Making a List and Checking It Twice
The countdown is on. While visions of shopping lists, holiday decorating, and get-togethers may be dancing in your head, the countdown we’re referring to is year-end. If your business is on a calendar fiscal year, you know there’s a lot to do before the stroke of midnight on December 31. So, we’ve put together an end of year prep checklist of both “necessary” and “recommended” activities to help ensure that you sail smoothly into 2020.
- Prepare a fiscal year-end trial balance.
- Review your profit and loss statement.
- Evaluate performance against your metrics/goals. If there’s a significant gap, explore actions to minimize it before year-end.
Assess and adjust financial accounts
- Reconcile your bank accounts, credit cards, and money accounts. Make sure balances are equal to year-end statements.
- Make any journal entry adjustments as necessary, such as depreciation expenses or new fixed assets.
- Clear out Accounts Payable. Capture expenses in 2019 by paying your vendors and contractors before the end of the year. While you’re at it, make sure that you have W-9s from those vendors/contractors who are not incorporated and to whom you paid more than $600 in 2019. It might also be a good time to make sure your vendor/contractor records are current.
- Closeout temporary accounts (profit and loss accounts and dividend accounts) to Retained Earnings (or your company’s equity account).
Tackle tax obligations
- Run a year-end report of taxable sales and confirm that all the sales tax required of your company have been paid.
- Confirm that year-end payroll expenses match up with monthly payroll taxes in order to prepare the annual IRS Form 940.
- Prepare records for local, state and federal payroll.
- Deliver W-2 forms to employees no later than January 31; include accrued bonuses or special gifts.
Align with Advisors
- Schedule a meeting with your bookkeeper and accountant for a 2019 review of your anticipated financial results.
- Check-in with your financial advisor to find out if there are any beneficial financial moves you can take before the end of the year.
- Review insurance policies, coverages, and rates with your insurance providers to ensure coverages still meets your needs and that premiums are competitive.
Generate Goals for 2020
- After you looked at where you’ve been, set some new goals for the coming year. If this feels like a big task, break it into chunks. e.g. Do you want to set a higher revenue goal? Are there some capital improvements you’d like to make? Can you keep expenses the same, or do you need to increase the budget?
- When you have an idea of what 2020 might look like, prepare an initial monthly budget and cash flow projection.
If this list feels a little overwhelming, don’t worry, we have some financial “elves” you can enlist to help you put a check in every box.
By using this end of year prep list and checking it twice, you’ll give yourself the gift of a smart start to 2020.