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4 Items Your Business Should Review Before Year’s End


Jeffrey Bumbales

With the year winding down, it’s a great time to tackle some housekeeping duties that you may have been putting off. Having a simple checklist to follow can help you complete your most important tasks before December is out. As you get ready for the countdown to the new year, here’s where you should be directing your attention.

1. Tax Prep and Planning

The April tax filing season may seem far away but it’s never too soon to begin thinking about it, especially with the new tax laws that took effect in 2018. As you review your business’s tax situation, consider:

  • How much you’ve paid in taxes throughout the year in quarterly estimated payments, if applicable
  • What you’ve incurred in deductible expenses over the year
  • Additional deductions you may be able to claim before year’s end
  • Any credits your business you may be eligible for

Paying close attention to opportunities to deduct expenses is particularly important since those reduce taxable income. If your business needs some new equipment, for example, you may consider financing the purchase before January 1st to snag an extra deduction.

Related: When Are Small Business Taxes Due? It Depends on the Type of Business You Operate

2. Cash Flow and Accounts Receivable/Payable

A positive cash flow is crucial to your business success and you can’t skip a thorough review of the books before the year ends.

Go over your accounts receivable to see which invoices remain unpaid. If you’ve already begun the tax planning process, consider whether it makes sense to defer pursuing payment of those until after the first of the year. Doing so could allow you to postpone paying taxes on that income until the next tax year, which may be helpful if you’re facing a large tax bill even after you’ve maximized deductions.

Next, review your accounts payable. If you have invoices that are past due, check your cash flow to see if those can be resolved before the year ends. Alternately, you could look into a short term loan to cover those obligations if you’re waiting on clients or customers to make good on outstanding invoices.

Related: 7 Ways to Manage and Increase Your Small Business Cash Flow

3. Online Account Security

If the past year brought some personnel changes, with new employees coming onboard and others making an exit, it’s wise to review who still has access to your business’s online accounts and systems. Check your records to make sure you’ve disabled the usernames and passwords of any former employees for things like your social media accounts, team/project management tools, email accounts, and payroll software.

While you’re at it, check when the most recent password update for these types of accounts occurred. If it’s been more than 90 days since you’ve updated your passwords or required your employees to do so, add that to your year-end list. Advise employees on how to choose secure and unique passwords by incorporating a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

4. Business Goals

Setting goals can give you clarity on what direction you’d like to take with your business. As you wrap up your year-end review, look back on the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Did you achieve each one? If not, what was the reason? Were there any areas in which you exceeded your expectations?

Next, think about the goals that are on the horizon. Maybe you’d like the new year to be growth-focused, for example. Achieving that goal might involve opening a new location, hiring additional staff, or expanding your products and services. Make your goals as specific as possible, then outline individual steps you’ll need to take to realize each one.

Consider how Credibly can help you meet your goals. A business expansion loan, for instance, can provide the capital you need to embark on the new year confidently.

Author Bio:

Rebecca Lake

Rebecca Lake is a financial journalist covering small business, investing, and personal finance. Her work has appeared online at U.S. News and World Report, Investopedia, The Balance, and Lendio. She also works with top banking and insurance brands, including Citibank, Ally, Discover Bank, and AIG.