The year is coming to an end, and for business owners that means one thing is top-of-mind: preparing year-end financials. Luckily, there are more resources than ever available in terms of technology for tracking annual business income and outgo, so if you’ve kept close tabs on your payables and receivables throughout the year, crunching your year-end numbers should be fairly straightforward.
However, there are some broader facets of year-end financial planning that many businesses overlook in the rush to finish the details of their reports. Review the following to help give yourself a fresh perspective on managing your money for the New Year:
1. Review your spending and set some goals
The end of the year is a great time to go back through those dreaded credit card statements and look at your spending month-by-month. Are there expenses you could have done without or funded differently? How much did you travel? Do you have the right kind of credit card and is it rewarding you for your spending? Depending on your findings, you may want to set some goals for next year to spend less or spend differently.
2. Meet with your accountant
Tax season is still a few months away, yes, but there are things that you can do now to make April as painless as possible. There may be a few adjustments you can make now that will pay big dividends in the spring.
3. Use up your Flexible Spending Account
Did you set aside some pre-tax dollars for medical expenses at the beginning of the year? Now is the time to burn through them. Flexible Spending Account dollars won’t rollover, so that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off? Now would be the time to make it.
4. Rebalance your portfolio
Take a look at your investments and how they performed over the past year. What stocks did well? Which ones tanked? What new avenues of investment might you have access to now that you didn’t before? Set goals for the New Year based on your learnings, and meet with a financial planner if you need additional insight or advice.
5. Adjust your tax withholding
Did you have any children, experience a death, get married or go through a divorce in 2014? Any of these life events can significantly affect your tax withholding options. Make sure you are making plans to make any adjustments in the New Year so you are reaping the maximum amount of benefits from the tax system, and in total compliance with the IRS.
6. Donate to charity
Not only is it a great time to give to the causes that matter the most to you, but giving to 501(c) 3 charities can also have significant tax benefits for your business. You don’t always need to give cold, hard cash either. Stocks, bonds and funds can all be donated and may help you avoid paying capital gains tax. Be sure to make any donations final prior to Jan. 1!
7. Review your insurance coverage
Review your insurance policies for your home, automobile and your health. Are there any events, such as childbirth or a big surgery, which you are expecting in 2015 that you may need to increase your coverage for? Are you eligible for any new discounts? Do you think you might get a better rate by switching companies? Explore your options and be prepared for whatever 2015 might throw your way.