Whether you have a startup, a small business or a large enterprise, chances are the year has passed at the speed of light for you. You were designing your marketing campaigns, availing opportunities for growth and looking through reports when the year-end arrived. While people dedicate this time of the year to holiday delights and festivities, this also happens to be the perfect time to do a review of your finances whether you are just an individual with a 9 to 5 job or a small business. Why should you spend your end of the year for a financial review? Here are the top reasons.
A Strong Visual of Your Financial Standing
The most important thing about a year-end financial review is that it gives you a complete visual of where your business is standing at the moment. Everything that has happened throughout the year is now in the reports before your eyes. You can look at the reports and see what has performed and what has not performed. You must have put a lot of money into marketing your products, services and the brand as a whole. You can now see which of those campaigns have yielded good results and which of them have proved to be futile.
Same goes for your account receivables. Compare your account receivables with those from the previous years and see if there has been any increase or decrease. If there is an abnormal increase, it is a telltale sign that you might need to change your payment plan or push more to receive your pending payments faster. Every activity you have done in the past year has painted a picture, which is now in front of you. Whether you grew as a business, stagnated or receded is clear at the end of the year.
The Best Time to Set New Goals
Based on how you performed in the preceding year and whether or not you have achieved your set targets and goals, you can set goals for the coming year. Your previous year's performance should clarify how you have to set your targets for the coming year. Keep them realistic yet motivating and challenging enough to leave room for hard work, struggle, and progress. Not only should you be looking at how successful you were in achieving previous year's goals, you should also pay attention to your current financial standing.
Best Time to Apply for Loans and Credit Processing Services
Regardless of how long you have been in business for when you go and apply for certain services, the service providers take a look at your previous year's performance. Let's say, for example, that you want to apply for a merchant account (maybe a high-risk one) so you can start processing credit card requests for your customers. When you approach a merchant account provider, they will ask for some history of your business activities-at least 3 months. By the end of the year, you have enough data to show to lenders and credit processing services to convince them to do business with you.
Of course, a financial review will give you a good look at whether you have done enough to impress these service providers or not. You can apply for these services with a quarterly credit history as well, but in most cases, it will not be considered sufficient.
Best Time to Get Your Tax Files in Sync
Yes, you have been extra careful about your tax filing and preparation the whole year, but the overall integrity of your records still has a question mark on it. It is extremely important for you to prepare your tax files at the end of the year and calculate your liability with utmost accuracy. While tax preparation software have made the job much easier, complex tax files still need attention from your personal accountants to get everything in sync. Now, the important thing here is that a review does not only help you escape penalties that you might attract by putting wrong information on your file. You want to update your information at the end of the year because you want to accurately calculate your own benefits too e.g. tax credits, exemptions, standard deductions, itemized deductions, etc.
Time to Start Afresh
Your business might not have been a very successful venture. In fact, many businesses don't make the best start and it seems in the beginning that it would be difficult for the business to survive. However, small changes in strategies and cuts in costs can prove to be greatly beneficial for businesses. The best time to start afresh and renew all your reports and files is the end of the year. While you can change your strategies and plans midway too, it is natural for most humans to feel the need for a new start at the start of a new year. For example, people can decide to lose weight at any time of the year, but it seems it makes the most sense to them when they do it at the start of a new year.
If you think your business has not performed really well, but you still want to give it a shot, the end of year financial review can clear the path for you by telling you if you can afford to give it another shot or not.
There is definitely no restriction on when you want to make changes to your business plans and strategies. However, people find it natural and more motivating to set new goals, learn from past mistakes and make new moves when a new year starts. Throughout the year your main goal is to keep the ball rolling. However, it is at the end of the year that you have enough data collected from all your business operations and activities to know how fruitful your efforts were, which efforts you should consider in future and the expenses have been keeping you from progressing. In short, a financial review at the end of the year helps you make new and important decisions for your business.
Article by Pierre Jean-Claude, EzineArticles