Calendar Tips to Help Small Business Owners Prepare for Year End
Time is increasingly tight, the to-do list endlessly long, and attention tends to fracture just when you need to focus most. Check out these tips from SurePayroll to help you navigate important year-end tasks.
Whether your business is new or thoroughly entrenched in the marketplace, the last several weeks of the year can be hectic for small business owners. Time is increasingly tight, the to-do list endlessly long, and attention tends to fracture just when you need to focus most on critical year-end activities.
Take time now to tackle tasks that can help relieve year-end stress and set the stage for a smooth transition to the new year.
Focus on Your Employees
There are many employee-related tasks you’ll want to keep in mind as year-end approaches, including:
- Verify employee data. Make sure your employee data (contact information, bank records, etc.) is current.
- Boost employee engagement.Check in on your employees and understand how they are doing. Try to plan some activities to increase employee engagement at year-end and show your employees that their work has mattered and is appreciated.
- Coordinate final payroll and bonuses. Because there are so many holidays at the end of the year, your payroll schedule may need some adjusting. Bank holidaysmay change normal paydays and planning for bank holidays in advance will give you time to adjust payroll accordingly. Additionally, if you give year-end bonuses, remember that a bonus needs to be treated like any other paycheck with the appropriate payroll taxes withheld. In all cases, communicate with employees on any changes to regular pay dates and bonus pay dates.
- Complete performance reviews.Make sure you set aside plenty of time to prepare what you and your employees want to discuss during annual performance reviews instead of rushing through the process.
- Schedule holiday hours and coverage. Make sure employees are aware of any changes to normal business operations during the holidays, such as office/workplace closures or changes in hours. Coordinate with your staff how you plan to cover for team members who take vacation time to ensure critical operations are not impacted.
Keep Customers Updated
Customers are going through their own end-of-year activities. Take time to ensure you keep them well informed and are able to connect with them as needed.
- Verify contact information. Update any customer account data (addresses, billing contacts, email, etc.). Notify them of any changes to your contact information that may take place at the start of the new year.
- Confirm billing statements. Ensure your December statements are accurate (for both outstanding bills, payments, and credits) and encourage payment of open invoices within your terms so you can close your books with a complete financial picture.
- Publicize holiday hours and coverage. Make sure customers are aware of any changes to normal business operations during the holidays, such as office/workplace closures or changes in hours. If necessary, provide emergency numbers and email addresses with appropriate response times and have a plan to monitor messages to ensure you provide the necessary services your customers require.
- Leverage website and social media. If you have a website and use social media now is a good time to take stock of your accounts. Update your main image on your Facebook homepage and make sure your contact information is up to date. Clean up your Pinterest boards and delete any old or inactive pins. Swap out your pinned tweet on Twitter with an updated, on-trend tweet.
Re-visit Your Business Strategy
As this year winds down, it is always a good time to think about the future, especially when it comes to your business strategy. In assessing the previous year, you can identify strengths, as well as challenges and opportunities that will help you maximize your success for the upcoming year and beyond.
- Year-end assessments. Identify what you did well and areas you want to improve. It is important to engage with other stakeholders, such as employees or customers to get honest feedback and identify any blind spots you might have.
- Goals for next year and a roadmap to get there. What do you want to accomplish next year? Are there areas you want to grow or expand? New business markets you want to break into? Break it down by appropriate buckets (employees, customers, workspace/location, etc.) and identify what priorities to focus on both in the short and long-term. Assign responsibilities and intermediate deadlines for activities to get the ball rolling on new initiatives.
- Social media. Take inventory of social media accounts and develop a new or refine an existing social media strategy for the new year. How do you plan to create, and share your content and engage with customers that might be interested in your business? See what your customers engaged with this year and work to apply some of those same techniques this year.
Schedule Professional Services Appointments
As you look ahead to 2022, consider scheduling quarterly or semi-annual meetings with your accountant or bookkeeper if you don’t already have a regular meeting cadence. There are only so many hours in the day, and the workload for professional services providers increases significantly at year end. Book you time now to ensure your needs are met.
Clean Up Your Financials
Be sure connect with your accountant or bookkeeper in October or November, 2022 to review profits, losses, revenue, cash flow, and taxes. Since December can be a busy time, it’s good to make this appointment as early as possible so you can get everything ready for next year. If you run on a fiscal calendar, set a date several weeks before your year end. It’s also a good time to find any errors that you can correct before tax time. Topics to discuss during this meeting:
- Close your books. Pay any contracts or vendors in full before the end of the year and apply any payments to outstanding invoices. If possible, collect on any outstanding or past due invoices from customers.
- Begin tax preparation. Start preparing records for local, state, and federal taxes, both for you and your employees. You will also want to add up your estimated quarterly tax payments.
- Track COVID-19 Relief. Review any COVID relief measures you participated in or for which you were eligible, such as the Payroll Protection Plan, Employee Retention Tax Credit, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Make sure you have all information in order and received all the resources for which you are eligible.
While you execute your end-of-year planning and activities, be sure to document what you are doing, any checklists you create and due dates. Keep those handy as they will be a resource/starting point for next year’s end-of-year activities.
Approaching the end of the year can be daunting, but a steady, step-by-step, tactical approach can relieve the stress and stop any potential procrastination. And it will get you off and running on the new year and limit any lingering issues that carry over. Happy Holidays!
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This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. SurePayroll is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, SurePayroll. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If you require legal or accounting advice or need other professional assistance, you should always consult your licensed attorney, accountant or other tax professional to discuss your particular facts, circumstances and business needs.