For many businesses, the fourth quarter is very busy as they wrap up the year and prepare for the next one. Here are some tasks to make your fourth quarter more productive and profitable:
Boost Your Sales
Many businesses realize an increase in business during the holiday season and end of the year. Take advantage of this by hiring seasonal help, accepting more contracts and advertising your goods or services.
Prepare New Contracts
Make new contracts for the additional business that you are bringing in. If there have been recent changes to relevant laws that may impact your business or employees, prepare new contracts that will be in compliance when the new year rolls around.
Collect on Old Debt
If you have accounts receivable for transactions that occurred at the beginning of the year, make a final effort to collect on these debts so that you do not have to carry them over to next year. Send reminder invoices to your customers. Business owners have an incentive to spend down their profits before the end of the year to reduce their tax liability, so they may be motivated to pay that final bill you send even if they ignored the first one, two or three.
Pay Off Debt
At the same time, pay off any old debt that you can before the end of the year. This will help decrease your profits and tax liability, so you might as well make it part of your business budget if you can.
Prepare Your Financial Statements
Provide all relevant data to your accountant or input it into your accounting software program to get ready to prepare your end-of-year financial statements, including your balance sheet and cash flow statement. You should also prepare an accounts payable and receivable report. This will give you a better picture of the financial health of your business and allow you to start preparing for next year.
Meet with Your Accountant
Get information now from your accountant about what you need to do to prepare your taxes. You can also get key metrics about your business, such as how much revenue you have made year to date and what you expect to close the year with. You can also ask about your expenses to learn about areas you may need to cut. Your accountant may also give you some more ideas about ways to decrease your tax liability, such as investing in new equipment or training.
Reevaluate Your Business Goals
The end of the year is a great time to reflect on your business, what worked and what didn’t. Look at the goals that you set for yourself this year and see if you achieved them. Consider what kept you short of reaching the goals that were unfilled. Consider if your lack of information translated into an unfulfilled goal and readjust the goal based on the new information.
Start Planning for Next Year
Make a plan for your business for next year. Set goals and metrics you want to achieve. Do not wait until January to start planning. Plan today so you can accomplish what you want to tomorrow.