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As you wrap up gifts for loved ones, you might be considering what else needs to be done to wrap up your business for the year. This year-end accounting checklist can help you confidently cruise into the holiday season, leaving you ready to make a splash in the new year.
It’s tempting to push accounting and bookkeeping tasks into next year, but by the end of January, you’ll wish that you had prepared a little bit more so you can focus on the future rather than rehashing the past. January also marks the kick-off of tax season. So the best thing you can do for a happy business new year is get those accounting tasks done and ready for your accountant.
No matter your business size, you can knock many of these tasks off your list on your own. Should you find that your bookkeeping has become an overwhelming source of stress and frustration (or it’s getting a little too complex), 2024 might be the year you give yourself the gift of outsourcing your bookkeeping.
Let’s get started!
Take a look at your “big three” accounting reports: income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement for accuracy. Highlight any inaccuracies or missing information.
This will give you a place to start if you have discrepancies you need to investigate. It will also give you a great picture of your business’s overall financial health.
You won’t get far if your books aren’t up to date. Take the time to reconcile bank statements, credit card statements, and any other financial accounts.
Make sure that your accounting records match the actual transactions. This will affect your financial reporting and your tax preparation so get those books nice and tidy.
Year-end is the time for inventory! Whether you create physical products or you have supplies to run a service-based business, take a look at your inventory and supplies. Understanding what you have and what you may need can help with your financial forecasts for next year.
You can also adjust your inventory if there are any discrepancies.
Chasing down unpaid invoices is never fun, but it is essential you are able to collect as many as possible before the end of the year. The best way to avoid unpaid invoices is to send invoices promptly, automate reminders, and offer convenient ways to pay.
The same goes for your own bill payments. Make sure you are up to date on all your own vendor payments.
This one can be slightly more complex. Depreciation is a method used to allocate the cost of tangible assets (those with a finite useful life) over time. This might include: buildings, equipment, vehicles, computers, furniture, and intangible assets (like patents) just to name a few.
You’ll want to update and calculate depreciation on all fixed assets.
Tax laws and regulations vary by location, so it’s crucial to stay informed and seek professional advice to ensure accurate depreciation accounting and compliance with tax regulations.
How did you fair with your budget this year? Take some time to evaluate your expenses and income and what next year will look like.
Adjust your budget for next year based on what you learn. Did make a budget? Now’s the time to create a smart budget for next year. A budget can help you make smarter business decisions and avoid excessive spending.
Get your questions into your CPA before the tax season mania begins. They can help you identify potential deductions and credits. Plus, they can advise you what else you need to do to be ready for tax season April.
If your financial reports are all up to date, you can use this time to ask for feedback about the financial health of your business.
Get yourself organized before the new year by properly categorizing and storing financial documents from the past year. Make sure you have the proper documentation for any large purchases or important transactions.
Now that you’ve got all your financial documentation up to date and organized, you should be ready in case of an audit. Ask your CPA for additional help preparing if needed.
Assess if you need to hire anyone in the next year and how you might prepare for that person.
Reviewing contracts with vendors, clients, and employees can actually help you save money in the new year. Make sure that you are getting the best deal or reach out if contract terms need to changed.
You can also update your own contracts with clients for the new year.
Check in on your insurance policies and that you are properly insured. If you need to, shop around for better deals. If your business has grown or changed, update your policies.
Software subscriptions can sneak under the radar if you aren’t careful. Make sure you are actually using the subscriptions you have and asses if you need to upgrade any of your current subscriptions.
How’s your accounting and invoicing software performing? If you need a simpler version in your life, we know the best simplified accounting software out there.
This can be one of the most fun parts of prepping your business for the new year. With your updated financial information, you should be able to make some great goals for next year. Where can you cut costs? How can you bring in more revenue? Should you expand your team or services?
Break your goals into small, measurable steps to keep you on track. Whether you need to save for new equipment or you are ready to scale your business, keep your goals realistic and clear.
We hope this year-end accounting checklist helps you tackle the big items on your to-do list so you can go into the holidays and new year with more confidence as a business owner. Should you need more help with accounting, bookkeeping, or more, click below.