End of Year Checklist for Small Business Owners

It’s easy to get distracted at the end of the year. Many businesses experience a slow down, your calendar is full of holiday parties, and vacation days loom on the horizon. Despite all these diversions, December is the perfect time to get your business house in order and primed for the year ahead. To finish off the year with a bang, there are 7 things that should be on the end of year checklist for small business owners. Take the list, check it twice and who knows...your business just might end up being really “nice.”

1. Gather your financial records

While April may be official tax season, now is the time to gather all the information and supporting documents you’ll need for your tax records. This includes your receipts, canceled checks, credit card slips, invoices, and other financial documents. You should also check that all your tax, payroll, and benefit information is correct. It can save you a lot of money to catch any mistakes before the new year begins.

2. Take inventory

The are two great reasons to take inventory at the end of the year. The first is that you can maximize your tax deductions by purchasing necessary supplies, programs, and equipment for your business with this year’s budget. The second is that you can take advantage of holiday discounts to get the best deals on all of your purchases. Not only will you end up with all the things you need for the upcoming year, you’ll do it in a way that actually helps your bottom line.

3. Check in with your goals

Most business start the year with different goals. Before you create a fresh list, check in and see how you did with the old ones. Was your marketing campaign successful? Did you hit your sales quota? How about fundraising? By taking the time to reflect on the previous year's work,  you will be better prepared to plan for the one ahead.

4. Show your appreciation

Everyone likes to feel appreciated. While saying “thank you” is important all year long, it is even more crucial during the holidays. Let your employees know how much you appreciate their loyalty and hard work with cards, company parties, bonuses and/or extra time off. Show your customers how much you appreciate their business by sending them thank you notes and/or offering them discounts. You know that you business wouldn't be where it is today without them - so make sure you send some love their way.

5. Talk to your advisors

While you are in the process of thanking everyone for their support, set up a time to check in with your advisors. This can be legal, business, technological, financial and more. This is a great opportunity to make sure everything is on track and to catch any potential problems before they turn into a major disaster. It’s also a chance to ask for any tips or tricks that might make your next year more successful.

6. Give back

The holidays are a time to remember your blessings, including the people and places who have helped you along the way. Give back (whether through money, goods or services) to the organizations that are important to you personally and to those who need your support. While it is true that these business-related donations are helpful deductions for your taxes, the benefits to your attitude and perspective far outweigh anything that may happen to your bottom line.

7. Pay yourself

While it's important to focus on the people around you during the holiday season, don’t forget to reward yourself! The best gift you can give yourself is that of a financially secure future. If you have a retirement account, max out your contributions. If you don’t yet have a retirement account, take the time to set one up. With the law of compounding interest, the more you can set aside now, the better off you will be. Even $100 a month can go a long way in removing future financial hardship.

In Conclusion

You've worked hard all year long. It may be tempting to push off these last minute things into January. However, by taking the time to do everything on this end of year checklist for small business owners, you will ensure your business stays successful all year round.