There’s something very satisfying about turning our calendars to January. It always feels like a fresh start. We resolve to develop new, better ways of using our work and leisure time. We reflect on what we accomplished in the last 12 months, and we look forward to achieving even more in the next 12.
But sometimes we have a nagging feeling that we forgot something. And it often has to do with our finances, both personal and professional.
You can take steps now to make the new year less worrisome. Doing some extra work in QuickBooks now will ensure that you start the new year ready to move ahead, rather than scrambling to see what you missed on come January.
Where to start? Depending on how conscientiously you entered transactions and ran reports, you might need to set some extra time aside in the midst of your other year-end and holiday-related commitments.
For example, did you instruct QuickBooks to “close your books” at the end of the year? QuickBooks will automatically make year-end adjustments if you entered December 31 as a closing date in Preferences. However, it is not required, and there are both advantages and disadvantages to doing so. We can help you decide if this is the best decision for your company.
Figure 1: If you set a closing date of December 31 in QuickBooks’ Preferences, you need to prepare your company file for this deadline in advance.
Prior to this, though, there’s another important task you should complete before the end of the year. It is common sense, but not everyone thinks of it during the December rush: Make sure you have entered all transactions and payments that should be included in your QuickBooks file for 2015.
If anyone else on your staff works in QuickBooks, make sure they know that you are trying to wrap up the year. If they are holding anything back because of questions and comments, now is the time to confer with you.
Taxes and Accounts
You may already be working with us on tax planning, but if you are not, then it is never too early to project your incoming and outgoing funds for the new year.
Figure 2: Use QuickBooks to make decisions about income and/or expenses to reduce your tax obligation next year.
Talk to us about your tax situation if you think this may be necessary. We may not be able to prepare your taxes just yet, but we can create financial reports and projections that help you prepare for filing.
Odds and Ends
How do you back up your QuickBooks company file? Is it on a local drive or in the cloud? How often do you do this? Archiving your data is critical. Think about what would happen if you lost your customer records or a month’s worth of transactions or multiple payments. This is an area where we can provide guidance. Is there a better, safer way to ensure data security? Are there special backup activities you should do at year’s end?
Some companies wait until the end of January to do a physical inventory count. Rather than being surprised, you may want to consider doing this now if it is feasible.
And when you think you have entered everything but payments or transactions that may come in at the end of the year, all accounts should be reconciled.
Figure 3: By late December or early January, you should do a final reconciliation of all accounts for the previous year.
QuickBooks makes it easy to do this regularly, but if you need assistance, we can help you ring in the New Year on a more confident note.