Five Year End Tasks for Every Small Business Owner

If you’re a small business owner, the end of the year can signal your busiest season, or a quiet time when you catch up on paperwork and planning. Either way, before New Year’s Day arrives, make sure you’ve reviewed this list of five year end tasks for every small business owner.

Be Organized Next Year

The New Year means a new tax return will need to be prepared, which means it’s time to start gathering your receipts and categorizing them now. If this is a chore you dread (who doesn’t?) you may also wish to spend a little time making it easier to be organized next year by utilizing online apps and collaboration tools that can make it a lot easier to keep track of mileage records, receipts, and business meetings during the coming year.

Plan to Spend Money

If you operate on a calendar year, pay any bills by December 31 to ensure that you can deduct them this year. If there are larger expenditures you’ve been considering and can afford, see how many you can pay for before the year ends as well. It may seem odd to plan to spend money at year end, but it can have a big impact on your tax liability if done correctly.

Talk to Your Advisors

The New Year brings a time to reflect on the past and prepare for the future. It’s also a perfect time to talk to your advisors, especiallyl since three of them might be able to give you advice that you won’t be able to use (or won’t benefit you in the current year) after New Year’s Eve. I suggest speaking to:

  • Your Insurance Agent
  • Your CPA
  • Your Attorney

Questions for your Insurance Agent: If you have insurance, it may be time to review your policy to make sure it adequately covers your business. An additional vehicle, employee, or owner may mean that you need additional coverage.

Questions for your CPA: If you’ve been using a bookkeeper all year, or doing your own books, your CPA probably hasn’t heard from you in awhile. Like your small business attorney, your CPA may have tips for you about tax breaks and allowed expenses, that you will want to follow before the year ends. This is also a good time to get on your CPA’s calendar for next year, before his or her appointment book fills up.

Questions for your Attorney: This may be the most important call you make, and I’m not just saying that because I’m an attorney; each year the laws, rules, and benefits of various business structures change. If you have not had an attorney review your business to discuss legal issues or examine your current business structure to see if it right for your business now, make sure you do so before the year ends.

Get Ready to Mail

For small business owners who have employees or independent contractors, now is the time to get ready to mail out those W2s and 1099s in time for the IRS deadline. Are your payroll records organized? Do they need to be updated to reflect current mailing addresses?

Review That Business Plan

For businesses that slow down during the holidays, this may be the perfect time to review that business plan sitting on your shelf. If it has been a tough year for your small business, this is a good time to look forward to building your business next year, and thinking about what changes you will need to make. If it has been a great year, there’s cause to celebrate and plan – growth can be as hard on a business as shrinking revenues.

Now that you’ve got your five year end tasks for every small business owner in hand, you may find you need advice about year end tax planning, or an expert review of your current business structure. For legal help or referrals to small business professionals, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email:

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