Blog written by Eide Bailly, a Greater Mankato Growth Bronze Investor
At its most basic, year-end comes down to reporting, preparation, and planning for the year ahead. Yet, year-end is about so much more than just your financial statements. Successful year-end planning can give you the opportunity to look closely at where you’ve been and focus on where you want to go.
By taking a more proactive and strategic approach to year-end, you can simplify the process and maximize financial efficiency. Here are our top 10 considerations (and helpful resources) to help you get started.
1. Make planning and compliance a priority.
When it comes to planning and compliance, ask yourself these questions: Are you prepared to file your individual and business tax return on time? Have you considered how proposed tax legislation could impact your situation? Do you have over 50 full-time equivalent employees? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, the next questions to ask yourself are: Have you filed the appropriate 1094 and 1095-C forms? Have you had a conversation with your tax advisor to ensure you are benefiting from all available tax credits and deductions?
2. Keep up with ever-changing technology.
Technology is innovating faster than ever, but many organizations’ systems are stuck in the past, creating challenges and slowing growth. Have you recently reviewed your technology needs and whether your current software systems are up to date and giving you the information you need? Do you need to explore additional options? Does your technology allow you to operate in a remote or hybrid work environment?
3. Protect your organization with strong cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity is a critical component to successful year-end planning. Have you adequately protected your systems, data and business reputation? Have you adequately identified the cyber threats your business may face? Have you prepared proper training for your staff to prevent a cybersecurity threat?
4. Use data analytics to make informed decisions.
Taking a strategic approach to year-end planning can help you simplify the process. When considering data analytics, ask yourself: Are you able to use your data to make informed decisions? Can your company make sense of its data chaos? Do you have the proper access to your data? Do you know the source of your current data and the health of that information? Have you mastered the art and science of data visualization?
5. Make sure you’re up-to-date on human resources best practices.
Take a look at your human resources practices. Are you doing a comprehensive review of your employee handbook to make sure you are in compliance with federal and state employment laws? Are you keeping your personnel files in order? Do you follow best recruitment and retention practices? Are you utilizing HR to prevent fraud in your organization?
6. Develop a comprehensive wealth plan – and review it frequently.
Some questions to ask about wealth planning: How will proposed tax legislation affect your wealth plan? Are your tax and investment decisions working together? Do you know the tax impact of liquidating one asset versus another? Are you consistently reviewing your financial plan? Do you have an investment strategy? Do you have the right insurance coverage in place? Have you thought about the type of legacy you would like to leave?
7. Review your company’s retirement plans.
There are many things to consider depending on the size and anticipated growth of your business. Have you reviewed your company’s retirement plan? Have you reviewed the proper reporting requirements based on the size of your plan and its participant numbers?
8. Outsource talent to improve your operations.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to the financial and accounting portion of your business. Have you evaluated whether now is the time to outsource your payroll and bookkeeping services? Have you considered whether hiring an outsourced CFO partner could help you grow your business?
9. Start exit planning early.
We encourage business owners to consider options at least five years before they intend to sell, if not 10. The more time you have to adequately plan for a sale, the better price you likely will get. Have you thought about selling or acquiring a new business? Have you considered the tax implications of a sale/purchase?
10. Protect your business by understanding your fraud risk.
Ask yourself these questions about fraud: Do you have suspicions about potential fraud in your organization? Do you have the appropriate checks and balances in place? Have you done a review of your internal controls to ensure you’re keeping your business protected?
Set Your Organization Up for Success at Year-End – and Throughout the Year
As you can see, there are many things to consider at year-end. Stepping back to review common practices and asking the right questions can help you simplify the year-end planning process and make strategic decisions to position your organization for growth in the coming year.