Most small businesses have their fiscal year run concurrent to the calendar year. As such, and as we approach the end of the calendar year, now is a good time to begin evaluating a number of business-related functions that aren’t usually thought of during the year.
Within a few short months, the tax return will be due. Tax planning can be an invaluable tool for the individual and for the business, especially if you end the year with a big profit! Now is the time to begin discussions and developing plans with your CPA or tax advisor for next year. Decisions made now can help ensure that you are minimizing your tax liability.
Another item to look at is insurance. Has your business grown? Does your coverage adequately account for your business growth? Of course, we are primarily talking about property, asset, and liability coverage here. It is a good idea to take inventory of your coverage and review it with your insurance agent to make sure you are adequately protecting your business and investors.
If you have been thinking about getting or updating your accounting software, now would be the time to do it. You can begin the year with the new software and not have to do any inordinate amount of work such as having to enter multiple months of transactions in order to have the full year in the new software because you waited till June!
The New Year is also a good time to review employee job descriptions and handbooks to make sure they are up to date and reflect your current policies and the law. If you don’t have documented job descriptions or handbooks, it is a good time to develop them!
Additionally, the year-end is a good time to go back and review the successes and failures of the year. The big question to ask is “Why?” Why did that project fail? Or, why did it succeed? Why did it exceed expectations? What could have been done differently or better to ensure a different or better outcome?
Finally, after you have completed all of the above, take a moment to pat your employees and yourself on the back just a little. You have worked hard and small celebrations that say “Thank you” and “I appreciate you” do wonders for morale and set you up for another good year! Study after study has shown that employees desire appreciation and recognition. This leads to job satisfaction and happy customers! Happy customers lead to profitability! Here’s hoping your year end is great and your next year is even greater!
“Business Tips” was written by James Leavelle, Business Development Specialist and Senior Certified Business Advisor of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact him at James.Leavelle@angelo.edu.