December is one of the busiest months of the year for most businesses, but there are a few actions you can take now to make your return from the holidays less stressful.
We know that, as business owners, there's always plenty to do during the month of December. You may feel like you don't have time to tackle certain tasks until the new year, but don't let your accounting tasks shift to the back burner! We know it may not be possible to tie up every loose end before New Year’s Eve--you may be waiting for your customers and employees to do their part--but if you've been using QuickBooks Online conscientiously all year, the five tasks outlined below will take less time and give you a jump start on January.
Analyze your 2022 sales.
You won’t have your final numbers until the year ends, but you can get a good start in December. Several QuickBooks Online reports can give you a clear, understandable look at your 2022 sales. Click Reports in the toolbar and scroll down to Sales and customers. You can run reports that will tell you what your sales were by Class, Customer, Customer Type, and Product/Service, in summary or detail. The reports are customizable, so you can specify date ranges and group the results by, for example, Transaction Type, Customer, and Account.
You can customize and run QuickBooks Online’s Sales reports.
Warning: If you’re not clear about whether you should run reports in Cash or Accrual mode, let us help you with this--the distinction is important.
Know What You Owe
If money is tight at the end of the year, you may be looking at what you owe with one eye closed. But getting a clearer picture now will help you avoid returning from the holidays to past-due notices. To see what still needs to be paid, click Reports again and scroll down to What you owe. If you want the straight scoop right away, run Unpaid Bills. For a more detailed look, create the Accounts payable aging detail report. This groups your outstanding payables by days past due.
Know Who Still Owes You Money
This question is probably on your mind all year, but it’s imperative as the year winds down. Even if you don't expect specific customers to pay up before year-end, you should at least know what is outstanding and send delinquent customers a follow-up, reminding them that you need to tie out your books before year-end and that a balance is still due. To start, click the Reports tab again and scroll down to Who owes you. Generate two reports there: Accounts receivable aging detail and Open Invoices.
If customer delinquency is a problem your business faces frequently, consider brainstorming strategies that could help encourage customers to pay faster. You may want to consider checking with your tax preparer about strategies to defer income to another tax year, too. If you’re at a loss about how to tackle this issue, reach out to us. Together, we can devise a plan that works for your unique business model.
Create statements for past-due customers
Customer statements are something like reports. They display sales transactions within a given period. Statements can serve two purposes. For customers with payments that are up to date, receiving a statement at year-end can be a helpful tool as they close out their own books. For past-due customers, a statement can be a good reminder that one or more invoices are still outstanding. Click New in the upper left corner, and then click Statement under Other. There are three types, but you’d be most likely to create and send two of them:
Open Item. Displays all open, unpaid invoices for the last 365 days.
Transaction Statement. Lists all transactions for the selected date range.
You can send statements to customers to remind them of overdue payments or to provide a record of transactions for a given period.
Clean up your customers and vendor lists
If you only have a few vendors and customers, your list is probably current. But if you’ve been adding customers or vendors for years without ever editing the list, you'll probably spend a little more time scrolling than you'd like to. Set aside some time in the new year to inactivate customers with whom you don't currently do business. To do this, click Sales in the toolbar, then Customers. If you know a customer has no open activity and want to hide them, click in the box in front of the company or customer's name. Repeat this for as many as you want, then click Batch actions in the upper left, then Make inactive.
A Busy Month
You probably know which of the above year-end tasks will be most helpful for your business. If it simply isn't feasible to tackle all of them before the year's end, don't give yourself a hard time. Consider setting a reminder in late December to carve out an afternoon to tackle your year-end accounting. And if you need additional support managing your QuickBooks file, we’re happy to set up a time after the first of the year.