Getting Ready for Next Year–Now

While the end of the year is likely not in the minds of many, it’s closer than you may think.

So before the ball drops and that tax deadline gets even closer, it’s a good time to think about the many things you can do to prepare for the end of the year–and the promising year ahead.

Here are 4 tips to get you started.

1. Create a New Filing System

If you’ve been meaning to find a better way to get organized, now may just be the time to do it. Put new systems in place for organizing your files. I work out of my home office, which is also a hub for my personal paperwork–so having a work file cabinet and a personal one was key to helping me stay together.

From there, I created folders that correspond to items used in taxes–bills like gas, cable and electricity all have their own folders, for example. It’s useful when it comes to keeping paperwork organized, and then I can simply tabulate numbers when I need to deduct portions of bills for my home office deduction.

Tip: Did you do any construction to your home office this year? Confirm with your accountant that you can deduct those expenses.

2. Collect receipts

It’s a good time to get your receipts together, especially if they float all over the place. That way, you have everything in one place to start organizing your deductions.

Tip: Don’t just gather bank and credit card statements–you should save receipts for all purchases and not just rely on a credit card statement.

3. Find an Accountant

Don’t wait until the end of the year to find an accountant you like. Set up a consultation to go over what you’ll need in order for him or her to do your taxes. Chances are they will want certain line items pre-tabulated, along with all those receipts together.

Tip: If you do not plan to use an accountant, it’s a good time to check out deals on tax software so you can buy when the price is right.

4. Get Out One Last Marketing Push

Most freelancers know they should be marketing even when they have projects pouring in. I like to do one more marketing campaign at the end of the year, even if I am busy. This can help avoid that dreaded January/February dead time that plagues many freelancers.

Tip: Consider sending a holiday card, which can effectively market your business and help improve client relations. It’s also a fantastic gesture!

Consider the New Year–Early

I could go on and on with tips for getting ready for the end of the year. The best things you can do are to consider the issues that pop up in January that you don’t want to deal with–instead, tackle them now.

It’s good to think ahead because you never know when another big project will come along that ties you up. And with the holidays fast approaching, you want to be able to enjoy time with loved ones while knowing your business is ready to wrap up another year and look positively to the one ahead.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by monkeybusiness.

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