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It is here – 2021 has arrived! I know many people felt like 2020 lasted forever.
Personally, the end of the year felt as though it was one gigantic holiday spanning from October until the beginning of January. So, I must admit I was ready to take down the decorations and look forward to another year of work and warmth.
I know, I know Spring is still months away but I gotta say I love the Summer months and the sunshine. I am that person who will start watching sand and surf movies in the winter and holiday movies in September. Crazy I know!
Let’s Start Talking End of the Year Checklist
So here we are in January and I am thinking of all the things I need to do to prepare for income taxes.
I am going to start off by saying that income taxes do not go smoothly without the help of good bookkeeping practices in place.
Income taxes are a collection of all your income and expenses. An income statement also known as your profit and loss statement, is a breakdown of all your income and expenses. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Your entire year of bookkeeping is basically tasks that take place for the finale, which is income taxes. With a proper bookkeeping practice in place, the end of year income tax filing will be easier.
I have many other posts that elaborate on bookkeeping itself, but today I want to discuss a checklist of important tasks you should complete for your small business at the end of the year.
Before we get started let me remind you to sign up for my free Bookkeeping Simplified Guide. My Bookkeeping Simplified Guide includes free access to my method on how to put your bookkeeping on a schedule.
Run an aging report. Accounts receivable is the amount of money that your customers or clients owe you for the goods or services you provided.
The aging report will give you a list of individuals or companies who have unpaid balances.
It is good practice to collect on those accounts who owe your business money. I suggest running aging reports monthly or quarterly.
This task will allow you to add additional cash flow to your business and ensure you are capturing income due.
Complete a review of your inventory and adjust where necessary.
Not only does an inventory count give you an accurate total for your business income, but it allows you to investigate if there are discrepancies between sales and recorded inventory.
Another benefit to an annual inventory check is to determine what products are selling faster and what products are becoming obsolete in your business.
Just like many other processes, it is a good idea to conduct an inventory count quarterly to prevent discrepancies in your record keeping.
Check for Payroll Corrections
Confirm there have been no changes or adjustments for payroll.
Prior to the W2 forms being sent out to your employees, make sure all address changes have been entered and are up to date for mailing purposes.
Double check all corrections to payroll and benefits have been made for your employees. It is easy to forget about reimbursements, mileage, and other benefits.
Of course, it is smart to make any changes immediately but double check nothing has been missed now before sending out W2 forms.
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Check W9 Forms
W9 forms are your 1099 forms. A reminder – all 1099 forms are sent out by January 31st.
The W9 form is used when a business pays a contractor $600 or more.
Like W2 information, you want to make sure that the information on the original W9 form is correct before mailing out the 1099 forms.
Reconcile all your business accounts for the year.
When one of your accounts does not reconcile for the month you automatically know there is an error somewhere in your recordkeeping.
By correcting the problem right away you eliminate future issues or corrections. Therefore, at the end of the year make sure all the business accounts reconcile throughout the year.
Analyze and review the business income statement and balance sheet.
While reviewing your statements check for any expenses not in a category or in a wrong category. Also, check for larger items you have depreciated or can possibly depreciate.
Make note of any questions or concerns you can talk to your tax adviser or CPA about.
If you are using a software program like QuickBooks, you can easily run a Trial Balance to catch any debits or credits that do not balance.
Backup and Update All Company Files
Keep a backup of all your company files including customers, vendors, contacts, etc. It is best practice to backup all important data for your company documents, information, and valuable emails.
This might mean keeping them on an external hard drive, printing a hard copy, or creating a second digital copy.
Don’t forget that the backup information you keep needs to be current and old or outdated information needs to be purged or archived.