It’s almost the end of the year, and although the holidays are coming, there are a few tasks you need to address before year end. Getting your financials in order now will start you off right for the New Year. A Step Up wishes you a very merry holiday season and a prosperous 2016.
1. Invoice your clients for all outstanding time and expenses. You want to be sure that invoices are sent for all work done during the year, and many of your customers will want to pay you for this work now to lower their tax liability. Make it easy for them to do so! Receiving payments at the end of the year also gives a cash basis business a bit of flexibility. You can count the income in this year by using the check date on the payment in QuickBooks. Or move it to next year by using the date you received or deposited it (be sure this is actually in 2016).
2. Get address and social security numbers for all 1099 contractors. Send W-9 forms to obtain this information if needed. Review all names, addresses and tax ID information as well as the categories of payments made for accuracy. This is also a good time to double-check that you have current certificates of insurance on file.
3. Review your open receivables and determine if any should be sent to an outside collection agency for assistance or if they are un-collectible. If you are on an accrual basis, you can write these off as bad debts and lower your business profit totals. Even if you are cash basis, getting these off your books gives you a truer picture of what is outstanding for the new year.
4. Reconcile all bank accounts, credit card accounts and loan accounts. You need accurate balances to make informed decisions for the future. Ensuring that the totals of your accounts match the bank also improves the likelihood that you haven’t missed any deductible expenses.
5. Prepare a budget for next year. Review this year’s reports and set a plan for realistic growth next year. What income categories were profitable? What expenses can be trimmed? Set a plan for how you will increase revenue and lower expenses in the coming months. You can also enter this information into QuickBooks, and then you can compare how you are actually doing against your plan from month to month.
6. Double-check all employee addresses and social security numbers. Make sure that employee paycheck names and Social Security numbers match their SS cards and W-4 data. Remind employees to submit new W-4 forms if there has been a change in their filing status due to marriage, divorce or dependents (birth, adoption, child turning 21), or if they want to retain their federal ‘exempt’ status.
7. Review 2015 paychecks outstanding more than two pay periods so you have time to void and reissue in time for 2015 W-2s.
8. Ask your payroll service (if you use one) for a W-2 adjustment run, or run a Payroll Summary report before closing out 2015 to verify and correct:
– Excess SS withheld
– Additional amounts paid to employees that must be captured on W-2s, including relocation expense reimbursements, personal use of company vehicles, company-paid educational assistance and other taxable items that were paid outside of the payroll system
– Manual or voided paychecks not in your system
9. Meet with your CPA to review your preliminary totals. There are things you can do now to reduce your business tax liability, such as contributing to a retirement plan or paying employee bonuses, but they often must be done before December 31st. It also may or may not be a good idea to make a large equipment purchase at this time. Depreciation deductions are not as favorable if the majority of the year’s purchases were made in the last quarter. Corporations will need to calculate and pay out shareholder distributions by the end of the year. Talk to your CPA about your tax strategy for this year. Of course, you will want to have your records in order and caught up to reap the most benefits from your meeting.
A Step Up Bookkeeping is available for assistance with getting your record-keeping caught up. Give us a call for a no-obligation consultation at 603-679-2022.