This time of year can be hectic for small business owners. Therefore, it can be tempting to pay attention to nothing but getting through the holidays and to put off everything else until the beginning of the new year. Nevertheless, there are some things that it may be good for you to do before the end of 2016.
Post Your Holiday Schedule
Let your customers know what your schedule is going to be over the holidays so that they know when you are open for business. This helps you maximize business while avoiding customer frustration.
Confer with Your Support Team
This may be your bookkeeper, accountant, attorney, key staff, and/or family members. Confer with them about what needs to be done.
Catch Up Bills & Bookkeeping
Many small business owners struggle to keep up with the paperwork that goes along with being in business. Paying bills before the end of the year will enable you to take those deductions on this year’s taxes. Getting caught up on accounts will make starting the new year easier plus give you the opportunity to do some last minute tax planning.
Do End of Year Tax Planning
Once you are caught up on your bookkeeping, run off reports. You may need to confer with your accountant. Take a look at your estimated earnings and tax payments. Were the estimates accurate or does it look like you will need to pay additional taxes? Have you made this year’s retirement account contributions? Do you need additional deductions this year?
Reinvest in Your Business
Are there business property purchases that you have been wanting to make, but have put off? Having caught up on your bookkeeping and started end of the year tax planning, evaluate whether investing in a new computer or vehicle for your business – or some big item that you have been needing – makes sense at this time rather than waiting for the new year.
Make Donations to Charity
Helping those in need and making donations to responsible charities is a good thing to do in and of itself. Making donations to qualified charities before the end of the year, can also give you additional deductions to reduce your taxes.
Review Your Year
Were there pivotal moments? What are the things that you are proud that you and your team accomplished? What are the things that you never got around to? What direction are you pointed in for the next year? Is that where you want to be going? Do you need to put strategic planning on your to-do list for the next year?
Update Your Legal Structure
If you have been doing business a sole proprietor/DBA and have reason to change to an LLC or corporation, it will make next year’s taxes easier if you get everything in place to start the new year with your new legal structure in place.
Talk With Family About Succession or Exit Planning
If it is not too sensitive a subject, the holidays might be a good time to talk about where you are going with the business. Do you envision someone in the family taking it over sooner or later? Is anyone in the family really interested in doing so and qualified to do so? Do you envision selling it to fund your retirement?
Close Your Business
When doing your end of year tax planning and taking a look at your year in review, you may decide that this is the time to close your business. If you are certain that is a step that you want to take, closing it by year end will make the following year’s taxes easier. (Later this week, I will be posting more about this topic.)
Schedule R&R for the Holidays
The holidays can be hectic and stressful, especially if you are working long hours. When scheduling your time over the holidays, put time for rest, relaxation and fun on your schedule. Replenish your mental and physical energy for starting the new year right.
Express & Feel Gratitude
Be grateful for the things that you have accomplished over the year, for those who have helped you over the year and the things that you have accomplished together, and for the continued support of those who are important to you as you start the new year. What a nice way to end 2016.
Warmest holiday wishes to everyone that the WU KSBDC has the pleasure to work with throughout the year!
Laurie Pieper, Ph.D.
WU KSBDC Business Advisor