Most people spend the last month of the year planning for the holidays. But for
entrepreneurs, this is the best time to take stock of this year's results and plan for a
successful new year.
If you're wondering where to start, try this year-end business checklist.
1. Catch up on bookkeeping.
Bookkeeping tends to take a back seat to all the other day-to-day responsibilities of
running a business. If you've fallen behind on your bookkeeping, take some time now to
get caught up.
Make sure you've accurately tracked all your income and expenses. This will give you a
more accurate idea of your profit for the year and ensure you can write off all eligible expenses.1
2. Meet with your accountant.
The end of the year is also a good time to sit down with your accountant or tax
professional to discuss year-end business planning.
Many people wait until tax time to meet with their accountant, but that can be a mistake.
By meeting with your accountant before the year ends, you can estimate your taxes for
the year, make moves in the current tax year to reduce your tax bill, and start planning
for next year.
3. Prepare for year-end financial reporting.
Even if your bookkeeping gives you a good sense of how your business is doing, you
may need to complete more formal year-end financial reports for creditors, financial
institutions, investors, shareholders, and government agencies.
Developing a budget is essential for planning and executing business goals in the
upcoming year. But doing it right takes time. You need to gather information, set shortand long-term goals, crunch numbers, make projections, get feedback, and finalize your
Waiting until January to start this process puts you behind schedule. Getting started
now gives you more leeway to create a budget that will sustain your business in the
5. Plan to renew essential licenses.
Depending on your business structure, industry, and location, you may have several
licenses to renew each year: operating licenses, fire department permits, health
licenses, tax registrations, and occupational or professional licenses -- just to name a
Don't risk license renewals getting lost in the mail or forgotten in a stack of paperwork.
This can result in hefty fines and penalties. Plan for them now by adding a reminder to
your calendar or setting them up to renew automatically.
6. Plan your year-end inventory count.
Even if you use an inventory management system throughout the year, only a physical
inventory count can assess what you actually have on hand and ensure it matches
what's in your system.
Year-end is a great time to perform a physical inventory count so you can detect
(i.e., a reduction in inventory due to damage, miscounts, or theft). It can also
help you project your inventory needs for next year and identify unwanted merchandise
to sell at a discount or donate.
7. Assess your cybersecurity.
It might not show up on a balance sheet, but data is one of the most valuable assets
your business owns. And hackers, viruses, physical disasters, and malfunctions can
cause it to be lost forever.
Educate yourself and your employees on common cybersecurity threats like phishing,
malware, viruses, and ransomware and take steps to protect your business' data from
Things change. Customers have different needs, new trends and technologies emerge,
and your business plan needs to change with them. The end of the year is the perfect
time to take a fresh look at your existing plan to review your value proposition and look
for new opportunities. This ensures your business keeps up with the times -- a
necessary ingredient for long-term success.
By working through this checklist, you can finish the year strong while laying a
foundation for a profitable year ahead.
Looking for other ways to grow your business? Synovus is here to help. Visit your local
branch to ask about business loans and lines of credit designed to help you grow.
Important disclosure information
This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.
John E. Discala, "5 Reasons Why Bookkeeping Should Be a Priority ," Inc., published August 13, 2018,
accessed October 15, 2020.
Janet Berry-Johnson, "Financial Statements 101," Bench, published January 15, 2020, accessed October
Corporate Finance Institute, "Inventory Shrinkage," accessed October 15, 2020.
Sean Peek, "4 Best Cloud Backup Strategies to Protect Your Data ," U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
published December 9, 2019, accessed October 15, 2020.
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