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Year-End Prep: 5 Key QuickBooks Online Tasks Before January 1

December always seems to fly by. In just a few short weeks, Thanksgiving dinner will be over and it will be time to welcome the New Year. The holiday season brings personal obligations, but for retailers, it's also the busiest time of the year. Even if you're not in the retail business, you probably have sales goals or other metrics to meet before 2024 arrives.

Amid all the responsibilities that come with owning a business during the holiday season, you also need to finalize your bookkeeping for the current year to prepare for the new one. If you've been using QuickBooks Online throughout the year, your job will be considerably easier. However, you should still allocate some time for essential year-end tasks.

While it might not be possible to wrap up everything by New Year's Eve, there are five things you can accomplish during your busy November and December to get a head start on January.

1. Analyze Your 2023 Income

You may not have your final sales and income figures until the year concludes, but you can get a good start by November. QuickBooks Online offers several reports that provide a clear, comprehensive view of your 2023 sales. By clicking "Reports" in the toolbar and selecting "Sales and customers," you can run reports to examine your sales based on Class, Customer, Customer Type, and Product/Service. These reports can be displayed in summary or detail format and are customizable, allowing you to specify date ranges and group results based on criteria such as Transaction Type, Customer, and Account.

2. Know What You Owe

Managing your financial obligations is crucial. To determine what still needs to be paid, click "Reports" and navigate to "What you owe." For a quick overview, run "Unpaid Bills." For a more detailed perspective, generate the "Accounts payable aging detail" report, which categorizes your outstanding payables by days past due.

3. Know Who Still Owes You

Monitoring unpaid invoices is a year-round concern, but it's especially important as the end of 2023 approaches. December might not be the ideal time to collect from delinquent customers, but it's important assess where you stand with them. Under the "Reports" tab, look for "Who owes you" and generate two reports: "Accounts receivable aging detail" and "Open Invoices."

Consider dedicating some time to brainstorm strategies that could encourage customers to settle their debt faster.

4. Create Statements For Past-Due Clients

Client statements resemble reports, displaying sales transactions within a specified period. Statements serve two purposes. Some customers simply want a list of their invoices and payments for their records. Others may require statements as reminders of overdue accounts. You can create statements by clicking "New" in the upper left corner and selecting "Statement" under "Other." While there are three types, you'll most likely create and send the following two:

Open Item Note:This type displays all open, unpaid invoices from the past 365 days.

Transaction Statement Note:This option lists all transactions for the selected date range.

Statements are useful for reminding customers of overdue payments or providing a transaction record for a specific period.

5. Clean Up Your Customers and Vendor Lists

If you have only a few customers or vendors, your list is probably up to date. However, if you've been adding customers or vendors for months – or even years – without managing the list, you might be wasting time scrolling through an extensive roster. Instead of deleting them, you can make them inactive. Click "Sales" in the toolbar and select "Customers." If you have inactive customers with no open activity, you can hide them. Simply click the box next to the customer's name and then click "Batch actions" in the upper left, followed by "Make inactive."

November and December are hectic months any way you slice it, and it's perfectly fine if you can't accomplish all these tasks by the year's end. However, consider adding them to your January to-do list if they remain incomplete. It is also wise to run standard financial reports available in QuickBooks Online Reports, particularly the ones found under "For my accountant." Having regular meetings with your tax professional throughout the year can help avoid surprises before New Year’s, every year.

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