For CFOs and Controllers, the end of the year is typically a hectic and sleepless time. No matter how prepared you are, end-of-year planning inevitably brings surprises and last-minute complications.
To create an accurate, timely and surprise-free planning experience, you need to stay organized throughout the year, by preparing detailed monthly and quarterly financial reporting packages that include reconciliations and detailed back-up schedules. In addition, you should work with your outside accounting firm to create a proactive plan that meets your specific tax and financial reporting deadlines.
The steps below will help you plan your company’s audit and tax preparation activities in advance of the New Year.
Start preparing the necessary year-end reports and analysis. Ask your accountant for a to-do list of documents that he or she needs to get your audit and tax preparation rolling.
Request interim testing. Ask your auditor for interim testing to get a head start on your audit. This isn’t something you fully control, but try to arrange this testing as soon as possible.
Prepare contact lists for the bank, legal and accounts-receivable confirmations. Organize and prepare the necessary information for all of the confirmations that your auditor will prepare.
Check your general ledger and sub-ledger balances. Be sure to prepare monthly balance sheet account reconciliations.
Review quarterly tax payments. Your accountant needs to know whether you made quarterly tax payments, when you made them and the amount paid to determine how much you still owe.
Update Depreciation Schedules. Update your fixed asset software or excel spreadsheets with all of your current year purchases and asset disposals.
Unusual or Non-Recurring Transactions. If your company is entering into some type of transaction that is unusual or non-recurring, proactively reach out to your accountant to properly account for the transaction.
Prepare for 1099 Reporting. As part of your vendor set-up process, you should make it a requirement that you have a completed W9 Form from all of your vendors before any payments are issued.
Thinking of “year-end” as a year-round series of planning activities can alleviate the pressure you feel at the end of the year. Being proactive about year-end planning also reduces the amount of time you spend on your end-of-year audit and tax preparation and allows you to focus on your other daily activities.
Paul delves deeper into each step in the full article.
As director of CFO Advisory Services as Wiss & Company, Paul Ursich helps meet the audit and tax preparation needs of clients in various fields. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.