Year End Checklist for Small Business

2018 is drawing to a close. The Alliant Business Systems team hopes you’re looking back on a successful and prosperous year. We also hope that you’re already laying the groundwork to make 2019 your best year yet. A simple end of year business checklist can help you get your financial and legal affairs in order, better understand the trends driving your business, capitalize on opportunities, and make key changes that will ensure long-term profitability, so let’s jump right in.

Small Business Accounting

This is the time to review your balance sheet, your income statement, and your cash flow statement. These key documents will help you get a handle on the financial health of your business, your overall profitability (or loss), and the increase or decrease in receipts year-over-year. Use this as an opportunity to adjust profit margins, debt ratios, and other key performance indicators, as well as getting ready for tax time.

Get the Big Picture

At the end of last year, you probably set goals for your business in 2018. Now that you’ve gone over your accounting, it’s time to revisit those goals and see how this year’s performance measured up. You’ll be in a better position to evaluate how realistic those goals are, and what changes you’ll need to make to your expenses, tax strategies, and other areas as a result. This will also give you time to acquire business credit to bring your long-term goals into reach.

Update Key Information

Your relationships with vendors may have changed over the course of the year, with new ones being added and older ones falling by the wayside. Your employees’ information may likewise have changed due to promotions, marriages, new additions to the family, or retirements. Permissions and access may need to be expanded or restricted, withholding updated, or contact information changed. Make sure this information is up-to-date.

Review Your Marketing

The change from one year to another is a good time to audit your marketing and your website. That means checking your website to ensure the information is up-to-date, that all links are working, and that your copy reflects your mission and values. It also means evaluating your outreach on social media and through more traditional channels to ensure you aren’t throwing good money after bad.

Create Backups

You may be in the business of manufacturing products or providing services, but you’re in another business as well, whether you intended to be or not: data creation. Businesses create and receive a ridiculous amount of data daily without even realizing it:

  • Accounts payable and accounts receivable
  • Inventory
  • Purchase orders and invoices
  • Tax and payroll information
  • Bills
  • Contracts
  • Calendars
  • App data
  • …and much more

Some of this data is required to be retained by law. Other data should be retained as a best practice. All of it, without exception, should be backed up and stored securely so it’s accessible in the event of an audit or legal issue. Redundant backups — both on and off-site — should also be used in the event of a catastrophe, and you should be looking into GDPR compliance if you’re doing business overseas.

Speak to Your Professionals

This is also a good time to look ahead. Your year-end planning isn’t just about looking back, after all, it’s about looking forward. Planning an expansion? Small business financing can help, as can a business credit consultation. Speak to your accountant about tax mitigation strategies for the year ahead. And review key contracts, your corporate structure, and other legal concerns with your lawyer to ensure everything is aligned with where your business is now, as well as where you’re going. A call to Alliant Business Systems should be on your year-end list to get your new year started right!