End of the Year Business Checklist

As we get closer to the end of the year and starting a brand new year, a lot of business owners start thinking about what they need to do to tie up loose ends for from the past year to set themselves up for success in the upcoming new year. If that’s you, then read on for my End of the Year Business Checklist.

  1. Verify Information for Contractors. As the end of the year approaches, you want to make sure you verify the information for all of your independent contractors.  You’ll have to start preparing 1099s to send to your independent contractors early next year, so its best that you start now and make sure you have their mailing address, social security number or tax ID number, and the financial information you’ll need to send out those 1099s come January.
  2. Prepare for Taxes. A new year brings new taxes to file. (Woohoo!…not.) Start making sure you have everything in order for your CPA to make tax time as painless as possible.
  3. Hold Your Annual Meeting. If your state, your bylaws, or your operating agreement require that you have an annual meeting of the members or shareholders or owners, and you haven’t done that already, it’s probably time to start thinking about holding that annual meeting.
  4. Make a Budget. Now is a great time to start thinking about your budget for next year.  Putting down some numbers of what you expect to bring in, expenses that you know you’ll have or that you expect to have,  and making a plan of attack so you don’t end up way over-spending is a great idea and is something you can do now if you haven’t done already.
  5. Set Some Goals. Another way you can start planning for next year is to start writing down some of the goals for your business for next year. Goals are like a roadmap for your business; they let you know when your business is on track.
  6. Check Your Status with the Secretary of State. Now is a good time to check your status with the Secretary of State and make sure your business is still in good standing.  Maybe you forgot to file that Periodic Report that you are required to file every year? It’s okay, usually you can go back and fix that, no harm no foul.  But, go onto the Secretary of State’s website and double check that your company is still in good standing.
  7. Amend Your Articles of Organization/Incorporation. While you are on the Secretary of State’s website, you might as well think about whether or not you need to amend your Articles of Organization.  If your business name has changed, if your primary business location has moved, or you changed your registered agent, you can file Articles of Amendment to update that information.
  8. Consider an S Corporation. If your business is not already taxed as an S Corporation, now is a good time to start thinking about making the switch. After the new year, you have two and a half months to file paperwork to elect to be taxed as an S Corporation. If you haven’t already done so, talk to your CPA and determine if that is the right thing to do because the clock is going to start ticking and you will have a limited amount of time to do that next year.
  9. Review Your Contracts. Dust off all those old third-party contracts.  There’s a good chance some of them may have already expired or will be expiring. Now’s the be time to start thinking about if you can renegotiate some terms. Many contracts will automatically renew at the end of the contact term. You may need to give advanced written notice to the other party if you want to cancel the contract before it renews. Reviewing those contracts will help jog your memory as to the written notice that is necessary to cancel the contract.
  10. Schedule Meetings. Meet with your advisors, mentors, coaches, and anybody else who helps you with your business.  People like your CPA or accountant; you’ll want to get together with them soon to make sure that they have everything that they need so there won’t be any issues or questions that come up during tax time.  Meet with your attorney for assistance with reviewing your contracts, amending your Articles of Organization, or holding your annual meeting.

I know there is a lot going on towards the end of the year; holidays, family, travel, and the last thing you want to think about are all these loose ends that you need to keep an eye on with your business. But doing it now will put you in the best position to have a successful, prosperous next year.