Preparing for year-end finances shouldn’t only be about taxes. It is a perfect time to prepare your business for the holiday rush and begin business planning to meet your financial goals. Follow our 3 tips to prepare your business for the holidays and then use our year-end checklist to start off the new year with clean books.
How to Prepare Your Business for the 2021 Holiday Rush
Here are 3 tips to prepare your business for the 2021 holiday rush:
Run a historical report of September through November sales for your most popular holiday items. The year-over-year comparison will offer a good indicator of existing customers’ normal buying behavior.
Worried about your supply-chain? Raise your prices, and ditch the discounts. It may seem counter-intuitive, but this year you have both inflation and supply-chain issues to combat. It makes sense to recover losses from the potential inability to restock inventory by skipping the holiday discount promos.
Finally, bundle slower selling items with some of your top sellers to get inventory moving and to increase sales.
A Year-End Financial Checklist
Now that you’re ready for the “merriest time of year,” below is a refresher of our year-end checklist with a few new additions. Following along with this financial checklist will have you books squeaky clean for whatever business resolutions you’ve made.
Every company should have a few key reports that they run for year-end:
- Run a profit and loss (P&L) report by business line to know exactly where you stand before the holiday season/year end;
- Use your balance sheet to get a snapshot of your assets and liabilities and compare to the prior year, looking for major or unexpected differences in account balances;
- Run aging reports for both accounts receivable and payable to know what will be booked for the prior year that might only show up the following month; and
- Review your financials in conjunction with any bank loan covenants to ensure you won’t violate any terms of your loan agreement.
Don’t wait until the last minute to look after staff, payroll and personnel year-end loose ends:
- Decide if, and how much, employees will receive for year-end bonuses;
- Tie up any expense reimbursement loose ends; and
- Make sure you know how much 401(k) match or safe harbor will be owed after year end.
Loose Ends and Review
Look after all the loose ends ahead of time so you are not scrambling at the last minute:
- Ensure your inventory is up to date ahead of the busy holiday season; for example, to know if you should offer a bundles sale like we mentioned above in order to clear out an overstock of inventory, or if you have sold-out items;
- Have your accounting team review your expenses to confirm everything is appropriately allocated;
- Review your reconciliations and be sure they are up to date before the holiday crunch time;
- Ensure you have all the W-9 and contractor information you need so you or your accounting team are ready for processing 1099s; and
- Decide if the current year should be locked in your accounting system after December close to prevent changes to the prior year’s finances.
Budgeting and Goal-Setting
If you haven’t already, begin planning your budget for the following year:
- Perform your company health check and set your financial goals for the upcoming year
- Use these essential questions for each stage of budgeting and forecasting: Creating, reviewing and revising.
- Take into account any budget variances you saw in the current year.
Check with your tax advisor to see what needs to be done to maximize savings and minimize your tax burden:
- Ask your tax advisor which additional reports you should have prepared ahead of time to make your tax season seamless;
- Donate money: It provides tax savings, and it will leave you feeling great;
- Learn which tax law changes might affect you; and
- Use up your end-of-the-year budgets; this can help maximize your deductions for the current tax year.
Whenever you are preparing for year end, don’t forget to also prepare for the year ahead. Set up all the accounts, files and folders you will need for the new year, ahead of your first month end close. January is a busy month regardless so the more prepared you can be, the better. Last but not least, if you don’t have one already, start a “Questions/Year End List” that you can refer back to at this time every year.
Get in touch for more help preparing your business for year-end.