The countdown to year end is on and normally we (accounting types) would be talking about what you need to do to finalize your books, get your W2s in order and prep for your 1099s. Yes, all that is important, but before we get to the nitty gritty, let’s pause to dream about what you want to do in the following year. As business owners, we tend to focus on numbers and metrics, but for now, let’s focus on the intangibles you want.
Where is your business going?
The end of the year is the perfect time to assess where you are with your business and where you want to go. We’re not just talking about the numbers, but your company’s mission as well. Does your current client portfolio reflect the direction you want to take your business? Where would you like to grow – a new industry, non-profit work, more vertical depth, a new market? Think about what you want to focus your time on and think about if your current client base is filling that need. If not, what type of clients would you like to work with and what are you going to do to connect with them?
What opportunities do you have in front of you?
Often, we get so tied up in the day-to-day activity of running a business that we don’t see opportunities that might be right in front of us. As you think about the direction you want to take your business, think about other businesses or organizations you may want to partner with. Do you want to build something new in the community, such as a co-op venture or perhaps strengthen the community by teaching or volunteering with entrepreneurs? The opportunities are endless. Where do you see a need and how can your strengths as a business owner fill those needs?
How do your business goals align with your personal priorities?
As a business owner, you likely followed the path of living to work versus working to live. Personal drive, passion, and vision are key ingredients in starting a business, but sometimes those elements can be hard to maintain the longer you are in business. Ask yourself if you still feel that same drive and passion. If not, your personal values and business goals may have started to diverge. How do you remedy that situation and bring your personal and business goals back in line? Start with reviewing your answers to the first two questions. For some business owners, contributing to the community may be what drives them whereas other business owners may thrive off the freedom to create their own opportunities. Whatever it is for you, take the time to think about how to have a full life with your personal and business goals existing in harmony.
Now that you are excited to embrace the new year, let’s get you prepped to close out this year.
Our blog wouldn’t be complete without at least a few financial reminders. So, in the midst of all the holiday parties and general merriment, consider taking care of these items now so that you can start off the new year running:
- Clean-up contact information – review the information for your current employees and vendors to make sure you have current information. This will simplify the process of the sending out W2s and 1099s in January.
- Preview tax implications – now is a great time to meet with your accountant to see where your financials stand and if it makes sense to run a bonus payroll or adjust contributions to retirement plans.
- Plan expenses – be sure you get all your expenses in for the year and consider if it makes financial sense to pre-purchase items for next year.
- S-Corp businesses – if your health insurance is covered through your business, work with your accountant and/or payroll company to make sure it’s reported in box 14 and box 1 of wages. Health and accident insurance premiums paid on behalf of shareholder-employee are deductible by the S corporation and reportable as wages on the shareholder-employee’s Form W-2.
In addition to focusing on financial year-end prep, we hope you have the opportunity to consider your non-financial goals for the new year as well. Keeping up our drive and passion for our businesses is just as important as all the financial metrics we measure and when our business and personal goals align, we are truly successful.
We wish you a happy and (financially) healthy new year!