Year end checklist for a small business

by Debbie Gilster

in Financial Management,Time Management

Year-End Checklist

Because many of you have asked, here are some things every small business should look at as the year end approaches and also to close out the year.

Things to do before December 31

  • Look at your Profit & Loss report. Where do you stand? If you have a larger than expected profit, are there any major purchases you should make now that can be depreciated? Make sure you have the cash. Talk to your accountant if you are not clear of the depreciation rules. 
  • Verify loan accounts and cleanup them up if necessary.
  • Verify your 1099 information is setup properly in your accounting system. If you don’t have proper information from each vendor, ask for it now, then create a form to use every year. Need help making this happen in QuickBooks? Just ask us.
  • Begin to think about year end bonuses or special gifts. Will you give these this year or in January? It depends when you write the check.
  • Look for fringe benefits you should report on W-2’s. Some of these could include health & life insurance, transportation subsidies, moving expense reimbursements, educational reimbursement programs, and employee loans you’ve forgiven.
  • Take a physical inventory of your products and make adjustments in your accounting system as necessary.
  • Write a list of all the company’s major accomplishments for the year. Be prepared to share this with your staff, they will appreciate it.
  • Write out your goals and plans for the next year.
  • Create budgets for the next year if you work on a calendar year fiscal basis.
  • Check all of the links on your website to make sure they are active.

After January 1st

  • Reconcile all accounts – bank and credit cards – in your accounting system.
  • Verify you’ve made all entries in Petty Cash. If you made the purchases last year, make sure to use that date.
  • Verify you’ve made all entries for items you’ve paid for with personal funds.
  • Print year end reports. At a minimum you should have a Profit & Loss Statement and a Balance Sheet. I also like to see Customer Sales figures sorted by total dollars so I know who my largest customers were.
  • Make depreciation entries (may need help from your accountant). You should have the following information on each item: date of purchase, purchase price, make, model, serial number, year, and whether it is new or used.
  • Make any adjusting entries for accruals of payroll tax liabilities or pre-paid expenses (get help from your accountant).
  • Print and mail payroll forms if you do it yourself (W-2, W-3, 940, 941).
  • Print and mail 1099’s to independent contractors (by 1/31). Don’t wait in case there is an error.
  • Print and mail 1096 to IRS (by 2/28).

See, not so hard when you have a list!

(This article was first posted in 2005.)

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Jacob Bøtter
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Stephen Tucciarone December 30, 2013 at 6:15 am

…..a very good list……….and update your web sites and social media. Review and update your marketing and advertising plans and make sure you allot time for your family and friends in the New year. Review your vendors and providers and score them. Get rid of dead wood and since it’s a New Year…..bring in the New.


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