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The Business of Reflection and Resolution: Preparing for the New Year

Though we didn’t see another Super Bowl win in 2019, the year was nothing to sneeze at for Philadelphians. We welcomed top free agent Bryce Harper to the Phillies and lined up in droves for Broadway’s award-winning show Hamilton. Plus, Society Hill’s Zahav was named the best restaurant in the country.
 
December presents an excellent opportunity to reflect on the year that was and plan for the new one upon us – not only in terms of one’s personal life, but in business as well. Likely, many of the region’s busy small to midsized business owners did not get the opportunity to see Bryce hit a homerun, crowd into the Forrest Theater or dine at Zahav. Successful business owners hustle around the clock, often working with customers, handling the books, managing human resources, planning inventory and more.
 
As the year closes, these busy business owners should take the time to reflect on their business’s performance. Did the business meet its profit projections? If not, why not? What changes can and should be made in terms of staffing, inventory, accounting or customer service?
 
Whether the business had a good or bad year, change may be helpful. Business owners should review their accounting software, inventory tools, vendor lists and more to make sure these choices not only continue to make sense in terms of budget, but also continue to be the best option available for the business. New technology hits the market every day that can greatly ease burdens on business owners and help them run their business smoothly.
 
A major provider of accounting tools for small businesses, QuickBooks®, offers a year-end checklist for business owners. They suggest the following:
 
  • Accounting –  Business owners should run and review a profit/loss statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. They should review cash flow including investments, revenue and expenses, as well as loans. Further, they should reconcile accounts receivable and review payroll and benefits.
  • Technology ­­– Business owners should be sure their data and contacts are backed up and protected. Files and reports should be downloaded and backed up as well.
  • Human Resources – Business owners should consider bonuses for 2019, review staffing needs for 2020, and be sure to recognize accomplishments.
 
Finally, QuickBooks also mentions that business owners should recount inventory and compare it with previous counts, as well as review their company’s website. Aside from these recommendations, business owners should talk to their accountants for any last-minute tax advice.
 
As for the year ahead, it’s important for business owners to set goals. Where do they see the business next year, in 2025 or beyond? What do they need to do to get there? Is this the year they will focus on customer service, accounting controls, beefing up staff or expanding to a new facility – or all of the above? Business owners should plan out their expenses for 2020 where possible and consider whether they plan to invest in new equipment, technology, staff, marketing or something else.
 
Aside from all of those responsibilities, it’s key for business owners to resolve to set time for themselves in 2020. Maybe this year, they can set aside time to take in that Phillies game, see a show or have a nice meal out on the town.