Year-end is in plain sight, and soon this year will be gone.
To get ready for the new year, most businesses and individuals set goals and plan out what they’ll do over the next twelve months.
But before you do the same, check and see if your business is ready for all the planning and goal setting.
Why not use the remainder of the year to tie up loose ends, so your business will be in a position to tackle new goals… before you start to plan?
Taking care of unfinished business allows you to start with a clean slate, so your business will be in the position to take advantage of new opportunities.
5 Year-End Business Tasks
Here are five year-end-business tasks that will help you get your business ready for the new year.
- This year-end business task may be the most important one for you to tackle! Collect and organize all your financial records; for without them there’s little else you can do to move forward. If you’ve kept up with your books, with all the records for your practice, you’re in good shape. But if you did not, you’ve got some catching up to do. Get busy pulling everything together so you can take it to your accounting professional, just as soon as you can. But regardless if you have all your records together or not, connect with your accounting advisor before year end. 2017 has seen the biggest changes to the tax code in many years, for individuals and businesses alike. Check in with your tax advisor to see if there’s anything you need to change or do differently going forward.
- Next, make sure you’ve taken care of all tax obligations. This includes filing reports and paying your federal, state, and local taxes, as well as any self- employment taxes, if applicable. Also, be sure to prepare and submit any 1099-Misc forms if necessary. And, if you are an employer, take care of year-end payroll tasks. I’ve written in great detail about year-end tax responsibilities in a previous article. I suggest you read it to get additional information about various tax obligations and responsibilities.
- Review your AR, your Accounts Receivable. Is it current, within acceptable limits; or are there far too many unpaid insurance claims outstanding? And what about patient responsibility; patient co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles? Is your office collecting on time or are there too many to-be-collected balances? What are the average days in A/R for your practice? Do you carry too many balances that are too old to collect? And how much effort has gone into working these outstanding balances? Is it worth the resources it takes? Should you continue to work these accounts? Or, is it time to remove them from AR? Also, take a close look at how your office works your AR. How effective is your office with billing, following up, and collecting reimbursements? And what can you do to improve the reimbursements and collections cycle going forward? Make every effort to clean up your AR and bring it current. Do this before you focus on what must happen to improve the process going forward.
- I know you’re busy and may be tempted to skip this simple step. But if you set yearly goals for yourself and your business, take the time and review your result, before you start setting new goals. What’s the point in moving on to creating new goals without ever knowing if you’ve accomplished what you’d set out to do before? So, ask yourself if you achieved your goals from last year? If you did, great! But if you didn’t, why not? Why didn’t you accomplish your goals? Did something change mid-year, was it replaced with another goal, was it too unrealistic, or did it just not fit your business anymore? Think about what you have and have not accomplished over the past year. Before you set new goals, make sure they fit your business model and are in line with what’s important to you today. Don’t fall into the trap of sticking to goals that fit you in the past but no longer serve a purpose for you.
- While this last task could be taken care of at any time throughout the year, why not take advantage of scheduled downtimes. If your office closes for a few days over the holidays, consider scheduling any maintenance, cleaning, updates, or repairs that need to get done in your office. Take advantage of the few days and update your computer hardware and software, schedule website updates (major ones), and replace or upgrade your phone or internet service. While not necessary, it’s nice if you can get these things taken care of, without interrupting the flow in your clinic or bothering your patients.
Of all the things to do to get ready for the new year, making sure your financial and employment records are in top shape is probably the most important thing to do. Because ignoring it could get you in trouble faster than anything else…
How do you get ready for the new year? Tell us, leave your comment in the section below…
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.“
Very helpful. Thank you and Happy Holidays.
Thank you, Corinthia! And Happy Holidays to you as well!