December is here, and if you own or manage a business, that means it’s time to wrap up 2016 and start planning for 2017. It’s also a good time to check in with your legal, accounting, HR, and marketing consultants to make sure you have all your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed before you close the books on 2016. A quick overview of your accounts, records, and policies can prove to be a huge time, and money, saver going into the new year.
Have you made your list and checked it twice? Here’s a handy year-end checklist to get you started:
1) Review and update employee records with any changes that took place in 2016
- Status – Look for any changes in OT exemption status, marital status, or number of dependents.
- Forms – Make sure employee withholding tax forms are up-to-date.
- Payroll & benefits – Make any necessary updates before tax forms are prepared for the 2016 tax-year.
- PTO balance – See who has PTO remaining and determine if they will use it, lose it, or roll it into the next year.
- Handbook / policies – Keep the employee handbook up-to-date with any new or amended policies.
2) Review and update Contractor and Vendor records
- Agreement / contract terms – Check expiration/renewal dates and keep contract terms current.
- Mailing address / phone numbers – Check for any changes to mailing addresses or contact phone numbers.
- Tax ID# / W-9 form – It’s good practice to get a new W-9 form from contractors each year and verify the Tax ID# for your 1099s.
3) Review and update Client records
- Confirm or update contact names & phone numbers – Make sure your records have kept up with the changes that took place in the past year.
- Mailing address – Even if you primarily communicate with your clients by phone or email, it’s nice to have an address to send cards and gifts.
4) Compliance and form updates
- New DOL rules that apply to your business – Such as the new date for overtime exemption ruling that might take effect in 2017.
- Update expired employment forms – Such as the new I-9 form scheduled to begin use by Jan 21.
- Licence / certification renewals – Time flies, so check the renewal dates for licenses and certifications to keep them current.
5) Review accounting records and clear the books for 2016
- Accounts Payable – Look over your vendor records and see if there is value in paying off any outstanding debt before the end of the year.
- Accounts Receivable – Look at the Aging Receivables report and try to collect payments for any open invoices.
- Expense accounts – Get year-end numbers to use for next year’s budget estimates.
6) Prepare accounting records to send to your CPA by Jan 1st for W-2 and 1099 deadlines
- Accurate accounting records – This is where the Employee and Contractor updates come in handy.
- Meet filing deadlines – Federal agencies (and most states) are requiring W-2’s/1099-MISC’s to be filed by Jan 31 rather than Feb 28 for 2016 taxes.
7) Review software and apps
- Necessary updates – It’s important to update software and apps to keep systems running efficiently.
- Cancel unused or redundant tools – Eliminate software and apps that are not needed or duplicate of another tool already in use.
8) Review the ROI of your sales and marketing efforts in 2016
- Look at your net profit – Determine what it cost you in marketing dollars to get those sales.
- Set your marketing budget for 2017 – Consider talking with The Marketing Squad about “amplifying” your marketing efforts in 2017.