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20 ways to wrap up the year in your small business

17 November 2018, 10:00 am by Samantha Garner

It’s that time of year again! As the days get shorter and chillier, you should spend some time getting your small business year all wrapped up with a nice bow. Here are some ways you can prepare for the end of the year. (Some of these tips assume a December 31 fiscal year-end, but they still apply if you have a different year-end!)

  1. Update your payroll records.
  2. Report all 2018 paycheques on T4 slips.
  3. Make sure all tax deductions are in order.
  4. Organize your accounting files, records and receipts to get up-to-date for income tax season.
  5. Make any business purchases that would qualify for tax deductions for 2018.
  6. Streamline your contacts list – remove old contacts and duplicate records, and update current contacts in your professional networks.
  7. Update your personal productivity and technology tools – download updates and templates and make sure your current apps are still working for you. Even more fun – look for new ones! Check out some productivity apps you may find useful.
  8. 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.
  9. Do you have to renew any licenses or permits? Make sure you get that sorted out with enough time to spare.
  10. Review your year against your business plan. Did you meet your goals? Did you fall short? Take this time to think of new strategies based on what worked and what didn’t.
  11. Update your business plan if you’ve identified major changes in your business or the environment that didn’t exist when you wrote it.
  12. Evaluate your business’ policies and processes. Are there any that could be adjusted to help you make more sales, reduce bottlenecks, or increase employee satisfaction?
  13. Take a close look at your marketing, human resources management, financing and operations. Brainstorm some ways to improve in those areas.
  14. If you have employees, prepare and give evaluations. Discuss expectations and performance, and listen to any concerns your employees may have.
  15. Plan for holiday time off, whether or not you have employees. If you do have employees, the earlier you get everything organized, the better.
  16. Check out the latest in social media marketing strategies. What are the experts recommending for 2019?
  17. Organize your files, both physical and electronic. Make backups on a thumb drive or in the cloud, and delete files you don’t need.
  18. Keep your important information safe by updating your passwords. Apps such as LastPass or even Chrome’s and Safari’s built-in password managers can help.
  19. Change your form of organization: sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or cooperative. If it’s something you’ve been planning, you may find it easier to start the process now so that January 1 will be the first day. Check out the CRA’s website for more info.
  20. Enjoy the downtime! This is a fairly sizeable list, but the earlier you start, the easier it will be. If your small business gets quieter at the end of the year, give yourself a well-deserved rest. You’ve earned it!

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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