How to organize your small business for the end of the year

small business organizationAnother year is drawing to a close, and whether this means a busy or slow time for your small business, it’s important to get properly organized for the end of the year. It won’t be long until we’re ringing in the new year – what kind of shape will your business be in?

The holiday season is actually a great time to get organized. We’re all in a New Year’s Resolution mindset, so it’s an ideal time to close out this year and to plan, strategically and financially, for what’s coming next.

Check out our list of simple things you can do to wind down your year properly, and get set for 2017.

Get your financial records in order for 2016

Your accountant or bookkeeper will love you forever if you present well-organized and documented files and records soon after your fiscal year end. Sounds like a headache, but the “shoebox” method of filing receipts just doesn’t cut it.

Here are five things you can take care of between holiday festivities:

1. Update your payroll records, report all 2016 paycheques on T4 slips, and make sure all your other deductions are in order.

2. Organize your accounting files, records and receipts to get ready for income tax season. This includes completing inventory records and putting expense receipts into categories sorted by month.

3. Streamline your contacts list – remove old contacts and duplicate records, and update current contacts in your professional networks.

4. Update your personal productivity and technology tools – download updates and templates and make sure your current apps are still working for you.

5. Create a to-do list for the first week of January and make appointments now with key advisors, especially your bookkeeper and accountant – before they get booked up.

Hit the ground running in 2017

Winter can be a slow time for many businesses. However, using this downtime to prepare your business for what lies ahead will help you start start 2017 refreshed, prepared and ready for anything.

Here are five more things you can do:

1. Review your 2016 business goals. What worked well and what didn’t? In 2017, do more of what worked in 2016, and refine the things that didn’t.

2. Develop a strategic plan – a roadmap for getting from point A to point B. If you don’t have a strategic plan, create one – and follow it. We’ve got a free one-page business plan template you can download at our website.

3. Take a close look at your marketing, human resources management, financing and operations. Is there anything you could do better?Get working on some ideas to become more effective.

4. Read up on new ways social media can help promote your business. Read some business blogs or tweets as a first step, and find which tools will work best for your business.

5. Clean up your files! Delete old files. Get rid of spam emails. Back up your business records onto a disc, memory stick, cloud server or hire a company to do it for you on a regular basis. Set up a good online file folder system so you don’t have to scroll through three months of emails to find something your accountant wants.

Have questions about year-end preparation? Ask a GoForth Expert online any time. Not only will your question be answered by one of our experts, but we’ll post it on our website too. You’ll be helping other entrepreneurs who may be wondering the same thing. How charitable of you – perfect for the holiday season!

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