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Concentrate on making 2013 a great year for your business by putting a quick close on 2012.

Dec 30Dave Saunders

2012 is drawing to a close and it is time to start focusing on growing your business profitably in 2013.  For many small and mid-size businesses, however, it might be three months before the books are closed on 2012, operating results are reported and the related tax liabilities are understood.  Maintaining such extended concentration on the prior year can dilute the business owner’s focus on growing their business in the current year and, with taxes being such a material cash outflow, not understanding payments required for the prior year can disrupt plans for investment and owner distributions.

This year, make it a resolution to put 2012 to rest quickly so that you can focus 100% of your energy and passion on making 2013 a great year. Before the end of January, you should have in your hands:

  1. A closed set of 2012 books, complete with reconciliations for every balance sheet account.
  2. A P&L that highlights 2012 performance versus budget and versus 2011.
  3. An analysis of your compliance versus debt covenants as of December 31, 2012.
  4. Year-end reviews for each of your executives, managers and staff.  With fresh and accurate financial information in hand, it is a great time to praise, reward and hold your employees accountable for the impact they had on 2012 business performance.
  5. An estimate of your federal and state income tax liabilities due on April 15th, reflecting both your final payment for 2012 and your 1st quarter estimated payment for 2013.
  6. A cash flow forecast for the first six to twelve weeks of 2013.
  7. SMART Goals for 2013, starting with where you want to be in three months, six months, does cialis keep you awake a year and three years.  Translate your SMART Goals into measurable objectives that can be distributed to your team in the format of sales plans, departmental budgets, profit targets and cash flow plans.  Providing your team with measurable objectives early in the year both aligns them with your goals sooner and focuses their energy and commitment where it will produce the highest return for your business.
  8. An investment and resource plan for 2013.

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