By late December, Q4 is, as they say, “all over but the shouting.” Take a few minutes each day, between checking your sales stats, to check off a financial task so you won’t be overwhelmed in January. You’ll need a checklist broken down into manageable, bite-size pieces.

Using the checklist below, you can get started today:

-Meet with your tax preparer before year end. If you have anything unusual that you need to clarify, ask how it will impact your taxes. Taking action before year end gives you more flexibility.

-Make a list of your Bank Statements & Credit cards.

-Download a copy of your statements for each month in 2021 (or make sure you have a paper copy in your file).

-Look at your QBO or Xero accounts. Make sure you have your coding up to date for the bank feeds. If you’re behind, break the task down into one account a day.

-Reconcile your bank statements for months January-November. Do one month at a time if you’re behind. Work it month by month instead of account by account to ensure transactions between accounts are recorded properly and don’t create an issue going forward.

-Review your owner pay. If you’re a Sole Proprietor or LLC, do you have your owner draws recorded on your balance sheet? If you are an S-Corp, do you have payroll recorded for your salary on your P&L statement?

-Look at your expenses. Have you included a payee name on all money leaving your business? Most bank statements now provide check images. Look back at what you have downloaded if necessary. If you have many of these, then break up your list to look at them month by month.

-Read this IRS flyer. It will help you understand how to handle 1099 filing:

-Review vendor payments. Pull a vendor report from your software or make a list from your bank statements and take note of vendors that you paid more than $600. Are these payments for incorporated businesses? If they could be construed as an independent contractor or if they were made to an attorney, ask for a W-9 to ensure you have their information correct and can file a 1099 in January if needed.

-Take a look at your loans and how they are reflected on your books. Do you have the loan principal listed on your balance sheet? Have you recorded the principal payments against that loan? Do you have the interest recorded as an interest expense on the P&L?

-Review your mileage. Do you have your business mileage documented? Have you paid yourself for business mileage? Suggestion: On January 1, take a picture of your odometer to ensure you have a starting point for your mileage for 2022.

-Gather home office deductions. Organize the documents for your expenses such as utilities, property taxes, insurance, etc.

-Ensure you have the correct information documented for your inventory:

*Pull the Amazon report and pull an IL inventory report

*Take note of what you may have prepaid or items that are in transit and record their values

*Take a physical count of items in your warehouse or garage

-Complete unfinished coding and reconciliations. Put the finishing touches on any coding or reconciliations that must be done in January.

-Run your P&L and Balance Sheet from your accounting system and ensure that it makes sense. Look at the inventory values—do they make sense with your count reports? Compare to last year. Anything too high or low? Anything missing? Does it reflect the “reality” of your year?

-File your 1099’s before January 31, 2022. Your bookkeeper or CPA can help and there are many services that offer online filing. Our favorite is Track1099:

-Get your information to your accountant and let them do their magic.

While you are in numbers mode, consider your goals for next year and take time to do a forecast for 2022. Ask yourself—What are you trying to achieve? How do your goals show up in your projections? Make sure your plan is solid from the financial side too. Take care of these things now, and your 2022 will be off to a great start!