End of year can be upon you in the blink of an eye – and oh gawd the stress!! When I first started out with Pocket Admin, I was utterly confused about why everyone was getting so worked up about end of year. Isn’t end of year just about setting closure dates for Christmas? Um, no, I’m afraid not. If you want a relaxing break and to launch into a successful new year, there is a lot you need to get done. It’s ok, I’ve prepped this handy list and end of year cheat sheet to help you navigate your Christmas wrap up!
Start your new year fresh and confident! In no particular order, here’s a list of end of year tasks that you should be doing in your business so that you can see out the year with some light-hearted holiday cheer rather than a horrific holiday freak out:
1. DECIDE ON YOUR CLOSURE DATES
This is the easy bit (and probably the most exciting!). Closure dates should be chosen nice and early so that you can start making plans around those dates. When deciding on your closure dates, take a look at what your clients may be doing, or ask around to get an idea of best practice. If it’s an extended closure or a closure that is longer than that of your clients’ closures then you need to seriously consider how you will ensure they’ll not be inconvenienced – this comes into play in your deadlines.
2. CHOOSE YOUR DEADLINES
Once your closure dates are chosen, you can start planning how the rest of the working year will play out. This is the point where you estimate how much time you’ll need to get client work done, on time or ahead of time, or to prepare and post customer orders. Decide on an EXACT date for final work submissions or purchases required before Christmas. Always try to allow a few days of non-client work before Christmas to fit in the bits and pieces you need to get done for YOUR business.
3. ARE YOU CONTACTABLE DURING CLOSURE?
Totally up to you, this can depend on your business and its clients. Quite often businesses will have closure but will appoint a “skeleton crew” or be available for emergencies. Have a ponder about whether you’ll be available or whether you’re going to set an auto-message in your emails and ignore your phone.
4. ANNOUNCE YOUR CLOSURES, DEADLINES, AND AVAILABILITIES
When you announce these is up to you – best practice would be end of November or beginning of December, especially when accompanied by strict deadlines, otherwise people may forget! You’ll want to include it on your social media pages (pin to the top or put it in your cover photo), newsletters, email signature, and letters.
5. CHASE UP OUTSTANDING INVOICES
Christmas is the absolute WORST time to go into without income. You work hard and deserve that income, so it’s important that you chase up outstanding invoices. You need to start working on this as early as possible, but certainly in November if you can, to allow time for payment to come through.
6. SORT YOUR ACCOUNTS PAYABLE
Don’t go into the holiday season with unnecessary debts hanging over your head. November should also be a time for you to go through statements from creditors to see what is outstanding, request copies of their invoices, and make payments! How great would it be to start the New Year with a clean slate!
7. RECONCILE YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS AND CREDIT CARDS
Get this stuff all sorted, particularly if you’re dealing with BAS. You really don’t want to come back to a heap of accounts work in January. Try and get all receipts and invoices for most of December in the accounts system ready and raring to be reconciled as soon as you get back.
8. IS IT TIME FOR A FEE INCREASE?
This really depends on when you prefer to do this kind of thing. It’s common to make decisions about fee increases either at the end of the year or the end of the financial year. If you’d prefer to work by calendar year, now is the time to take stock of your profit margin and decide whether it’s time to give it a boost.
9. MAKE SURE YOU'RE STOCKED UP
What are you going to need to see through this end of year process? Think right down to copier paper and pens or whatever you need to meet orders. There’s nothing worse than hitting your stride and then having to stop and come back to something. Be ready to go, go, GO! Don’t forget that you’re approaching a whole new year – take stock of your inventory and replenish things now.
10. GET CLIENT AND EMPLOYEE GIFTS TOGETHER
Naturally, this is optional but a lot of small businesses these days love to shower employees and clients with end of year love and appreciation. If you’re doing this, get stuck into the research and purchasing early November to allow for the goods to reach you, be wrapped up, and sent to clients well before their business closure date. This includes cards! Aim to send these things off right at the beginning of December.
11. UPDATE CLIENT AND EMPLOYEE INFORMATION
End of year is a great time to make sure all your client and employee contact and payment data is up to date. Set the deadline to be a few days before end of year, to ensure you have time to complete the data entry. And don’t stress – your clients are flat out with end of year as well, if they don’t get back to you, the earth WON’T plunge into the sun. It’s just a good yearly habit to get into!
12. DO YOUR END OF YEAR NEWSLETTER
Most small businesses will be doing regular newsletters. Your end of year one will have a lot of information about closures, commencement of services in the new year, perhaps a re-cap of the year and a teaser of what’s to come in the new year. Make it a special edition!
13. BACK UP YOUR COMPUTERS
When it comes to technology, always consider Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
You should be backing up your computers every WEEK, but I know time can escape you. I honestly can’t imagine anything worse than coming back from holidays to discover my entire business has essentially been wiped from existence due to some kind of failure. Get your data onto a cloud-based server and save it onto an external hard drive that you keep in a safe. Go full paranoid – this is your BUSINESS we’re talking about!
14. GET THAT FILING FILED!
Yeah, I hate it just as much as you do, but filing has to be done. We’re all guilty of letting it stockpile, so now is the time to gather it all up and just get it done. If it’s a fair whack of stuff, it’s probably best to set aside a filing day after client deadlines are done and dusted. Put on some snazzy music and dance the files away!
15. REVIEW YOUR YEAR'S GOALS
It might seem silly, but it’s good to sit down and review your year’s goals. Did you meet them? Exceed them? Lag behind? Print financial reports to assess whether you achieved the profit / income you had planned, where you’ve been over-spending, and whether the marketing paid for met your needs. No matter what type of goal, reviewing is a self-audit that can help you to determine what it is you need to do next year to either replicate or improve the results.
16. SET NEXT YEAR'S GOALS
This covers all types of goals – financial, growth, marketing … all of it. If you want to confidently launch into the new year rather than aimlessly stumble, this is a critical task. This is the time that you decide what you want to keep working at from this year and what you’d like to achieve next year. Try to set a brand new goal, something exciting to strive for, that’s a little out of the ordinary. After all, a business should never become stagnant, it should grow and evolve!
17. SPRING (SUMMER) CLEAN!
Yeah, this feels like a silly addition but seriously … who doesn’t love coming back to a fresh, clean office?? Again, skipping this one if you’re time-poor won’t plunge us into the sun, but just think … fresh… office ..OMG!
18. SET YOUR AWAY MESSAGES
Don’t bolt out the door until this is done or you’ll risk returning to an almighty headache! Make sure your inbox is set up to send auto-messages notifying of your closure. Set auto-messages in your social media page messages as well.
YOUR FREE CHEAT SHEET
Now for the free cheat sheet! This can be changed to suit your own business’s needs but serves as a brilliant guide and starting point to get your end of year ORGANISED!