goals to be?
◦ Why not get a "business mentor" who can coach you through it.
◦ Schedule a brainstorming session with your staff.
◦ Book some customer surveys and/or interviews.
◦ Learn new skills that may take your business in a new direction.
Things I Do the "Month After" My Year-End
This is a scary word, but basically, it means to make sure what happened in the real world (with your bank account and credit card accounts), matches what you have inputted into Kashoo. Within a few weeks of my year end I make sure that my final month is reconciled. If for some reason you haven’t been doing this then you will need to do all 12 months, and that can be a bit daunting! That's why I HIGHLY recommend doing this MONTHLY (or as regularly as your schedule allows) throughout the year.
If you have been using the file attachment functionality in Kashoo then you might not have any "paper" that needs filing (Nice job!). But if you haven't been using it, then you need to sort all of your paper documentation into folders to make life easier on your tax preparer. Make sure that when they are working through your tax return they can easily find the documents they need as they correspond to your accounting transactions. Remember, the less work YOU do in this step, the more you will have to pay your accountant (or your tax preparer) for the time it takes them to find and sort the documents they'll need to complete your tax filing.
FIND A TAX EXPERT - JOIN OUR WORKSHOP!
Filing taxes for your business is no simple task. In running our business, we've always found that working with a tax expert (or an accountant that is a tax whiz) will not only save you money, but will give you knowledge on where you can make smarter decisions for the next year. At Kashoo, we offer some amazing sales tax-tips for small businesses. Check out our Workshops page for availability and to reserve your spot today.
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Regardless of the size of your business, or whether your fiscal year-end and calendar year-end coincide, a year-end to-do list will help you stay on course financially and set you up for many successful years to come!