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Five Important Post-Tax Season Actions for Small Business Owners

by Tracey Hrica Apr 24, 2024 | Share

tax return with small business written across the top. desk with adding machine in the backround

Just submitted your taxes? A sigh of relief, isn’t it? Yet, it is not quite the time to kick back and relax just yet. Let’s talk about some essential post-tax season actions that can keep your business financially secure and well-organized.

Remember the age-old anecdote of the ant and the grasshopper? The ant worked tirelessly all summer, planning for the winter, while the grasshopper sang and danced without a thought for the future. We all know who was left out in the cold when winter came. Don’t be the grasshopper. Your post-tax season strategy can significantly influence your business’s financial health.

In this article, we will explore five essential post-tax season actions that business owners must take to ensure their long-term stability and growth. Taking these steps will not only help you become more financially savvy but also keep you prepared for whatever the future may hold.

Review Financial Performance

“Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.” – Stephen Few.

Picture this…

You’ve just survived another tax season. It was a whirlwind of paper, numbers, and stress, all culminating in the moment you hit the ‘submit’ button on your tax return. A sigh of relief, right? Now, what’s next?

Well, let’s pause for a moment.

Imagine you’re a chef who has just prepared a lavish banquet for a high-profile event. You wouldn’t simply clear away the dishes and start cooking for the next occasion without reflecting on your culinary performance, would you? You’d take a moment to assess what dishes pleased the guests and where improvements could be made in your recipes or presentation.

This is exactly the same mindset you should have for your business after tax season.

It’s time to analyze!

Dive deep into your income, expenses, profits, and cash flow over the past year. This isn’t just number-crunching. It’s an opportunity to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your business’s financial performance.

Find those hidden gems!

By analyzing your profit margins, you may stumble upon some surprising insights. Maybe that product line you thought was just a ‘nice to have’ is actually your most profitable? Or perhaps there are unexpected expenses creeping into your monthly outgoings?

The point is, you’ll never know unless you take a moment to review.

Now is the time to scrutinize the monetary heartbeats of your business. This isn’t just about looking at the numbers, it’s about understanding your business’s financial health.

Start by dissecting your income. Which products or services are bringing in the most revenue? Do you see any trends or patterns? Are there any surprises you didn’t expect?

Then, examine your expenses. Are they in line with your budget? If not, were the extra costs justified or are there areas where you can trim fat?

Next, analyze your profits. This will give you an idea of your financial strength and stability. How do your profits compare to the previous years? Are you seeing an upward trend or a downward spiral?

Finally, check your cash flow. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business and it’s crucial to pay close attention to it. Are your cash reserves healthy? Are you able to meet all your financial obligations on time?

By conducting a thorough analysis of your financial performance, you can identify:

  1. Strengths – areas where your business is excelling.
  2. Weaknesses – aspects that need improvement.
  3. Opportunities – profitable products or services.
  4. Threats – unexpected expenses.

Take this as an opportunity to congratulate yourself on what’s working and develop a game plan for areas that need a little help. This isn’t just about reacting to the past; it’s about proactively shaping a more profitable future.

Update Records and Documentation

Remember when you were on the verge of missing the deadline for your tax filing because you couldn’t find the necessary forms amidst the clutter of your desk? It was a nightmare, wasn’t it?

It’s situations like these that underscore the importance of maintaining accurate financial records. It’s not just for tax compliance, but it also holds the key to strategic decision-making.

Accurate bookkeeping is like the GPS of your business – it shows you where you are, and helps you chart where you’re going. With up-to-date records, you’ll always have your finger on the pulse of your business’s financial health.

This paves the road for strategic decision-making, such as:

  1. Investing in new equipment
  2. Hiring additional staff
  3. Adjusting your prices
  4. Reallocating resources

And remember, updated financial records make it easier for you to track your progress. You’ll be able to see, in real-time, how close you are to reaching your financial goals.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”  

Your financial records are the compass guiding your ship. Without accurate records, you might find yourself off course, struggling to recoup from unexpected expenses.

So, look over your financial records today. Discard what’s outdated and irrelevant. Update what’s necessary and essential. Make keeping accurate financial records a habit, not a chore.

Because, accurate bookkeeping is not only crucial for tax compliance, but it also plays a significant role in budgeting and strategic decision-making. It’s the backbone of your financial health and a vital step in achieving your financial goals.

Evaluate Tax Strategies

Thinking back to the tax strategies you implemented last year – did they work as planned? Did you find yourself saving money, or, on the flip side, did you end up paying more in taxes?

The third step in your annual financial review is to evaluate your tax strategies. This involves taking a deep look into the effectiveness of your past tax actions and adjusting accordingly.

Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

If you keep employing the same tax strategies and they’re not yielding the desired results, it’s time for a change. A tax professional could be your compass in the maze of tax laws and regulations. They can help you spot potential tax-saving opportunities you might have missed.

Here’s a quick story for you. Imagine David, a freelance writer. Last year, David took it upon himself to handle his tax affairs independently. He diligently applied what he believed were effective tax-saving techniques.

However, when tax season rolled around, he found himself facing a higher bill than expected.

Seeking guidance from a tax advisor, David discovered that he had overlooked several deductions specifically tailored for freelance writers, such as deductions related to home office expenses and professional development costs.

Now, pause a moment. Are you thinking, “Well, I’m not Dave?”

True, but just like Dave, you may also be unknowingly missing out on potential tax savings. The tax realm is fraught with ever-changing rules and missed opportunities.

As you review last year’s tax strategy, here’s a quick checklist to guide you:

  1. Review your past year’s tax returns
  2. Identify what strategies worked well and which ones didn’t
  3. Reflect on any changes in your financial situation that could impact your taxes
  4. Assess any new tax laws that could potentially affect your financial life
  5. Consult with a tax professional for expert advice

Remember, tax strategies aren’t etched in stone, and tax planning isn’t a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process. It should be as fluid as your financial circumstances and as up-to-date as the latest tax laws. Adjusting your strategy can be the key to minimizing your tax liability and maximizing your savings.

The goal isn’t just about paying less in taxes. It’s about making the most of your money. It’s about understanding where your money is going and making informed decisions about your financial future.

Set Financial Goals

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” – J.P. Morgan

You’ve done a tremendous job at evaluating your tax strategies, but that’s just the beginning. It’s time to take the next step and set clear, achievable financial goals.

Why is this important?

As a business owner, your financial goals act as your guiding light, steering your decision-making process, budgeting, and overall business growth.

These goals are not just pieces of paper or abstract concepts. They are tangible benchmarks for measuring your progress throughout the year. They will guide your decision-making, budgeting, and overall growth.

Your roadmap to success begins with four key targets:

  1. Revenue: Identify realistic revenue targets.
  2. Expenses: Keep a close eye on your spending.
  3. Savings: Always set aside a portion of your profits for a rainy day.
  4. Investments: Look for opportunities to grow your money.

Remember, the key to establishing effective financial goals is specificity. Don’t just say you want to increase revenues. Define by how much. Don’t just plan to cut expenses. Identify where cuts can be made.

Once your financial goals are firmly in place, you can confidently move forward and plan for the future. Knowing where you’re heading financially ensures that your business stays on a path towards long-term success.

Plan for the Future

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This quote by Peter Drucker, a renowned management consultant, couldn’t be more accurate, especially when it comes to your business.

Did you know that 85% of business failures are attributed to inadequate planning and management? That’s right, long-term success in business is not just about having great ideas or products, it’s also about having a solid plan for the future.

As a business owner, your journey is much more than just hitting financial goals. It’s about laying the groundwork for your company’s long-term success.

You start by looking ahead and strategizing for the long term. What’s on the horizon in your industry? What market trends should you be aware of? What growth opportunities are ripe for the taking? These are all essential questions that need answering.

Next, you need to put your financial goals in place. This is an anchor, the critical piece that holds your plan together. Whether it’s increasing revenue, cutting costs, or launching a new product, it’s essential you have clear financial objectives.

As a business owner, it’s important to remain flexible and open to change. Your plan should be a living document that evolves with your business. Regularly review and adjust your future plans to ensure alignment with your business goals and objectives.

The world around us is always changing, and so should your plans.

Finally, remember that planning for the future is not a one-time event, but a cyclical process. It should be something you revisit regularly to ensure your business stays on the right track.

By taking the time to plan for the future now, you’re setting yourself, and your business, up for continued success in the years to come.

Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.

Conclusion

Imagine arriving at the end of tax season with everything in order, no financial surprises or crises to deal with, and a clear plan for the future. Sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s far from impossible.

Post-tax season is the golden time for you as a business owner to take the reins of your financial future. It’s prime time to review your company’s financial performance, update records, and evaluate your tax strategies. This is your chance to take proactive action, leading to long-term stability and prosperity.

It’s not all about number-crunching and filing documents. This is also the time to consider your goals. What do you want to achieve in the next financial year? Where do you see your business in the next five years? Your answers to these questions can guide your decisions and financial strategies.

And remember, just like the ant, it’s the ones who plan ahead who stay warm during the winter. Be the ant, not the grasshopper.

Take the time for these essential post-tax actions, and watch your business thrive. After all, a well-planned business is a successful business.

About the Author

Tracey Hrica

Tracey Hrica joined the firm in 1995 as a bookkeeper. In 2012, she earned the designation of Enrolled Agent(EA), which enables her to prepare personal and business tax returns and represent clients before the IRS. To maintain the designation of EA, she must complete yearly continuing education in the areas of personal and business taxation. Working closely with her clients, Tracey’s primary areas of concentration are new client onboarding, client communication, research, and QuickBooks support. As a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, she works closely with clients who rely on QuickBooks for the day to day running of their business. Tracey has expertise in both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online.

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