Year-End Financial Checklist for Busy Startup Founders

Emilie Pires
5 min read
Year-End Financial Checklist for Busy Startup Founders

You're hard at work to crush your annual goals before the new year begins. But don't overlook the important year-end "housekeeping" tasks for your startup and the ecosystem you've built around it.

Your Employees

✅ Make Sure Any Person You've Granted Incentive Stock Options To Will Receive a W2

Do you have any employees or consultants with deferred compensation — people you've granted incentive stock options who may not receive cash payment during the year through your payroll service? These individuals must receive a W2 for the deferred compensation in this calendar year to claim the compensation down the line. Not sure? Connect with your payroll administrator to confirm everyone's compensation has been properly documented.

✅ Determine & Issue Employee Bonuses

Planning to issue bonuses to employees? Be sure to submit the details to your payroll provider before the last pay cycle of the month! And don't forget, like regular pay, employee bonuses are subject to income tax withholdings.

Track Company Holiday Party Expenses (psst, it's 100% tax deductible)

Did you host a company-wide holiday party, celebratory luncheon or happy hour? Related expenses of full-staff gatherings like these are 100% tax deductible. Be sure you the associated expenses are clearly noted in your accounting system along with the supporting receipts/documentation.

✅ Tidy Up Employee Records & Remove Former Employees from Company Assets

Confirm existing employees' correct home and addresses are up-to-date in your payroll and healthcare platforms. And, make sure former employees have been properly removed from all employee systems, including Slack, perks programs (e.g. gym memberships or app subscriptions), drive access, email alias', profile on company website, etc.

✅ Plan & Schedule Your Annual Business Review

Boost morale, productivity and team unity by sharing real, transparent updates on the "State of the State" of your business with employees. If you're not already practicing this approach, the end of the year (or early next) is a great moment in time to very directly share how your business is tracking against its goals, celebrate big wins and review the financial well-being of the organization with your team. For this, you'll want to leverage your latest cash flow statement, income statement, P&L report and balance sheet.

✅ Budgeting & Planning for The Year Ahead

Leveraging the same documentation that helped construct your annual business review, spend time with your teams to set business goals and budget for programs to help achieve those goals. Find your balance between realistic and optimistic, and think about how you can productively incentivize your teams to reach their stretch goals.

Your Vendors

✅ Settle Outstanding Bills

Make sure you're squared away with all payments due to vendors, partners, contractors and employees before the year closes, and reconcile payments made with your accounting/finance team.

✅ Make Your Vendor Naughty & Nice List

Think you might be paying too much for your Internet service, or want to try and negotiate better insurance rates? Make a list of which vendors you want to reevaluate so you're ready to take action after the holidays.

Your Customers

✅ Collect Outstanding Receivables

Settle all outstanding invoices or payments due to your company before closing the year. This helps ensure you close your books for the year with the most accurate cash balance, and up-to-date data in place when you're working on your 2020 budgets and projections.

✅ Spread Holiday Cheer (& Update Your CRM While You're At It)

A simple note to your customers expressing your gratitude for their business goes a long way. While you wrangle your list of customer contacts, make sure the information matches up in your CRM. Two birds, one stone.

Your Business Taxes

✅ Confirm Your Filing Deadlines

First and foremost, be sure you are clear on when your various business tax filings are due; Quickbooks put together this helpful guide outlining key dates for SMBs in the 2019 tax season. Not sure you'll meet the deadline? Explore filing for an extension with the IRS here.

✅ Connect With (or Consider Hiring) an Accountant/Finance Firm

You should absolutely be leaning on your accountant, bookkeeper, finance firm and/or CPA to ensure your business taxes are properly prepared and filed. Be proactive about scheduling time to discuss your business taxes, and what needs to be prepared for timely, optimized filings, with your accountant.

Looking for support for your startup's bookkeeping, accounting and/or taxes?

At Zeni, we offer a team of finance experts working seamlessly with powerful artificial intelligence dedicated to managing every financial function for your business with speed and accuracy. We offer best-in-class service and pricing for monthly bookkeeping and accounting services, plus a flat fee of $2,000 to complete our customers' annual taxes. Learn more and try Zeni today 🕊

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