It’s officially the start of the fourth quarter! How has your business been holding up so far? With so many changes happening this year, you should give yourself a pat on the back for successfully reaching this milestone.
As you enter the fourth quarter, there are several things you should do to make the most of this year—and to set your business up for success next year.
We’ve compiled a list of tasks to help you get started. Some of these are best to start doing in October, while others you can do over the course of the next three months.
1. Start Your Fourth-Quarter Bookkeeping Cleanup
Trust us when we say you don’t want to wait until the very end of the year to start cleaning up your business’ financial books. It will create less stress for you in the long run if you start in October.
To start your bookkeeping cleanup, you’ll need to do several things.
First, you’ll need to reconcile your cash accounts so that they match your bank statements. In the same vein, you should reconcile your credit cards as well as your loan balances.
Next, you’ll need to look at your account categories. Are all your financial transactions properly categorized? Do any accounts need to be merged or added?
Be sure to check for errors by reviewing your accounts payable, receivables, sales, physical inventory, and 1099 vendors.
Don’t forget to clean up your payroll, including verifying your employee and contractor records, W-4 and W-9 forms, and payroll tax liabilities and payments for the year.
If you don’t want to deal with the headache of performing your own year-end bookkeeping cleanup, let us do it for you! We work hard to take care of our clients’ financial tasks so that they can focus on what they do best.
2. Conduct a Year-End Financial Analysis for Your Business
Your year-end financial analysis should take place somewhere near Thanksgiving or Christmas. This is different than the year-end analysis you do with your CPA in order to file your taxes. The financial analysis we’re talking about helps you see what your business is doing well and where you can improve.
To do this analysis, you need access to your QuickBooks account and reports. You’ll want to gather your Profit and Loss Statement, your Balance Sheet, and your Statement of Cash Flow.
Some things to consider during this analysis are:
What are my biggest sources of revenue? What’s working well?
What’s not working, financially speaking? What products or services are taking too much time/expense to be worth it?
What areas of the business are continuing to grow? What areas are dwindling? Is there a growth/decline pattern these areas follow?
Arman Sadeghi has an in-depth article on how to conduct your own year-end financial analysis that you can use as a reference.
3. Meet With Your CPA During the Fourth Quarter
Even if you perform your year-end financial tasks alone, you still don’t want to skip meeting with your CPA during the fourth quarter.
Meeting with a financial expert ensures that you won’t overlook crucial year-end steps for your business. Your CPA can advise you in how to make strategic moves to help lower your taxes for the year. This isn’t something he or she can do with you if you meet after the tax year is already over.
4. Start Planning for Next Year
As you do your bookkeeping cleanup, conduct your financial analysis, and meet with your CPA, you set yourself up for success as you plan for next year. You know that managing your business’ finances is extremely different from managing your personal finances. You need a plan, or your business won’t grow the way it could.
First, you’ll want to take another look at the analysis you conducted. Get a strong feel for your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (also known as a SWOT analysis). This will help you create realistic goals for your business to accomplish next year.
Make sure that your goals always align with your business’ overall vision. Next, you need to map out the strategies you will use to meet those goals. And once your strategies are in place, it’s time to figure out the tactics.
Remember, strategy is the “What” and tactics are the “How” when it comes to planning. For example, if your strategy includes promoting your business on social media, your tactics would detail what you would post, how often, and at what time.
Reach Out for Help if You Need It!
Don’t be ashamed to reach out for help from experts in the fourth quarter. A business consultant can help you create a worthwhile strategy to accomplish your goals. A branding strategist can help you solidify your business’ image. And an accounting expert can help you set your business up for financial success.
That’s where we at Foray Business Group come in. We love helping our clients succeed by taking the difficult, stressful, and confusing financial tasks off their plate.
In the fourth quarter, many of our clients take advantage of our premium services to clean up their books, offer accounting advice, and manage their daily bookkeeping tasks. Don’t hesitate to reach out and see if we can help you!