Getting ready for the new year is much more than writing goals and reviewing accomplishments. It’s about making sure that you’re successful right out of the gate next year.
Your goals and plan of action aren’t going to do that for you all alone. Instead, you need to make sure your books and business are ready to go come January 1. Last year I wrote about how to get your books in order for tax time, but Quarter 1 prep goes beyond that too.
Every business is a bit different, but here’s a list of just a few of the things you need to pay attention to as you get your business in order and ready to go. You can do many of these in December, but some of these tasks will carry over to January. (But if you can knock some of these tasks off your to-do list now, you’ll really be on the right track come January.)
Update and reconcile your bookkeeping software
The balance your bank says you have when you log into your account is not actually what you have available to you. You need to reconcile your account with your bookkeeping software on a regular basis–weekly, or monthly at the very least. When you do this, you’ll also categorize your transactions so you have a better view of what’s available to you and how much you’re spending.If you’re not reconciling your accounts, year-end reconciliation is non-negotiable. Click To Tweet
Prep your list of 1099s and W-2s
You can’t send out 1099s and W-2s until you’ve run the last checks of the year or processed your final payroll for the last time this year, but you can start preparing your list of contractors and employees who need to receive them. Every contractor you paid $600 or more needs a 1099 from you, however you need to be sure you have a W-9 form on hand from them first (this should be part of the onboarding process).
You’ll also need to send W-2s to every employee, regardless of how much you paid them. If you’ve kept your books up-to-date, this can be as simple as running a report in your bookkeeping software. If you have questions about this, talk to your tax preparer.
Put aside cash for your estimated tax payment
Year-end can often leave a business cash-strapped because you’re trying to make last-minute purchases for tax breaks. Plan ahead and set aside your Q4 estimated tax payment now. You won’t need to send it to the IRS until January, but it doesn’t hurt to have it ready. If you find yourself with some extra cash at the end of the year, be sure to have a plan for what you’ll do with it so you can make smart investments that will benefit your business for years to come.
Review accounts receivable
Don’t close out the year with someone owing you money. Check our accounts receivable and make sure that all invoices are paid up and clear, if possible.
Review your financial reports
While you should be reviewing your financial statements throughout the year, it’s even more important at the end of the year. Take a look at your profit and loss statement and your balance sheet. If anything looks off, talk to your bookkeeper right away. Pay special attention to any third party integrations you’re using.When was the last time you looked at your biz financial statements? (Do I want to know!?) Click To Tweet
Complete your CPA’s tax questionnaire
If you get something in your email from your accountant, open it! Many CPAs plan ahead by having clients fill out a questionnaire prior to tax time. This helps them to schedule out an appropriate amount of time for you to meet and gives you plenty of time to gather the right documentation for your taxes.
Getting ready for Quarter 1 is time-consuming and sometimes a bit frustrating. But it’s one of those necessary parts of business that isn’t going to go away just because you ignore it. Like death and taxes, it’s a given. So give it the attention it needs so you can move forward with a successful 2018.
Need a checklist to help you get your life and business organized for next year? Grab my 2018 Biz & Books Planning guide here!