Just like there are life hacks and morning routines that lead to great success, there are certain annual financial routines successful entrepreneurs use loyally – but keep close to the vest.
After years of working with business owners every day, I’ve curated an annual financial routines checklist that I myself strictly abide by at the turn of every year, and today I’m sharing it with you.
Coordinating your business and personal financials is hard. Implementing time-tested and leveraged routines can make a massive difference!
There are certain things that you absolutely have to have done by December 31. Follow our checklist and not only wrap up 2021 powerfully, get yourself synched to your goals and launch yourself into 2022 with momentum!
To Complete Your Financials in 2021
- File 2021 investment performance reports in your cloud storage
- Make all 2021 charitable contributions by 12/31/21 – they absolutely don’t count for 2021 if you make them late. Charitable giving remains another timeless tactic for offsetting taxable capital gains you may want or need to report, as well as any other extra taxable income you may be incurring.
- Maximize your tax-deferred contributions to your 401(k), Roth IRA, or Traditional IRA. Technically you can make Roth and Traditional IRA contributions until you file your 2021 tax return, but 401(k) contributions cannot be late.
- Update your Net Worth Statement – that’s the most important number in your financial life right now! To do this you’ll need…
- Credit card statements
- All current loan balances
- Investment statements
- An estimate of the fair market value of your home
- I tend to not include things like jewelry, cars and cash in the bank since you’re probably NOT going to sell the jewels or cars and use the proceeds to live off of and you’re probably going to spend the cash in the bank.
- Consider harvesting any losses in your after tax accounts (selling investments at a loss)
- Consider increasing your savings rate
- Consider a Roth conversion
- Maximize your Health Savings Account contributions
- Use Flexible Spending Account balances before you lose them
- If you borrowed from your future self by withdrawing from or not adding to your retirement reserves, please consider establishing a disciplined schedule for paying yourself back
- If you became accustomed to spending less on items you used to think you couldn’t live without, try directing those former expenditures to restoring your retirement and rainy-day funds.
- If you have “room” to take some taxable capital gains (selling investments at a gain) this year—and if it actually makes sense for you to take them—you may want to consider working with your tax planning team to do so, especially if you have carry-forward losses from 2020 as many of our clients do.
- Plan ahead for estate planning. If you’ve been thinking about revisiting your estate or tax planning activities, know that the process may take longer than usual. Especially if you’re planning for changes that are up against a hard deadline (such as year-end or April 15th), you’ll benefit yourself by giving your attorney, accountant, and others the time they need to do their best work for you. High-end estate planning in particular is best approached as a months-long, if not years-long process.
- Work with a financial planner to assess other ways your budgeting may benefit from a fresh take. Every little bit counts!
If you are a business owner, a few considerations include:
- Reconcile all 2021 transactions, unreconciled items are potentially duplicate charges or entries so pay attention to that.
- Make sure you clear out liabilities, such as loans to shareholders or payroll
- File a copy – in your secure cloud storage – of all of your 2021 bank statements (don’t count on your financial institutions to keep your statements forever!)
- Collect on open invoices
- Prepare and submit vendor information for 1099s (the due date is January 31, 2022)
- Confirm you have all of your employee data to issue W2s (current address, Social Security #, etc.)
- Count inventory if you have it
- Schedule a quick call with your tax preparer to discuss estimated tax liability and make sure your estimated taxes are accurate, sufficient and paid
- If you don’t pay quarterly estimated taxes, ensure your Tax savings account is fully funded with an appropriate percentage of your expected profits for the year
- Complete and review your balance sheet, your P&L and your cash flows statement. These you’ll submit to your tax preparer.
- Organize your receipts, contracts and donation receipts – actually, we prefer our clients do this all year long, but if you haven’t been, there’s no time like the present!
To Create Your Financials in 2022
Now that you’ve completed and organized 2021, it’s time to focus on 2022. It’s very difficult to create powerful goals for the future until you’ve organized and completed everything you’ve done up to that point.
Once you know your personal net worth and financial position in your business, you can create meaningful goals that actually move you closer to your personal financial (or lifestyle!) goals.
Here are some ideas:
- Add a revenue stream
- Hire someone to whom you can delegate the things you’re not great at or don’t like doing
- Open a company 401(k) [this is great for you AND your employees!]
- Start a charitable gifting program
- Put your personal time and vacations on the company calendar first
- Double the amount of time on your calendar for sales calls and connecting with clients or customers
- Put yourself on payroll because you need consistent income!
- Open a Profits account and commit to putting 5% of all of your revenues in that account — to be paid out to YOU, the CEO
Finally, Celebrate the End of 2021!
Imagine how powerful you will feel in 2022 when your finances are organized and your goals are clear and motivational!
Everyone’s financial picture is unique, so of course there may be some additional items on your list. Also, knowing you’ve invested time and dedication to your finances, you may be surprised to find opportunities or areas for improvement that are revealed during the process.
Once you’ve completed this end of year financial review, you’ll be looking forward to 2022 with clarity and excitement!
So, grab a warm cup of apple cider and print this email to use as a reference. Consider making this financial checklist an annual tradition (I do) to ensure your financial wellness and put yourself and your wealth in a strong position for the year ahead!
To your prosperity,