As we approach the end of the year, it’s a great time for small business owners to take stock and do some business housekeeping. Your business is likely preparing to wind down for the holiday break, so with a little planning now, you can get everything sorted out and not worry about what you’re coming back to in the new year!
Here’s a checklist of things to do before the year finishes:
Stay current – When was the last time you updated all of your software? Are you getting the most out of the software you currently use? Antiquated systems often result in time (and money!) drains for your business, so taking the time now to investigate and plan for any upgrades is ideal.
Reconcile your books – It’s never a favorite task, but even if your financial year end isn’t December, it’s always good practice to get reconciliations done before people start taking time off for the holidays. After all, if you need to query an expense with an employee, you want them to be around to speak to, and it’s even more important if you have a year-end audit in January.
One way to save time on reconciliations is to use the Bento prepaid debit card for employee expenses. The real time visibility and reporting capabilities means you’re not waiting on statements and expense reports every month.
Declutter – Get rid of old papers, files and anything else you don’t need anymore (bearing in mind how long you should be keeping certain financial documents as required by law or the IRS) by archiving or shredding, and yes, that includes the filing cabinet in the corner of the office! Do some deep cleaning (including steam cleaning carpets), so your premises are ready for the new year.
Employee housekeeping – Now is a good time to look back over your employees’ performance over the year. Use the year-end time to conduct performance appraisals and decide who deserves a promotion or a pay raise, or even a demotion. Hopefully you won’t need to make any tough firing decisions, but if there are employees in the disciplinary process, make sure that everything is documented.
Look to the future – Looking forward to the upcoming year is a great opportunity to think about what your business really needs for the future. How successful is your branding? Does it need to be revised, or your marketing strategy tweaked? What about your business structure, and even the physical space you occupy? It may be that you’re starting to outgrow your space, in which case you’ll need to start planning ahead for ways to expand. All of these are decisions you can start thinking about now, in time for the New Year.