The end of the year can stimulate emotions of excitement, heightened anticipation, and anxiety. Are you stressed out or cool as a cucumber? While some people look forward to vacations and visiting family, others run from pillar to post shopping, cooking, or closing out accounting books.
Your personal plans for the end of the year depend on your job, the size of your family, whether you are enrolled in school, and your individual goals. One thing is certain, big-city roads are congested with traffic during the holiday season.
If you want to shop for food or gifts, try to do so as far away from the holidays as possible. Barring that, an early hour during the weekdays has relatively less congestion than late afternoon or early evening. Perhaps, like many people, you do more shopping online. This can reduce time and prevent fender benders. The checklist below is not exhaustive. Some may apply to you. Others may not. This is meant to stimulate ideas.
- Use Costco warehouse reward certificate
- Vehicle registration
- Utilize year-end company budget balance
- Make tax-deductible purchases
- Organize your passwords
- Register expiring credit cards
- Get employee gifts
- Restock depleted inventory
- Year-end accounting
- Take a vacation
☑️ Use Costco Warehouse Reward Certificate
Costco issues annual Reward Certificates with the February statement. As a member, perhaps you spend yours right away. Or perhaps you file them away and forget about them (like me) until December. Remember, they expire on the las day of each year.
☑️ Vehicle Registration
If you are a past recipient of a year-end automobile closeout, your vehicle registration is likely due in January. Missing the due date can raise the fee exponentially. Penalties increase every 10 days. If time is getting away from you, register online.
☑️ Spend Year-End Company Budget Wisely
Many large companies issue departmental expense budgets. If you have one, you wisely spread it out over the year. In December, what do you do with the balance? Often times there is a use-it-or-lose-it clause.
Is there something you can use for the office? Take a look at the ClinicalPosters One-Click Bundles. Your accounting department may thank you for the tax-deductible purchases.
☑️ Organize Your Passwords
A surprising number of people use the same simple password for everything. Even worse, some write different passwords on sticky notes bordering their computer screens. Modern operating systems like MacOS and iOS can generate and save strong passwords in the cloud. This offers simplicity but dedicated solutions like 1Password or mSecure provide cross-platform support. With a password manager, you can create long, strong passwords without remembering them. Just lock them all behind one password that you do remember.
Speaking of passwords, do you know yours for this website? Your password for the ClinicalPosters site can be set or changed by clicking “Forgot my password” in the login screen. A confirmation email is then sent to account holder with reset instructions.
☑️ Register Expiring Credit Cards
It can be frustrating and embarrassing to finally get to the checkout counter, only to realize that the card you hand to the cashier has expired. Fortunately, many can be activated with a mobile phone—if you are carrying the new one with the activation sticker. Likely, you will need to step aside while enduring sneers from those in line behind you.
After activation, you may need to revisit websites that save your card information in order to update the expiration date. Use the notation field in your password manager software to indicate which sites have it. In case you're wondering, ClinicalPosters does not save credit card numbers with customer accounts.
☑️ Get Employee Gifts
Many hard-working employees look forward to year-end expressions of appreciation. Some companies also send gifts to valued customers. Customized gifts may require planning 6 or more weeks in advance. In-store quantities can run low at the last minute. ClinicalPins mare great gifts for practically everyone.
☑️ Restock Depleted Inventory
Business owners with few SKUs generally try to manufacture enough product to both keep up with demand and lower the cost of goods. Typically, you projected for enough inventory to last 90 days—provided the items have sufficient shelf life. When offering a wide variety of merchandise, you may end up stocking a few of each SKU.
Some vendors issue annual merchandise increases in January. If your stock is running low, make certain you order what you need with the current price reduction. Before doing so, check with your accounting department. Inventory is not really a tax deduction. It is considered a negative asset. Basically, it is like transferring money to an investment account. In this case, you may be able to realize an additional 3 to 10 percent return.
☑️ Year-End Accounting
During the close of the year, accountants are busy educating themselves about new tax laws. Small business owners are burying themselves in receipts, bank statements, bar charts, and analytics. Consider improvements to your bookkeeping system. If you already have great accounting software, how about scheduling a training class? While perusing P&L statements, evaluate whether the products or services you offer require modification or supplementation.
☑️ Take a Vacation
Buying same-month travel tickets or hotel reservations during holiday seasons is a great way to spend more than you ever want to spend on a vacation. If you find yourself out in the cold, so to speak, consider a stay-cation this year. Visit neglected local attractions and perhaps dine at a fancy restaurant. Then book travel arrangements for next year with a steep discount for early planning.
Whatever you do, do something. Use this checklist as a starting point. Add your personal items and be prepared for a stress-free new year.
- Small Business Year-End Checklist. thebalancesmb.com
- Year End Accounting Checklist for Small Businesses. lyfemarketing.com
- The Best Places to Travel in December. travelandleisure.com
- Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst