Fourth Quarter Small Business Checklist

As 2015 moves in to autumn, what can a small business owner or manager do to prepare for the last quarter and make sure the New Year starts off well? Here’s a quick checklist to help you finish strong and start 2016 at a fast pace.

Look at your profit and loss (P&L) statement

Know where you stand now, rather than after the first of the year. If you have more profit than expected you may want to consider a major depreciable purchase.  Talk to your accountant if you are not clear of the depreciation rules. The Helena Business Association recommends Essential Solutions ( and Jones & Associates ( for expert guidance.

Start planning for your client holiday gifts and cards

Order client holiday gifts and cards now so they arrive in time. Clients love to be thanked and invited back.

Create budgets for 2016

If your fiscal years coincides with the calendar year, start budgeting now. Easy to use templates for budgeting and other business purposes are available at

Clean up your email list

Are there people on your list who haven’t responded or opened an email all year? Now might be the time to clean up that list and purge inactive users.

Perform a website audit

Check all the links and auto responders on your website to make sure they’re still working. Check for expired offers or promos and pages that are no longer relevant.

Record your year-end mileage

If you use your vehicle for work, write down your year-end mileage so you have it handy when it’s time to meet with your accountant. Detailed trip records are even more useful for audit purposes.

Make a copy of your current year calendar

Save a PDF report of your entire year.

Backup your files

Assemble all of this year’s files into a single folder dated 2015. Send a copy to a cloud backup such as DropBox, keep a copy on an external hard drive separate from your computer, and keep another copy on your computer’s hard drive.

Have a strategic planning session for the New Year

Now is a great time to meet with your leadership team, consultants, advisors, and staff to help plan the future of your business. Feedback from trusted stakeholders is invaluable. Thoroughbred Strategic Services (972-897-4919) can help facilitate this process.

The 4th quarter is very busy and it is never too early to begin thinking about and documenting what must get done.

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