As we welcome in a new year (and maybe a new decade depending on how you count them), it’s a perfect time to reflect on the trends that will impact us and our businesses. Here’s a list for your consideration and reflection.
Trend #1: Sustainability
Concern for the environment has made the list of many companies’ core values. The way businesses are run can have a huge impact on the environment. While we hear a lot of stories about large companies impacting sustainability, we can also do our part as small businesses. In the accounting profession, many firms have gone paperless, transitioning from staplers, paper clips, and filing cabinets to digital storage which greatly reduces their footprint.
Trend #2: The Gig Economy
Young workers often have multiple jobs instead of the 9 to 5 jobs of their parents. This means there is more flexibility than ever before when it comes to hiring and retaining young workers. They can be employees, contractors, outsourced solutions, remote, local, part-time, full time, temporary, or permanent. Sub-trends in this area include more virtual workers and many more opportunities for veterans.
Trend #3: AI – Automated Intelligence
This trend is impacting the accounting profession in a big way via smart data entry, smart document fetching, and even smart bookkeeping. Marketing has also been impacted in a big way through online ads, customer service solutions, and marketing technology. In email, Google is finishing our sentences for us, and chat and other technologies are having fairly effective conversations via bots.
Trend #4: Stories
Storytelling is huge everywhere. People want to know:
- The story behind your business and why you do what you do
- The stories about your customers and the experience they have with you and your services
- The stories from your employees and how it is to work at your organization
Digital communication has moved from text to graphics to video as bandwidth improves. Video makes stories even easier to share. Smart companies will leverage both stories and video to get their message out.
Trend #5: Diversity Expanded
The conversation is no longer about race, gender, and even sexual preference. It’s now about authenticity and being the same person at work and at home. No one is “normal.” But it takes courage to reveal our differences, especially if they are outside the “standard.” Your courage is more likely to be honored in 2020 than it has in prior years.
Trend #6: A WOW Customer Experience
We’ve moved way past the time of “infotainment,” yet the concept is parallel. As businesses, the challenge is how we can deliver an entertaining, positive, and memorable experience while producing the outcomes the client desires.
Trends #7: Drones
So far, drones have made appearances in photography, special effects at conferences, as toys, in movies, and of course, in war. I see them in use for safety reasons, going where people shouldn’t or can’t. They will become more pervasive in 2020 and there will be more rules, protocols, and court cases on their use.
Trend #8: User Interface
The move from desktop to mobile is nearly complete, with only the laggard portion of the population remaining. The move to voice is still a work in progress, and it will steadily continue to gain traction in 2020.
Trend #9: Actionable Analytics
Capturing information digitally gives businesses a huge amount of data to utilize but small businesses have barely scratched the surface of this profitable information. It’s time they started catching up, and that’s something our firm can help you with.
Trend #10: Pace of Transformation
New business models in companies like Tesla, Uber, Google, and Facebook will continue to show up at a rapid rate. The business that’s most nimble will be the one that changes the game or at least stays in it without folding.
Which trends impact your business the most? Which ones speak to you? Feel free to reach out to discuss any of these ideas with us.
If you want to swap services with a vendor or customer, great! But did you know barter transactions are taxable, and they need to be recorded on your books. Here’s a video from Rhonda on exactly how to record barter transactions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOAaOrojGhI
Learn How to Use the Same Name on Different Lists in QuickBooks with Rhonda Rosand, CPA of New Business Directions, LLC.
A great way to make a wonderful start to 2020 is to wrap up 2019 feeling organized and on top of the world. Here’s a checklist of items that you can start on now to make your year-end close go smoother than ever before. And don’t worry if you don’t know how to do some of these tasks – that’s what we’re here for.
- Catch up on your books, especially if you do them only once a year. By doing it now, you’ll be able to get into your accountant faster this time of year and they will appreciate getting the work done ahead of their crunch time.
- Catch up on bank reconciliations in case they are not up to date. Don’t forget your savings accounts, PayPal, and any other cash equivalents. Void any old uncleared checks if needed.
- Review unpaid invoices in accounts receivable and get aggressive about collecting them, especially if you are a cash basis tax payer. Clean up any items that are incorrect so that the account reconciles.
- Write off any invoices that are no longer collectible.
- Ask employees and vendors to update their addresses in your payroll system so that W-2s and 1099s will reflect the correct addresses.
- Collect any W-9s that you don’t already have on file for contractors that will receive a 1099 form from you.
- Collect workers compensation proof of insurance certificates from contractors so you won’t have to pay workers comp on payments you have made to them.
- Collect sales tax exemption certificates from any vendor who has not paid sales tax.
- Decide if you’ll pay employee bonuses prior to year-end. Reminder: This payroll is subject to withholding taxes.
- Review employee PTO and vacation time and reset or rollover the days in your payroll system.
- After the final payroll runs, contact your payroll software company to make any W-2 adjustments necessary for things like health insurance.
- Set the date to take inventory, and once you have, make adjustments to your books as necessary.
- Write off any inventory that is unsalable. If possible, sell scrap inventory or other waste components.
- Prepare a fixed assets register, calculate depreciation, and make book adjustments as needed. Leave the calculations and adjustments to us or your tax preparer.
- Record all bills due through year-end, and reconcile your accounts payable balance to these open bills.
- Make loan adjustments to reflect interest and principal allocations.
- Perform account analysis on all other balance sheet accounts to make sure all balances are correct and current.
- Make any additional accrual entries needed, or if you’re a cash basis taxpayer, make those adjustments as needed. You can leave these entries to your tax preparer.
- Get an idea of what your profit number will be. Choose whether you want to maximize deductions to save on taxes or whether to want to reflect more income. Decide what you can defer into 2020 or what you want to have as part of your 2019 results.
- Match all transactions with their corresponding documents – receipts, bills, packing slips, etc. – to make sure you have the paper trail you need. Go paperless – digitize these documents!
- Download your bank statements and store them in a safe place.
- Download any payroll reports and store them in a safe place.
- Scan in paper documents so that they’re stored electronically.
- File any important papers such as new leases, asset purchases, employee hiring contracts and other business contracts.
- Prepare a revenue and profit plan for 2020 and enter it into your accounting system.
- Take a look at the 2020 calendar to determine which holidays you’ll close and you’re your employees a copy of the schedule.
- Review your product and service prices if this is the time of year you do that and make any changes you decide on.
- Update your payroll system for any new unemployment insurance percentages received in a letter each year.
- Update the mileage deduction rate if that rate has changed at the beginning of the year.
- Set a time with your accountant to go over 2019 results and get ideas on how to meet your financial goals in 2020.
- Review the metrics you’ve been using in 2019 and decide on the list of metrics and corresponding values that will take you through 2020.
- Celebrate the new year; it’s a wonderful time to gain perspective and be hopeful about the upcoming year.
Start 2020 with a bang and this year-end checklist, and feel free to reach out if we can help with anything.
Learn How To Add & Edit Multiple List Entries in QuickBooks with Rhonda Rosand CPA and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor