Updated: May 1
Congratulations On Your Year End! Now what?
This article walks through the things you'll want to do on your year-end date for accounting, tax, and business purposes.
Owning a business can be very overwhelming and a corporate year-end can be an uncertain and scary time, especially for new business owners.
If this is your first, second, third, or thirteenth year-end we're going to walk through the steps you'll want to take.
What To Do On Your Year End Date
Congratulations – your corporation just had its birthday!
Although a time of cake and gifts in our personal lives… corporate year ends also come with a to-do list.
Step # 1: Celebrate
We often bypass important milestones and your corporate year end is one of them. Being a small business owner is hard, really hard. Up to 80% of businesses will fail over time.
Recognize your corporate year-end for the success it is and celebrate your perseverance and hard work.
Step # 2: Reflect
Your year-end is a great time to pause – even just momentarily – and consider how your business is doing.
Are there things you want to change or improve? What isn’t working? What is working?
I personally do this monthly when I review my bookkeeping. If you haven’t paused in a while, give your business some extra love today.
Step # 3: Gather A Few Key Records
If you only do one step – tackle this one.
Your year-end date is an important time to gather the information your accountant will need. So, what information should you gather?
Count any cash or till floats you have and write the amounts down.
Write down the amounts of any cash deposits or cheques you’ve been meaning to bring to the bank but haven’t yet deposited.
Do an inventory count recording the description, purchase cost, and the total number of items on hand. Ideally, record these in an electronic format like excel for easy totaling.
Once you've checked off each of these items. Look ahead to the following month.
What To Do In The Month After Your Year End
In the month after your year-end, you’ll want to begin gathering documentation.
Being proactive will mean better accounting services like a faster year-end, fewer inquiry emails, and less risk of late filing penalties.
New business owners are often shocked at how long a corporate tax return can take.
Often 4 to 5 weeks. A big part of this is because of the amount of information that a Chartered Professional Accountant needs.
The process is significantly more involved than a personal tax return and comes with documentation requirements from the Canada Revenue Agency and Chartered Professional Accountant Association that can drag out the process if the information isn’t provided upfront.
So, what should you gather?
Item #1: Get your bookkeeping done.
I do my bookkeeping monthly so I’m ready to get my corporate return underway ASAP.
Waiting until after your year-end to do your bookkeeping can mean significant delays and late filing penalties.
Item #2: Get Your Statements
Gather copies of your bank, credit card, and line of credit statements that cross your year-end date.
You’ll want PDFs that show your business name. No excel downloads or screenshots, please.
Item #3: Obtain Your Loan Documents
Obtain loan statements for your fiscal year showing the interest paid and the outstanding balance at your year-end date.
I ask my banker for this statement and it can take a few weeks to process so don’t delay. Item #4: Does your corporation hold investments?
Gather monthly statements for your entire fiscal year. Item #5: Don’t forget about sales tax and WorkSafe.
Gather statements that cross your year-end date. Item #6: Confirm your accounts receivable and accounts payable reports.
This step is probably the most important. Review the reports in your bookkeeping software or with your bookkeeper that show who owed you money, and who you owed money too, at your year end date.
Are there any bad debts that should be written off or expenses you’ve already paid? Has income been duplicated?
This is the number 1 spot where you can catch errors in your bookkeeping. Many clients don’t review their receivables and payables reports. If their accountant doesn’t catch the errors this can mean thousands of extra dollars in unnecessary taxes.
Item #7: Gather a few key receipts.
Assets and equipment purchases costing more than $500 have special tax treatment and gathering the receipts ensures they’ll be properly taken care of. Item #8: What about other deductions?
Absolutely, your personal cell phone bills, home office expenses, and mileage logbooks should all be gathered.
Be sure to check out our excel templates and motor vehicle videos available in our membership website to get the best deductions possible.
It's A Big To-Do List
I’ll admit, the above list is quite extensive and can be a pain in your butt to gather.
I get it.
You are BUSY.
So let me highlight the benefits.
Gathering this information ahead means TONS of saved time. It can take your year-end from a 2-month process down to 2 weeks.
It can mean 1 or 2 inquiry emails rather than 6 to 8.
"Gathering this information ahead means TONS of saved time." – Jillian Battaglio, CPA, CA
Being proactive can save you TIME, reduce your accounting fees, reduce your stress and frustration, and improve the quality of your year-end all while helping to protect against CRA audits.
Watch Your Deadlines
Deadlines can easily sneak up on busy small business owners causing late filing penalties from the CRA.
If a corporation’s shareholders are residents of Canada, the CRA gives privately owned business owners 3 months to pay their corporate income taxes and 6 months to file their returns.
On top of these deadlines are those for T5 dividend statements or T4 wage statements which are always at the end of February.
To meet your filing obligations and ensure great tax planning.
I would recommend bringing your documents to your accountant no more than 1 to 2 months after your year-end date to get your corporate tax return underway.
Many clients are dismayed and upset at late filing fees that pop up because of procrastination.
This is super unfortunate and not ideal. Save yourself the frustration and be proactive.
How To Get Your Year-End Started
After gathering the previous items you’ll need to do a few last things to get your year-end underway.
Provide your documentation. All the information you’ve gathered plus your bookkeeping will need to be sent to your accountant.
Make sure you sign your engagement letter. Your accountant can’t proceed with any work until a signed contract is received, so don’t procrastinate.
Check if your accountant requires anything further to get started. Update forms, questionnaires, and other documents may be needed before work begins.
Your corporation’s birthday is an important time to celebrate, reflect, and begin your administrative duties.
Year ends are a lot of work, especially for overwhelmed business owners.
Your accountant will do their best – but remember – it is your ultimate responsibility as the business owner to ensure all the information is provided, the boxes are ticked, and that your return gets filed on time.
Now, to make your job easier – we have a corporate year-end checklist and some awesome excel templates available on our website for our subscribers.
Be sure to check those out.
Being proactive can save your time, reduce your accounting fees, and reduce the risk of late filing.
I hope this article has helped you be well prepared for your corporate year-end and the administrative duties that come along with it.