Cents and Sensibility

Small Business Checklist

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Whether you are a solo entrepreneur or leading a small business with a bookkeeper on your payroll, it is important to complete the small business checklist before you enter into 2014. Below are a few guidelines to help you end the year on a high note:

Close any inactive businesses.
If you’ve ever registered a business with the state and are no longer in business, you should file for a formal termination with the operating state immediately. In order to terminate a business, you should file an “Certificate of Termination” or “Articles of Dissolution.” Don’t forget to settle any debt you owe the state BEFORE you file for termination.

File an “Articles of Amendment” to record any company change.

In order to keep your LLC/Corporation in good standing with your state, you’ll need to file an “Articles of Amendment.” If you changed your business address, phone number, or board members, for example, be sure to submit changes as soon as possible.

Prepare for Year-End Tax Reporting.

Shaun Coard, senior vice president/business banking manager at Wells Fargo Bank, stated: “Be sure that your business’s tax records for the year are in order and make sure you know filing dates so you can plan ahead. Find out if there’s anything you can do to minimize the taxes you’ll owe before the end of the year. Temporary tax incentives available to business owners through Section 179 of the 2012 Taxpayer Relief Act are scheduled to expire on December 31. For business owners, it may be more cost efficient to upgrade or purchase new equipment in 2013 than waiting until January.”

Create your 2014 budget and sales projections and analyze your business cash flow. Develop your annual business budget and update your sales projections for next year. The most important thing to understand is how many sales you need to make every 30 days to cover expenses and earn a profit. This 30-day sales goal can help put your revenues into perspective by showing you the amount of money you need to make each month.

Dr. Karen Ratliff

About Dr. Karen Ratliff

Dr. Ratliff is a certified life coach and professional educator, assisting many people in accomplishing financial, career, and educational goals.  She is also the author of “Tightening Your Bootstraps: 104 Tips to Kick Your Debt to the Curb Now.” Keep up with her budgetary advice via Twitter @drkarenratliff and her website

(Bills in paper nail on business desk via Shutterstock)