Year-end is a busy time for most businesses. Nonetheless, it’s worth taking some time out to plan properly for the coming year.
We offer an end-of-year checklist for small businesses, to help ensure you’re all set for the coming year.
End-of-year bookkeeping tasks
Reconcile accounts payable and receivable
Wherever possible, make sure all invoices that are still outstanding have been paid by your clients.
If you still owe money to suppliers, it makes sense to try and settle those accounts before the New Year, if you can.
Prepare year-end financial reports
Run the standard year-end financial reports including profit and loss statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement.
You can use these reports to see how well you did throughout the current year and plan for the coming year.
Get ahead with tax planning
A key task on any end-of-year checklist for small businesses is preparing for the tax season, which hits early in the new year.
Make sure all the necessary tax documents have been submitted to SARS and that nothing is outstanding in the lead-up to the tax season.
Touching base with customers and clients
Update media with your shutdown dates
Remember to update Google My Business, your website and other media with your business shutdown dates.
It may also be a good idea to give key clients a special contact number, in case they really need assistance.
Consider cards or business gifts for key clients
Cards or business gifts for special clients you know personally can strengthen your business relationships.
HR tasks, if you have employees
Calculate and pay bonuses
If you have staff and give year-end bonuses, they need to be calculated and paid out – and PAYE on those has to go to SARS.
Remember that if a bonus pushes an employee into a higher tax bracket, extra PAYE will be payable on what the employee has already been paid for the year.
Due to the holidays, salaries (and bonuses) are often paid earlier than usual in December.
Calculate leave days
It’s common to calculate and approve staff leave days before year-end.
If your business doesn’t shut down over the festive season, you may need to calculate (and record) staggered leave so that there is always someone on duty.
Update employee information
Many businesses like to take stock of their records towards year-end. Go through employee and supplier records and make sure everything is accurate and up to date.
Small business planning tasks
Reflect on your business strategy
Year-end is a good time to consider where your business is going and how you might want that to change. Take the time to get a “big picture” view.
Do you want to expand? Offer more services or products? Will you need more staff? A bigger office?
Review the goals you had for the past year against your actual achievements or profit. What goals did you achieve and how? Which didn’t get done and why?
This information will help you to set realistic goals for the next year.
Using information from the year’s reports, have a strategy planning session for the next year.
This should include things like a budget, financial goals, staff requirements, new suppliers, new services or products, marketing strategies and changes to procedure.
Business security and housekeeping tasks
Back-up computers and data
Backup all computers to external hard drives or cloud-based storage. Make sure sensitive data is secure and encrypted during this process.
Hard copies of documentation from the year should also be archived where applicable.
Check inventory, if relevant
Some businesses like to do a full inventory or stock take at year-end.
This results in more accurate year-end reports (in time for tax season). You can see any losses or shrinkage, which might affect your profits for the year.
Do a basic digital audit
It’s worth assessing monthly reports on your digital marketing efforts and web traffic throughout the year.
You can see what might need to change in the New Year with regards to your marketing strategy or online presence.
A quick tidy-up
A final item for your small business end-of-year checklist – before everyone heads off on holiday, make sure your office is in order. All paperwork should be filed, desks tidied and any perishables removed.
At The Workspace, we offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking, with friendly reception, free high-speed internet and a range of on-site business services. Find a branch near you for more information, call us on 0861 250 259 or contact us online.