End of Year Organization
Everyone has their own list of End of Year Tasks to perform for business, personal, school, you name it. Here are my favorites, weighted on the IT side (of course) that I hope will generally assist you in getting things ready for 2023. Take this opportunity to “sharpen the saw” i.e. Take time to renew and refresh your outlook. See the links below for the origin of this expression, as well as the related “Put on your oxygen mask first”.
Here are our highlights, with links below to more in-depth articles.
Your business and your mental stress will thank you.
Clean up your file organization
The end of the year is a great time to get rid of accumulated documents (both physical and electronic) that you no longer need. For those that you decide to keep, organize them in such a way that you will be able to find them more easily in the future. It is quite likely that you can destroy much of document history that is past the date of what is legally required (Check with your accountant). You can also replace much of your printed documentation with scanned copies, saving you time, money, and storage costs. Be sure files/folders (both physical and digital) are correctly labeled and placed in a logical order.
Check your Backups and Archives
Backups are copies of computer files, stored in a separate location (hard drive or cloud service) so that you can recover them, in the event of a computer disaster (drive failure, program failure, users failure or, worst-case-scenario, viruses or ransomware. Archives are copies of files that you don’t need access to now but don’t want to delete completely. Don’t depend on recovering “deleted” files from older backups - .that file could “age off” of the backup in 3 to 6 months and then it’s gone for good. Instead, these files should be moved from your primary hard drive to a dedicated archive (drive or cloud-based). While you’re at it - sort through that pile of USB storage devices, external hard drives and old computers. How many of those have things that you might need some day? Now is the time to consolidate and archive what you need, and erase/ re-label or re-purpose those random drives.
Operating System and Application Updates
Operating systems and your essential software should be upgraded on a frequent basis. It’s important to stay on a supported version of software to assure that encryption, cloud services and compatibility is as effective as possible. Holding on to older software and systems beyond their intended “support window” can cause your systems to stop working with each other and/or with 3rd party systems such as your bank, business and and vendor websites.
Information Technology Needs
It’s important to understand what you need to do, how your technology can support that ,and what changes should be made to ensure your technology is current, effective and protected. Internet connection speed, networking, printers & other peripherals, computers, iPads, iPhones and of course software are integrated parts of your technology infrastructure. Take time now to look at your current technology and consider what your technology needs will be for the coming year. You can save time money and stress by making changes on your own schedule, rather than on an emergency basis.
Year-End Close Accounting
Year-end accounting is something we need to handle regardless of how unattractive a task it is, in comparison to holiday festivities. At a minimum, you need to have good enough documentation to complete tax returns and other required governmental forms & reports. Using software such as Banktivity, Safe, QuickBooks (and many others) can help you more easily handle your accounting requirements. Performing a yearly closing, and clearing up any questions or documentation issues now, as you find them, will be much easier than trying to fix things later next year when you have a filing deadline. This is also a good time to compare your 2022 budget against your actual costs, and set up a budget for the 2023. You do create a budget every year, right?
Wishing you a prosperous and fulfilling 2023,
Chris & Joanne