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The Procrastinator’s Guide to Finalizing Your 2015 End of Year Finances

The Procrastinator's Guide to Finalizing Your 2015 End of Year Finances

The end of the year can be a stressful time for small business owners, because you have to deal with lots of issues and challenges from every direction. You need to keep making payroll and keep getting paid, while dealing with the holiday shopping season (if you run a retail business), and maintaining your year-end cash flow (at a time of year when clients are often out of the office and slow to pay bills) while also balancing today’s needs with other financial goals like maximizing your tax savings, socking away extra money into your retirement plan and preparing for a strong start to the New Year ahead. And all this while trying to keep your friends and family happy by purchasing gifts and attending holiday parties!

It’s no wonder that so many business owners tend to procrastinate when wrapping up their year-end finances. Fortunately, even if you haven’t made all the financial moves that you ideally would have made by this point in 2015, it’s not too late. There are still lots of beneficial things you can do, starting today, to put your business in a better position for financial success in 2016.

Here are some quick tools, tips and hacks to finalize the fiscal year and close out 2015’s books on a positive note:

Track Your Business Expenses

One of the top items on your year-end to-do list is to track your business expenses. By keeping track of business expenses, you’ll be better prepared to file your tax return at tax time, and you’ll be able to have a better sense for where you’re spending money and whether or not it’s worth it. Having a clear sense of your business expenses will help you make better informed business decisions about where to invest your money and which business expenses and business activities are delivering the biggest return on investment.

Here are a few business expense tracking tools that you should consider using for your company’s year-end planning:

  • Expensify is a hassle-free expense-reporting tool that can be used by business owners and employees to track their business expenses.
  • InDinero is a one-stop service for accounting, business expense tracking and other back-office functions – it offers proprietary accounting software and higher-level accounting services for small businesses of all sizes – with as few as 1 employee.

Re-evaluate Your Inventory Management

For any small retail business, inventory management can make the difference between success and failure. Knowing when to buy more inventory, liquidate your existing inventory, restock or discount or otherwise adjust your levels of inventory can give your business the competitive edge that you need. However, until fairly recently, small businesses were at a disadvantage compared to bigger retailers because they were not able to have the same degree of visibility into their inventory and they could not benefit from just-in-time inventory logistics.

Fortunately, today there are powerful online tools to help business owners make better informed decisions about inventory management:

  • Skyware Inventory is a web-based inventory management tool for small to mid-sized businesses. It’s free for one user and $10 per month for each additional user.
  • Brightpearl is retail management software that includes inventory, orders, finances and more in a single online system. Brightpearl gives you the insights to accelerate growth.

Get Paid Faster

One of the best ways to boost your cash flow is to make sure you get paid faster – and one of the best ways to do this is to send invoices more quickly and efficiently.

  • FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting tool that lets business owners send invoices and track which ones have been paid. This tool is a great way to avoid unpaid bills and keep track of late payments – you can even send a friendly reminder to customers to ask them to pay their bill.
  • Xero is an alternative to QuickBooks that describes itself as “beautiful accounting software” which helps business owners send invoices, track expenses, view transactions, project cash flow and manage your business’ overall financial picture, while also sharing relevant data with your financial adviser or accountant.

Make More Sales

You can’t run a business without making sales. So why do so many business owners still rely on inaccurate and outdated methods of managing customer relationships and tracking prospective customers? There are lots of great online tools on the market to help business owners boost their sales with smarter customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

  • Insightly is a CRM system that is specifically intended to be used by small businesses. The design is simple, with features focused on helping small businesses maximize their sales opportunities and close sales more efficiently. Insightly gives you everything you need to track prospective buyers, manage contacts with customers throughout the sales process and hand project management tasks among your sales team. You’ll enjoy better transparency and big-picture visibility of your entire sales process – and hopefully boost your sales results!
  • Salesforce is one of the world’s most recognized CRM systems – but it’s not just for big companies! The Salesforce Small Business CRM gives even the smallest companies powerful tools to help build customer relationships and sell more efficiently. Their CRM & Contact Management Software delivers tools to find more sales leads, save time by automating various marketing tasks, boost your revenues and retain existing customers.

The end of the year is a good time to re-evaluate your overall business financial management, track down your business expenses, get your books in order and start to think about how to create a good foundation for sales success in the New Year ahead.

For more ideas and examples of excellent online tools to drive productivity and profitability in all facets of your business, check out our FREE Kabbage eBook, “The Big List of 40+ Business Tools That Will Make You Productive, Organized, and Efficient.”

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.