Each year, there are a few standard end-of-year tasks to complete. Right now, commit time on each Friday during January to work through the checklist until you are all finished.
Count your inventory.
If you sell or make products, take an inventory of all products or raw materials on hand at the turn of the year. If you use a cloud-based point of sale system, it’s extra important to write down the end of year inventory total on January 1. Most POS systems only keep a running (current) inventory total. If you forget to write it down now, you’ll have to figure backwards from all purchases and sales (not a fun job.)
Run accounting reports.
Run year-end financial reports as PDFs. Yes, you should do an export of the data in your accounting system’s backup format or CSV in case of data loss during the year. But accounting services change. If you need data from a few years back, it will be easier to look at a PDF report that summarizes the data you need without having to take the old CSV, re-import, reformat, clean up, then run a report.
Here are the key year-end reports to run off:
- Profit and Loss, Jan 1 – Dec 31
- Balance Sheet, dated Jan 1 and another dated Dec 31
- Detail of every transaction, Jan 1 – Dec 31
- Payroll tax details for each employee, Jan 1 – Dec 31
If you use Square, Paypal, Dwolla or online banking for business, make sure you have downloaded a PDF report of all transactions for the year. Your bank may restrict how long statements are available, so download all of last year’s bank statements now. Download copies of utility bills, credit card statements, insurance bills, supplier invoices, tax filings and any other online financial data.
Download cloud files.
Many small businesses are relying on cloud solutions for collaboration, invoicing, email, and other key functions. Review your cloud services, and download copies of all critical files and data. Include Google Drive/Docs, Office365, iCloud, Evernote, DropBox, Freshbooks, payroll, password management, point of sale and any other cloud services you use. Make a list of your current cloud services to make this task easier again next year.
Run off your calendar.
Your business calendar documents your travel, meetings and more related to your work. It is a vital business record. Save a PDF report of your entire year. You will have to break it down by month or by week, or even by day, in order to make all the detail visible. If you use a paper planner, set a consistent and secure location to keep the old calendars available for at least 5 years running.
Record end of year mileage.
If you use your vehicle for business, write down your mileage at the end of the year. This provides an important baseline for your mileage records all year long. I always put this on my calendar so I can find it easily.
Backup your phone.
If you lost your phone today, you’d still have access to the cloud data you use on it, but what about your photos? Don’t rely on the iPhone’s My Photo Stream, as that only includes the last 1,000 photos. I have a Seagate external drive that backs up my smartphone photos over wifi. Also think through any other data you may have created and stored on your phone and no where else. Back up those files as well.
Backup your files.
You’ve just collected a lot of critical financial data for your business. Don’t risk losing those files. Assemble all these files into a single folder dated with the year. Send a copy to a cloud backup such as Box or DropBox, keep a copy on an external hard drive separate from your computer, and keep another copy on your computer’s hard drive.
Do you have any special end-of-year items you do in your business? Add them in the comments.
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Tracy Brown says
Hi Becky – I hope you’ve been enjoying the holidays?
All of your suggestions in this post are great! I have one to add (because I just did this today and it’s on my radar). ;-)
If your business subcontracts, make sure those individuals have provided you with updated W-9 forms. Forms like the 1099 / 1096 must be filed by (I believe) the end of February 2015.
Here’s to a joyful, successful, and profitable 2015!
Becky McCray says
Thanks, Tracy. 1099s are another important end of year task. I think we’ll ask our resident tax expert Maesz to do an updated 1099 instruction post!
Cheers to you in 2015,