The end of the year is fast-approaching. And, most of the people are already on holiday mode. But you, as business owners, do you also go on a holiday mode and let the year-end sort itself out? On where do you channel your focus to, your Christmas list?
We know that responsible business owners like you will also see to it that your business will be able to sustain its operations as it transitions to the new year. Thus, you ensure that the necessary actions are taken and complied with.
So, if you still are in a quandary as to what you need to do as the end of the year is looming, we came up with a to-do list that can help you close your year and begin the next with a clean slate.
1. Settle Financial Obligations For The Year
Financial obligations here is not confined to the financing you acquired from banks or other financial institutions. It covers all that you have agreed, by way of contract, to pay within the year. These include employees’ benefits and bonuses, bills from suppliers and service providers, utilities, taxes and other liabilities.
As part of settling your obligations, you also have to check your compliance to the terms of the contracts you have entered into with various stakeholders. This is to see that your business did not breach any provisions where your business can be penalized. And, most often, your business can be penalized monetarily if violations of the contract are present.
2. Review Financial Performance
This review is more than just a mere compliance to federal and state laws that require businesses to come-up with year-end financial records. It is more than just filing the said records with the appropriate government bodies.
Your financial records (Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Cashflow Statement, Annual Report, etc.) must be able to tell you the story of how your business fared for the year. You do a thorough review and analysis of your business’ profitability, cash generation, liquidity and solvency.
This will also allow you to give an in-depth and accurate report that you are due to give to your investors, employees, colleagues and other stakeholders.
3. Meet with Accountant, Bookkeeper or Financial Advisor
If you are not a finance person who can easily tie the numbers into your financial story you would probably need all the help from your accountant, bookkeeper or your financial advisor. They can explain how one statement relates to another. Some questions that need to be explained can be, “What are the factors that drove the increase in sales?”; “Why did we incur an extraordinary expense?” and others.
They also help you prepare the necessary forms and documents that pertain to taxes and other records that you need to submit to regulatory bodies as compliance to state laws.
4. Review product listings and performance
The year-end is a good opportunity to review your product listings in whatever platform you are in and how they are doing in the market. You see which among your products generated top revenues and those that only do fairly well then do the necessary optimization to improve the ranking of your products.
This will be a good time to optimize your listing, the keywords to use or to include an enhanced brand content.
5. Update your customer or client list
There are possibilities that there might be changes in your customers’ contact information and other pertinent details. Ensure that these are up to date to keep your customer database current.
You can also do market prospecting to expand your database and initiate a possible expansion to potential lucrative market.
6. Review accomplishment of your business versus target
One way to check your business’ performance is to determine if you have realized the targets you have set at the start of the year. Have you realized your sales target? Did you overspend? Which aspect of your operations realized beyond target?
The accomplishment report will then serve as your basis to know what you did and did not do that resulted to the numbers you realized. This will also guide you in setting realizable targets (neither too conservative nor too optimistic) for the next year based on the current year’s actual performance and the trend in the previous years.
7. Set new goals for the new year
Setting the direction to where your business shall go will help you a great deal in planning your courses of action for the new year. How many new products are you going to launch? Is it ripe to expand your operations to new marketplaces?
These goals should not be an exclusive information to you as the business owner. These should be disseminated to your management team down to your staff. All actions must be aligned and in sync – teamwork must be manifested.
Start The Year With a Clean Slate
The end of the current year should be taken more seriously than just merely closing or ending. It is a major part of the beginning of the new year. If every business owner embraces the desire to start another with a clean slate, the motivation to further the growth is greater. No baggage and pending obligations to carry.
We hope that in a way this to-do list for the year-end can help you as you transition to another year of growth and expansion. If you have other things that you yourselves do, you may share so we can add them to the list.