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Ring in the New Year With A Year End Small Business Accounting Tune Up

December 9, 2011 by Ed Becker

As a small business owner, you know that December isn’t just about holiday festivities and the holiday season. December is also another small business accounting season. It’s when you need to compile and prepare year end documents for your CPA, so he or she can file everything for you before the upcoming deadline.

Which accounting documents will your CPA need?

The exact list depends on your type of business, but most businesses will need the following:

  • W-2 forms
  • K-1 forms of Trusts/Estates, Partnerships, or S-Corporations
  • All 1099 forms: 1099-MISC, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, Consolidated 1099, 1099-R, 1099-B, 1099-SSA
  • Cost Basis on all stock sales
  • Business Income and Expenses
  • Rental Property Income and Expenses
  • Itemized Deductions
  • Estimated payments worksheet

Once you have your documents in front of you, start by first creating your own personalized checklist. This will make the process easier and faster. The more organized your documents are, the more money you will save in accounting fees, and the quicker you will be able to have your return prepared and filed.

I encourage you to copy & paste the following checklist into a text editor, change it for your needs, and print it out.

Sample Small Business Accounting Tune-Up Checklist

  • Reconcile your bank account
  • Clean up on unpaid and outstanding invoices if not valid
  • Collect all W9’s from vendors or outside contractors
  • Record Transactions (credit card purchases and receipts)
  • Verify your inventory balance
  • Categorize Expenses and Income properly or ask your CPA for help
  • Record any sale or disposal of fixed assets
  • Review Mileage logs
  • Pay Your Estimated Taxes to avoid penalties when taxes are due in April
  • Check your Income Statement and compare it to last year’s for unusual fluctuations
  • Record any year end accrual entries – and depreciation
  • Verify Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable
  • Adjust for bad debt write offs
  • Reconcile your payroll taxes to your payroll returns
  • Prepare a budget for next year utilizing your profit and loss statement from the year that is ending
  • Back-up all your files to prevent lost data

And remember: maintaining accurate records and staying current with bookkeeping throughout the year, make compiling these documents and data much easier. Outsourced bookkeepers can be a great resource at this time because they know what CPAs truly need to compile by the end of the year.

With a bookkeeping professional organizing your books at the end of the year, you free up your capacity to become more productive and more competitive.  You can focus on the business tasks that are most important to you.  Plus, with your end-of-year bookkeeping off your mind, those holiday parties will be a lot more fun.

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