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In just a few short days, it will be time to welcome in the New Year. The Holiday Season brings personal and professional obligations, but for retailers, it’s also the busiest time of the year. Even if you’re not in the retail business, you probably have sales goals or other financial metrics to track before 2024 arrives.
Amid all the responsibilities that come with owning a small business, you also need to finalize your bookkeeping for the current year to prepare for the new one. If you’ve been using QuickBooks Online throughout the year, your job will be much easier. However, you should still budget some time for essential year-end tasks.
While it might not be possible to wrap up everything by New Year’s Eve, there are some things you can accomplish during your busy December to get a head start on January.
Analyze 2023 Sales/Income Reports
You may not have your final sales and income figures until the year concludes, but you can get a good start by December. QuickBooks Online offers several reports that provide a clear, comprehensive view of your 2023 sales and net income. By clicking “Reports” in the toolbar, you can run reports to examine your sales based on Class, Customer, Customer Type, and Product/Service.
These reports can be displayed in summary or detail format and are customizable, allowing you to specify date ranges and group results based on criteria such as Transaction Type, Customer, and Account. You can also pull up a P&L Report that is customizable showing you your net income and all expenses recorded for the year. See if anything jumps out at you that might have been categorized incorrectly and work to consolidate expense accounts as much as possible.
Assess Your Accounts Payable
Managing your financial obligations is crucial to maintaining good vendor relations. To determine what still needs to be paid, click “Reports” and navigate to “What you owe.” For a quick overview, run “Unpaid Bills.” For a more detailed perspective, generate the “Accounts Payable Aging Detail Report”, which categorizes your outstanding payables by days past due. Make sure you establish an accounts payable system that ensures all financial obligations are met in a timely fashion.
Assess Your Accounts Receivable
Monitoring unpaid invoices is a year-round concern, but it’s especially important as the end of 2023 approaches. December might not be the ideal time to collect from lagging customers, but it’s important assess where you stand with them. Under the “Reports” tab, look for “Who Owes You” and generate two reports: “Accounts Receivable Aging Detail” and “Open Invoices.”
Consider dedicating some time to brainstorm strategies that could entice customers to settle their outstanding obligations faster. For example, a discount for clients/customers that pay their invoices before the due date.
Create Client Statements
Client statements resemble reports, displaying sales transactions within a specified period. Ultimately, statements serve two purposes. Some customers simply want a list of their invoices and payments for their yearly records. Others may require statements as reminders of overdue invoices. You can create statements by clicking “New” in the upper left corner and selecting “Statement” under “Other.” While there are three types, you’ll most likely create and send the following two:
Open Item Note: This type displays all open, unpaid invoices from the past 365 days.
Transaction Statement Note: This option lists all transactions for the date range you select.
Statements are useful for reminding customers of overdue payments or providing a transaction record for a specific period.
Clean Up Customer and Vendor Lists
If you have only a few customers or vendors, your list is most likely up to date. However, if you’ve been adding customers or vendors for months – or even years – without regularly managing the list, you might be wasting time scrolling through an extensive list. Instead of deleting them, it’s best to simply make them inactive.
Click “Sales” in the toolbar and select “Customers”. If you have inactive customers with no open activity, you can hide them. Simply click the box next to the customer’s name and then click “Batch Actions” in the upper left, followed by “Make Inactive.”
December is a hectic month any way you look at it, and it’s perfectly understandable if you can’t accomplish all these tasks by the year’s end. However, consider adding them to your January to-do list if they remain incomplete. It is also wise to run standard financial reports available in QuickBooks Online Reports, particularly the ones found under “For My Accountant.”
Having regular meetings with your accountant and tax professional throughout the year can help avoid surprises before New Year’s. It will also make life less stressful by being prepared and not cramming everything in at the last second.