Was it good to your business?…a “growth” year?…a “development” year?…the “payoff” year?
Regardless, if you want to continue to build momentum into 2012, some 2011 housekeeping duties will put you in a good position for the New Year. Just a couple of items that come up about this time of year that might be easy to overlook.
My short-list of end-of-year reminders:
1) Are you a Sub-S Corp? Then you need to pay your shareholder (usually you) at least once a year to meet your legal commitment. It can be a dollar or $1,000 but if you overlook this…then the IRS will start looking at you. Call your accountant and share with them an estimated profit/loss comparison, you write yourself a check, and they will file this report for you electronically. Done! This may vary according to the state you’re in, but call and ask either the IRS or your accountant for the details. Not a Sub-S?…maybe you’re a Sole Proprietor?…Incorporated?…and LLC? There may be a similar consideration you overlooked before. It won’t hurt to check.
2) Download bank and credit records before Dec 31st. Some of these financial institutions may cut off the easy download of data after that. My bank cuts off access every three months. Most credit card companies will let you download your month-by-month transactions into a QuickBooks, Microsoft Money, or Quicken format right from your accounting software up until the end of the year. Failure to do so could result in you having to manually enter each individual transaction for your tax return. I haven’t…uh…had to uh…do that…but I’ve er, ah…heard it’s time-consuming.
3) Back up any and every file on your computer that constitutes personal data, creative effort, or irreplaceable information. Programs can be re-installed, but not that demo file you worked so hard on. All those recordings your clients are expecting you to keep archived, and invoices, documents, and personal letters or emails may be part of your business record you’ll need to prove binding agreements and a trail of decisions. I recommend Carbonite for a seamless, painless, inexpensive, behind-the-scenes back-up of important files all year round. Now might be a good time to defragment and do some file housekeeping to optimize your hard drives, too.
4) Get paid for 2011’s work in 2011. Send out those invoices, follow-up reminders and maybe not-so-gentle notices to clients who still have not coughed up the compensation for the hard work you did in…August?…September? This is YOUR business, of course, but don’t let someone take advantage of you with hair-brain excuses.
5) Take advantage of Santa. Need something for your Studio? Hey!…you’re hard to buy for!…so tell your loved-one what it is you really need to make you happy for Christmas. Online sales are through the roof…many are offering free shipping, and unbelievable Holiday deals. Ebay sales also increase this time of year, as people dump stuff they don’t need to get cash for buying gifts. Search for and bid on that TLM-103 you wanted. Some vendors are planning new products for 2012, and are trying to dump 2011’s inventory. I’m just sayin’.
Honorable mention: Start thinking about 2012. In the back of your head, what did you do right, where did you fail, and what do you want to put on your VO New Year’s resolution for 2012? These things need to percolate. Get the creative and analytical juices flowing so you can come up with a realistic list of goals for the new year. I’ll revisit this final admonition later in December.
What did I miss?