For many businesses, planning for the next calendar year begins in late summer or early fall. While this always seems to come so quickly, it’s important to give yourself and your team enough time to properly plan.
Be sure these areas are on your checklist as you begin planning for the upcoming year.
Tax Planning and Strategies
Tax Law Updates and the Impact on Your Business
Start early and work with your CPA or tax advisor to review any changes in the tax law and understand how they will affect your business. This evaluation helps determine your tax strategies, including:
- Ways to save on your tax bill
- When your taxes should be filed
- How to cover your overall tax liability
Determine Purchases to be Made Before Year-End
If you anticipate major purchases that’ll need to be made early in the new year, determine if it is a good idea to buy them ahead of schedule so you can take the deduction in your current tax year. Remember to consider other options for obtaining equipment, such as leasing. No matter which route you take, significant purchases may impact tax planning and how you address tax liabilities.
Consider Extra Year-End Benefits for Your Employees
At this point, you likely have a good idea how the company’s year will turn out and what surplus funds will be available. Consult with your trusted advisors to determine how or whether extra year-end bonuses or other benefits for your team members could work for your business.
Evaluate Results and Prepare Goals
Compare Results to Projections
Early fall is a great time to start evaluating how your business is performing. Consider these questions during your review:
- Are you ahead or behind on your sales, profit and growth goals?
- In what areas are you doing well?
- Where could the business improve?
When you review your margins, sales mix and customer base now, you can begin making adjustments and start the next year off strong.
Prepare Your Budget for Next Year
Budgeting season gives you the opportunity to review your current objectives and plan to reach future goals. Look at the financial needs involved in reaching those goals – is expansion or new equipment part of your business’s upcoming year? Consider whether you need to start conversations with your banker and get the ball rolling now.
Revisit Your Business Plan
Your business plan should be a living, breathing document. Now’s the time to review the strategies laid out in your plan and determine:
- Are your plan strategies still in line with the direction your business is heading?
- Will you reach your goals sooner than anticipated?
- How will you make adjustments, if needed?
As you review this document, one area to keep top of mind is succession planning. Make sure you’re involving the appropriate advisors and making the necessary plans now, as the most effective succession plans are the ones that are started early.
Setting aside time to review year-end action items helps ensure your business will be well-prepared for the future.