Tired of getting everything at the last minute? How to plan ahead for month end

Does it take you all month to finalize the month end?

Is your CPA always filing an extension because you do not have your documents ready?

Is your audit always delayed because you are making last minute adjustments to your books?

You must be tired of everything being done last minute. It is time to plan ahead.

The best way to start to plan ahead is to review the prior year/month to see what was needed.

For instance, look at last year’s tax return. Here are my recommendations:

  • Look at the documents you provided to your CPA last year. Write them down or collate them in one place. (My preference is in excel, so then you can carry it forward to the next year. Write/type everything that you sent to your CPA.)
  • Consider going one extra step and sending your list to your CPA. Ask them to review it and see if there is anything you are missing, or use the tax organizer they sent you last year as a guide.
  • Once you have identified every 1099, K1, fixed asset addition/disposal, etc. that you need, then print these out. Have it ready – either on paper with a highlighter to identify which ones you have already – or online where you electronically highlight it. This way, when you start receiving your tax statements, you can highlight them on your list.
  • Once you have all your documents, do not WAIT, send them to your CPA right away. I understand in a perfect world all your documents arrive by February 15th, right? Well what do you do when you have to wait until September 15th for a K1? You can still send the info you have to your CPA, but you can also contact the Partnership to find out if they have an estimate for you, so your CPA can estimate your tax when the extension is filed.

Apply this process to audits and month end close.

This process can also be applied to both audits and month end close.

What do you do first? Review the last period report and supporting documents and then prepare your list. Identify the order of importance, and plan out how long each task should take. There’s no point trying to close your month within 15 days when you don’t receive your records until 20 days post close. Be realistic with the time needed.

Know what you need, make a list, keep it close so you can follow it, and ask questions if you are uncertain.