The end of any year can be busy for business owners. Take some of the stress out by using our 6-step year-end checklist for business owners.

When you’re a business owner, year-end can be an incredibly busy time. You’re not only finishing up a hectic month, you’re also closing out an entire year of financial activity. Coupled with the excitement of the holidays, it can make for a very stressful time.

Before the ball drops on Dec. 31, use our 6-step year-end checklist for business owners and close out 2016 on a high note.

1. Prepare a Financial Report

Where does your company stand financially and how does it compare to previous years? Prepare, or have prepared, a complete financial report. It should include a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement.

Review the profit and loss statement. You can gauge where your business is now financially and what the forecast is for the beginning of 2017. Look at your overall profits, too. Are they what you expected? If they’re higher than what you anticipated, consult with your tax advisor before December 31. He may suggest some larger purchases for which you could record some future depreciation on your upcoming tax filing.

business year-end checklist for business owners2. Review 2016’s Performance

You can see where you are, but how did you get there? Take a look at your 2016 business plan and review the goals you set. If you accomplished them, did you set new ones? Did you meet the growth or production numbers you set for yourself? It’s important to analyze both successes and failures. This will determine what you learned from each of the experiences. They’ll only help you in future years.

3. Set Goals for 2017

Once you’ve reviewed your 2016 goals and accomplishments, it’ll help you decide where to take your company in 2017. Think “big picture” and don’t worry about the details quite yet. There’ll be time for that when you create your action plans. Of course, when you’re setting your goals, make sure they’re SMART:  specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

4. Take Inventory

Does your business have any inventory on hand? If it does, be sure to take stock and compare it to your latest report. If there’s a discrepancy, make an adjustment. It’s important to start the New Year with the correct product count as well as an accurate inventory value.

If you are a non-inventory carrying business, take this opportunity to inventory office equipment. It could be helpful when you need to decide what needs to be replaced or repaired in the coming year. Make sure to review the contracts of any leased equipment to ensure they still meet your company’s needs.

business owner utilizes a checklist to prepare for the end of his financial year5. Verify 1099 Information

Have you hired any vendors or contractors this year? You’ll need to make sure you have up-to-date 1099 information on file. All paperwork should be reviewed, as well as any data entered into the accounting system.

6. Back Up Your Data

Although you should be backing up your files regularly, make sure you do a final backup at year’s end. Include everything from accounting files to emails and make sure they are securely stored. You never know when you’ll need to reference this information in the future.

Ring in the New Year!

The end of year is the time to look back and talk about what went right and what went wrong. It’s the season to celebrate successes and to chalk the failures up to lessons learned.

Jan. 1 will be here in a blink. If you’re a business owner getting ready for year-end, use this list. It should help you start 2017 with a clean slate and a clear vision of where your business is headed.

business owners, financial wellbeing, end of year planning