Over the past two months, Creative Planning Business Services has shared year-end tips to help business owners get intentional with their planning for 2024 and beyond. In this final installment of the Countdown to 2024 series, we’re rounding up the top takeaways from our previous articles and looking at whether it may be time to consider outsourcing in the new year.
Before diving into each of your business areas to make plans for the new year, it’s critical to first have a solid strategy in place as a foundation for planning. This can be achieved by:
- Reflecting on your previous year to determine what business areas need more attention during planning season.
- Establishing lofty but attainable goals for business areas.
- Getting the right teams involved in planning to confirm that everyone is aligned on goals and ready to hit the ground running in the new year.
Year-end is the perfect time to review your past year’s financial data and use it to guide your strategic decisions for the following year. As you analyze your financials, consider these questions:
- Do you have actionable data? Tracking your financial data should be a routine part of running your business so that, come year-end, you have the insights you need to assist with financial planning, budgeting and forecasting for the new year.
- Are you growing? Whether you’re hitting your numbers will determine if you need to evaluate what services aren’t making the cut or confirm if current processes are built to scale.
- Did you stay on budget? Knowing where your budget stands should always be part of your year-end planning so that you can set spending expectations for the year ahead.
It’s crucial to use year-end to update your business’s tax strategy to ensure it’s still efficient and compliant so that you’re ready for tax season. Here are three ways to help with your tax prep:
- Compile necessary tax documentation, such as receipts, invoices and financial statements, and review them once more to ensure all income and expenses are accurately reported.
- See if you qualify for tax incentives offered by your state or industry. Tax credits generate extra cash flow — a benefit many business owners are looking for with interest rates still relatively high.
- If your business has growth plans, update yourself on state and local tax laws in the areas in which you’re looking to expand. Each state and municipality has their own set of sales tax laws that change frequently, so it’s crucial to stay current to avoid penalties.
Many business owners focus solely on their financials during year-end, but it’s just as important to assess the status of your workforce. Consider evaluating these people-focused areas of your business:
- Recruiting and retention: For recruiting, confirm all your hiring benefits are still competitive in the job market. For retention, it’s important to analyze turnover rate and your overall work culture to see where adjustments can be made.
- Succession planning: If you haven’t already, start thinking about what your succession plan may look like. Having a solid plan is essential for securing the future of your business and can be a great value-add to potential buyers.
- Human capital management (HCM): If any area of your HCM, such as payroll or HR, is bogged down with manual processes, consider using HCM software to increase automation.
When it comes to budgeting for upgrades or evaluating ways to improve current systems, technology can often be an afterthought for businesses. These guiding questions can help your business assess its technology needs for the new year.
- Are your current systems working? Conduct an audit of all your business’s software to see which systems are boosting productivity and which could use an upgrade.
- What does your budget look like? If you want to make an upgrade, ensure proper funding is allocated toward the purchase to avoid buying anything on a whim. New technology is often a long-term investment and should be researched heavily before making a decision.
- How secure are your systems? Many businesses want the latest technology but fail to invest in the proper security measures to keep their systems secure. Make sure your business is doing the basics, such as conducting regular employee training and maintaining network security programs, an incident response plan and cyber liability insurance.
Does Outsourcing Make Sense?
As you dive into each of the above business areas during planning season, an additional thought to keep in mind is whether your business would benefit from outsourcing. If you have lofty goals you’d like to achieve, like ramping up business growth or innovating your processes, but don’t quite have the resources or personnel to make them a reality, outsourcing may be the right solution. Partnering with a provider that understands your goals and offers the services you need can help you save time and money as compared to trying to accomplish everything in-house. If you’re curious to learn more about outsourcing options, Creative Planning Business Services can help. We have a comprehensive suite of services including tax, accounting, HCM, technology and more, all designed to support business owners through every phase of their journey. Schedule a meeting with our team, and let us help you achieve bigger and brighter goals in the new year.