Company year-end preparations: time to get ready

As your company year-end date gets closer, there are a number of administrative and financial tasks to start planning for – so it’s a good idea to get yourself organised and ready.

There are several things to check, either on the year-end date, or before the end of your company’s financial year. Some tasks are simple administrative processes, while others involve a deeper dive into your accounts. But, on the whole, this is about getting on top of the planning and making sure your year-end is as hassle-free as possible.

The benefits of good year-end planning include:

  • A smoother year-end – keeping on top of the company’s bookkeeping and administration means that the processing of your year-end will go more smoothly.
  • Better tax planning – reviewing your business performance before the year-end allows you to manage your tax obligations in a more effective way, improving your tax-efficiency and (potentially) saving money.
  • Improved personal wealth planning – as an owner/director, you can structure your own remuneration package in a way that you prefer. This improves your personal tax situation and wealth planning for the year-end, driving tax efficiency.
  • Enhance your reported profits – by changing the timing of some discretionary transactions, you can directly influence the results that will be reported for the company. This can be an advantage when looking for funding or investment.

A checklist for your company year-end tasks

We’ve highlighted the main year-end tasks to add to your to-do list, broken down into admin, tax-driven and cosmetic tasks – all aimed at a stress-free year end process.

Primarily admin issues:

  • Make sure that you are able to put a correct value to the stock you hold in the business and on your current work in progress (WIP).
  • Ensure all your sales invoicing is up to date and all jobs for the year have been billed out to customers.
  • Resolve any customer (and supplier) queries, where possible. And, if it’s practical to do so, write off or provide for any bad or doubtful debts.
  • Make sure all the company’s bookkeeping is up to date and that all balance sheet accounts have been reconciled.
  • Prepare draft figures at least one month before the end of the year so that any last interim dividend declarations can be made.
  • Keep final statements from all your major suppliers.
  • Keep an extra copy of the last invoices for utilities and services, for cost accruals.

Primarily tax-driven:

  • To qualify for tax relief, any fixed assets have to be purchased and brought into use before the end of your financial year. If you have plans to purchase new assets, it may be worth buying equipment a few months earlier than planned – this allows you to then claim the tax deduction. However, don’t buy things you don’t need just to save tax!
  • Where you have projects that qualify for research and development (R&D) tax relief, it may be worth bringing forward your spending on these projects. If you incur that expenditure before the year-end (rather than in the months after the financial year-end), these costs can be included in your R&D claim for the year.
  • Charitable donations must have been paid in full to the charities in question; you can’t just provide for them in the accounts. If you donate a percentage of the company’s profits or sales to charity, then estimate the final amount as close as you can so that the obligation is largely spent.
  • Tax relief on pension contributions is given in respect of the period in which it’s paid, so don’t leave it until after year-end before paying contributions over.
  • Review the remuneration policy for your shareholder directors to ensure the right balance between salary, dividends and pension contributions.
  • Review directors’ loan accounts, particularly where they’re overdrawn and therefore potentially subject to Section 455 charges.

Cosmetic/other:

  • You may want to ‘window-dress’ the results to make the company’s performance look as good as possible – i.e. moving results from a future period in order to make the current period look better. This can be helpful if you’re looking to access finance in the next year, or want to woo potential investors etc.
  • You may want to think about deferring expenditure to improve your overall reported profits. This could mean reducing spending on things like stationery, advertising, research and development, capital expenditure and major repairs and renewals. Although that will result in a higher tax bill, it will also allow a higher reported profit to be disclosed.

Talk to us about preparing for your year-end

The better prepared you are, the easier your year-end will be. So, there’s real value in running through the checklist above and getting your finances ready for the close of the current year.

As your accountant, we can help you get your numbers in order and advise you on any elements where you might need some help, or have queries.