Year-End in Review: Making Time for Reflection

Year-End in Review: Making Time for ReflectionThe holiday season is a good time for reflection and contemplation. Taking stock of successes, disappointments, and setting goals — as well as reviewing financial performance, and assessing the human and physical resources your business relies on — is an essential year-end ritual to all companies. Your year-end review and reflection can help reveal a lot about your business including when equipment, software, or other office supplies are at or near the end of their useful life, which is crucial as you plan (and budget) accordingly for the next year.

This checklist will outline the critical items to keep top of mind for entrepreneurs and business leaders to go through before the new year begins.

Year-End Employee Reviews

A company is nothing without its most important assets: its people. Your employees bring so much power and energy to your organization. Companies who empower employees to use their excellent brains and hearts on the job, see them create breakthrough solutions, collaborate and innovate far beyond what could be imagined. Good employees create value for your company.

Business owners/managers need to be aware of the key benefits of employee performance so that they can develop consistent and objective methods for evaluating employees, encouraging them to do their best. Establishing goals and best practices for each of your employees and discussing them helps determine strengths and weaknesses within the organization. Employers and employees have a lot they can learn from one another, and this learning can be fundamental to success, or in some instances, failure, of a business.

People, just like equipment, need attention and maintenance to continue performing at their best. Here are some useful items to look at when evaluating your employees at the end of the year. Ask yourself these questions about each employee and if this is helping the business or creating issues. If it’s veering more towards the negative side, how can it be fixed and changed for the betterment of the company, as well as the employee?

Schedules and Staffing

  • Do you have staff when you need them?
  • Are people happy with their schedules?
  • Where is there room for improvement?

Skills

(Think of this as a mini human resources audit per se.)

  • Does your team have the knowledge and skills required for success — and growth?
  • Are shortfalls something you can address with training and education?
  • Should you budget and plan for some new hires?
  • Do you need to have some difficult conversations with team members who don’t belong in the next year’s staff?

Make Time to Be Face-to-Face

Everyone gets reflective in the face of a new year. Of course, holiday bonuses are nice, but there’s intangible value to feedback and personal attention.

Be sure to let your team know where they all stand and be honest about it. Encourage and praise the good, but also address the not-so-good. The chances are that employees want to know what they are doing right as well as wrong so they can keep their jobs or even consider moving to a higher level within the organization.

Year-End Office Review

Every office, no matter the size, has a lot of moving parts to monitor at any given time. Implementing a way of keeping track and managing these vital assets is an important process which should be done on a daily basis. In the grand scheme of things, it might not seem like a big deal to track things like pens and staplers. However, when these items aren’t tracked, you could end up spending thousands of dollars replacing supplies you don’t need. From the smallest post-it note to the priciest computer, it’s in the company’s best interest to be vigilant and accurate when it comes to knowing what assets are in the office, their location if they are owned outright or leased and their condition.

Inventory and Asset Audit

The question to ask when it comes to an asset audit is: “Where is all your stuff?” You need to be thorough in this action. Audit your inventory, your supplies, your equipment, your space — and take good notes, because you’ll need all this information for your financial audits.

A thorough record of assets is necessary so you can plan ahead for any essential preventative maintenance on your equipment, office space, or other important business resources that might otherwise get neglected. The advantages of preventative maintenance software become clear when you consider the ramifications of poorly maintained equipment to your bottom line and productivity coming to a screeching halt.

Leased Equipment

A walk through the warehouse may not suffice; you’ll want to check your records of any equipment on lease, whether you are borrowing it or have leased tools and equipment internally to employees. Managing leased equipment is essential to avoid taking on additional expenses from loss, theft, or preventable damage. Companies that implement an asset tracking and management platform that includes the option to customize their data for leased or owned assets can immediately get a much clearer picture of their asset portfolio. This enables companies to know exactly what assets they own vs. lease, where all of their assets are and complete maintenance history on all assets in inventory.

Equipment Maintenance and Repairs

Quantitative auditing is one side of the equation, but a qualitative assessment of all your assets is important too. Management in tandem with the IT team should take stock of how well they’ve maintained equipment, the state of software, and create a plan for the next year to make upgrades, replacements, or schedule routine maintenance

The act of tracking your equipment maintenance will streamline your end of year review, and give you an easy template to follow when planning the next 12 months’ calendar for repairs, replacement, or upgrades.

Your business assets represent an enormous investment, so it stands to reason that you want to maximize the lifespan of every one of those items. Every organization should create and follow a preventative maintenance checklist. Each of your assets has not only a maintenance schedule to track, but other details as well such as warranty details, depreciation, lease/purchase information, check-in/check-out status, location, and more. Many companies are considering adding preventative maintenance software that can take this task off employees’ hands while saving your company time and money.

Year-End Financial Review

Ah…the financial details. So important to the survival of any company. These documents are how many companies gauge their successes and failures and determine what they can and cannot do the next year. Conducting a year-end financial audit is a necessary action. Knowing how to perform a financial audit on your books can help you to prepare for a possible external audit, keep your accounting system in order and discourage internal fraud and theft

Balance Sheets

The accounting balance sheet is one of the significant financial statements used by accountants and business owners. This financial statement details your assets, liabilities, and equity, as of a particular date and should be prepared at the end of a reporting period, such as a month, quarter or year. The balance sheet allows someone—like a creditor—to see what a company owns as well as what it owes to other parties as of the date indicated in the heading. This is valuable information to say, a banker, who wants to determine whether or not a company qualifies for additional credit or loans. Others who would be interested in the balance sheet include current investors, potential investors, company management, suppliers, some customers, competitors, government agencies, and labor unions.

Profit and Loss

A profit and loss statement (P&L), or income statement, is a financial report that provides a summary of a company’s revenues, expenses, and profits/losses over a given period. The P&L statement shows a company’s ability to generate sales, manage costs, and create profits. It is prepared based on accounting principles that include revenue recognition, matching, and accruals.

Assets and Liabilities

Assets and liabilities are the main components of every business. Though these two elements are different, the purpose of both of them is to increase the life-span of business. It’s important to understand the difference between the two:

  • Assets are something that provides future benefits to the business. That’s why business consultants encourage businesses to build assets and reduce expenses.
  • Liabilities, on the other hand, are something that you’re obligated to pay off in near or distant future. Liabilities are formed because you receive a service/product now to pay off later.

Tax Planning

A new year means a new set of tax obligations — payroll, property, sales, corporate — get your last year’s records in order, and start planning now for next year. There are some ways to save money on taxes by timing, by taking deductions, and by spending money (if you have it, that is) on certain items. Being informed and talking with your CPA or tax professional is the first step. Other suggestions for tax planning include:

  • Reviewing tax reports
  • Defer income
  • Make purchases for needed business items
  • Run a full inventory/asset check
  • Make contributions to charities/401K/retirement plans
  • Outline a system you can use to make the process even smoother next year

As companies reflect on the past year, they realize that they might not have the right tools and technology in place to do many of the tasks outlined above. The good news is that there are many software options out there to get them on the right track for the new year. Asset Panda is one of those tools.

Asset Panda’s asset tracking and management platform is the most flexible and customizable system in the industry for tracking and managing assets. Asset Panda is highly configurable, so it can become whatever you need it to be, and changes as your needs change. Asset Panda works the way you do, on devices you’re already using, both online and through our free Mobile App. This makes it easy for all your users to access the information they need, when they need it, from wherever they happen to be working. By having access to a whole lifecycle of asset information including support requests, maintenance history, ownership chain, etc., Asset Panda gives users greater visibility to the information they need, when they need it.

Start the new year on the right foot and give your company and employees the tools they need to do their jobs better and more efficiently. Visit www.assetpanda.com and take a tour of the asset tracking tool that goes beyond traditional asset tracking.

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