The 2019 Year-End Checklist for Every Small Business

An Attorney Consults With an Executive.

A Year in Review

As 2019 draws to a close, most businesses set aside time for strategic planning for the new year. You go over the past year, reviewing what was done and taking note of what could have been done better. Effective business planning is a component of successful ongoing operations, and it helps draw a road map for where you want to grow and what you need to fix in the coming years. It’s wise, at times during your year-end review, to engage partners who can help with your planning. Whether it’s meeting with your accountant or your lawyer from your group legal plan, inviting third-party consultants can give you further insight into your organization.

The End of Year Financial Accounting

Squaring the books is the first thing that should happen during a year-end review. Whether you have an in-house finance team or use a third-party bookkeeping and accounting service, you should bring everyone together to go over the year’s finances.

Review any unexpected financial strain you encountered during the year. Try to understand the reasons around that and how you can avoid it in the future. Conduct a quarterly analysis, as well as a comparison with the year prior. Identify areas of growth that should be flagged for more investment, and mark any lagging parts of your organization for further review.

Budget Strategy and Forecasting with a Group Legal Plan

Once you’ve got a good grip on your finances at the end of the year, it’s time to earmark funds for strategic expenses going forward. Create a budget for purchasing inventory, hiring employees, or investing in new technology. Too many small businesses fail to plan, and investing is done hastily. By planning for the new year, business owners can prioritize investments for the best results.

Forecasting staffing can also be done with the help of an attorney from your group legal plan. They’ll be ready to draft contracts and any other necessary document review, so the on-boarding process is as smooth as possible.

Update Human Resource and Legal Records

Small businesses move at a hectic pace. Often, owners are short-staffed and trying to make things happen to keep the company growing and strong. What often happens, though, is that over the year, some details get overlooked.

The year-end checklist is the perfect time to go over records and make sure everything is up to date. Make sure all of your employees have the correct human resources records and all of the necessary tax documents filled out. If you’re a member of a group legal plan, ask your lawyer to help review records to protect yourself from any legal liability.

Go over any contracts you have with vendors, suppliers, and any third-party services to make sure they haven’t expired. The record review is also an ideal time to identify potential sales and savings opportunities. When contracts expire, it’s a great time to try and negotiate better pricing and a more favorable partnership. You can also mark partner accounts for future sales and marketing efforts.

The After-Action Review (AAR)

During your year-end checklist process, make sure you bring up any major challenges, crises, or emergencies you went through for your year. Too often, we’re so happy to be through a crisis that we’re eager to move on. That prevents owners and employees from learning valuable lessons that come with overcoming a significant challenge.

Whether your business dealt with disruption from a major storm, the folding of a critical partner, severe shrinkage (insider theft), or some other incident, the lessons you draw from reviewing events will help manage a future crisis. An After-Action Review, or AAR, is a tool used by organizations to review events around a significant event. Employers can set guidelines for themselves and employees for how they should be handled in the future. With practice, AARs can improve incident response and avoid large disruptions to your business.

An Attorney Reviews a Document.

Consult Your Lawyer from Your Group Legal Plan

With the help of HELP Legal Plan, small businesses in Philadelphia, PA have access to a network of expert lawyers throughout the year. Your lawyer should be involved in your year-end checklist. As you review the year and map plans for the future, he or she can consult you on how to mitigate legal risk and protect your assets.

Your lawyer can help form new legal entities and make sure you’re compliant with state and federal regulations. Compliance is an important issue for growing businesses pushing into new markets or product lines. With the help of your lawyer, you ensure strategic moves are informed and well-executed.

If you’re interested in joining a group legal plan for your small business, HELP Legal Plan offers a range of valuable services. Each of our members has access to on-call attorneys, and we offer to finance legal fees. Call us at 888-667-6150 to hear more!