Making the most of 2009’s misery

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Making the most of 2009’s misery

By Anna MaskerIn standard30th December, 2009

The last holiday presents have been unwrapped—now it is time to think about wrapping up 2009. It hasn’t been a banner year for many companies but there are some things you can do to make the most of 2009’s misery and make sure you are prepared for 2010.

Here are a few things that you need to do before the end of the year:

Want cash fast? Get your books in order. If your business sustained a loss in 2009, you want to get your books in order so that you can quickly turn them over to your accountant and get your rebate for any overpayments. To do this, reconcile your bank statements, clean up your chart of accounts and re-categorize anything that made it into the “Uncategorized or Miscellaneous Expenses.” You will save a lot of money by doing this yourself before you turn your books over to your accountant. If you are at a loss on where to begin, book clean-ups are one of our specialties. We can do it at significant cost savings from having your CPA do it, and we pride ourselves in our accurate, quick turnarounds.

Call your accountant—now. There are many attractive tax incentives available that expire after December 31st. Check with your accountant and share your preliminary results for 2009 and what you expect to happen in 2010. A little proactive planning can save you big bucks.

Put the pencil to the paper and hash out your strategic plan for 2010. These coming weeks are typically slow for most businesses and are a perfect time to reflect on the year and determine what will do differently next year. The pencil and paper (or Word document or Excel spreadsheet) is key. Don’t just think about what you are going to do, create a record of it.

Put numbers to it. Any plan in theory– good. A written plan– better. A plan with numbers in it– best. Having the discipline to set up a plan using numbers (e.g. how many customers will it take to make $X in sales, what kind of marketing expense will that require etc.) will make your plan real—and realistic. We’re big fans of dynamic budgeting—a budget that changes with reality—because we know it is an important discipline to incorporate the numbers while running your business. Ask anyone who has put together an operating budget—not only are they surprised a how much it cost to run day to day operations, but they always have an “ah-ha” moment when they see where they are spending their money. At a loss how to create a plan?

With all hope, 2010 will be a better year than 2009 for most companies. Spend the time now to plan so you can start the new year off on the right foot.

Happy New Year!

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