Winter is officially over and spring has arrived with sunshine, flowers and longer days. This is one of my favorite times of the year. Throwing open the windows and letting in the fresh blossom-filled air, reminds all of us of renewal and new beginnings. We may also be thinking of giving our living spaces a deep cleaning. But what about your business? Could it also use a spring cleaning?
Many of us are basking in the relief of the end of tax season. How did this tax season treat you? Did you feel like you had a good handle on things or were you pulling out your hair? Right now, the last thing you may feel like doing is thinking about the headaches that you have finally put behind you. But here at BBB, we’ve found that looking back and making needed adjustments is essential to preventing future chaos. Even small changes can lead to big benefits come tax time. So how can you spring clean your business?
Review your Processes
Processes ultimately determine the end result. Sometimes we don’t see that our processes need revision until everything comes to head, say when we’re trying to file our taxes. For example, what are your processes for onboarding new clients, employees, or contractors? What about retrieving receipts for business expenses? One process that can save you a lot of time around year-end is making sure that you receive a completed W-9 form before issuing payment to a new contractor. Implementing this small change to your process can save you hours at year-end.
Did you spend a lot of time this past year, tracking down necessary documents? Maybe you received that W-9 from your contractor but couldn’t find it when you needed it for filing 1099s. Did you misplace a lot of receipts? The issue in these scenarios is organization. Creating an organization system requires an investment of time up front but pays off in the long run. We recommend implementing a paperless system. For details on how this can be accomplished see our blog on Going Paperless Marie Kondo Style.
Analyze Business Components
Spring cleaning your home usually means throwing out or donating items that you no longer use. This concept could be applied to your business by accessing your books and reviewing anything that is no longer in use or not performing in the way that you would want. For example, are there services that you provide that aren’t resulting in the kind of income that you would expect? Are you paying for tools or services that aren’t resulting in the desired benefit? The result of your evaluation may not be to throw them out entirely but perhaps to change the way they are utilized. Either way, you will gain from taking a second look.
Create a Schedule
A common occurrence among busy business owners is the scramble at year-end to catch up on reconciliations and other necessary tasks. When your CPA or tax professional requested reports, how did you feel? Were your reports ready to go or even nearly ready? If you’d been procrastinating working on your books, the feeling was probably something like not cleaning your house for months and then realizing that all your friends are coming over tomorrow – Complete and utter panic! The solution to both scenarios is the same. You need a schedule for maintaining cleanliness regularly. The first step, of course, is creating a schedule for entering bills, invoices, completing reconciliations, etc. The second and possibly more challenging step is to stick to that schedule. But what if you can’t find the time in your schedule? This brings us to our next point…
Work with an Advisor
Have you ever been doing some spring cleaning and thought, “I should really be doing this more often, but I just don’t have the time”? Maybe your next idea is to hire someone to help you stay on top of those tasks that seem to always get put on the back burner. For your business, this is definitely something to consider. Businesses who work with an advisor are much more likely to be successful. Perhaps you’ve only considered your need for an advisor in the thick of the year-end chaos, but having an advisor yields benefits all year. Your advisor is there to help you prepare and analyze your business continuously so that your decisions all along are in line with your overall goals.
Keeping your business clean and organized is essential to maintaining a sense of well being in your professional life. At BBB, we enjoy working with proactive business owners to not just maintain their books but also to help guide them toward their goals. Please feel free to contact us to start a conversation on how our advisory services can improve your business and your life.