Now what to do with that secured data and those hardcopy records? First, determine what is actually relevant for the past year’s reporting, insurance needs, and future operational planning. Then organize it all in a useful manner, whether that be by date, division, employee, vendor, or income/expense category. That will be useful when calculating the immediate balance sheet and other period-based financial reports for the business’ accountants, lenders, and investors. And also for creating a future budget and multi-faceted business plan for the business’ operations professionals.
The new year also presents a prime time to review personnel files. Take care that all ‘employee jackets’ are complete, both with required forms and information as to compensation, benefits, and work-related injury and illness claims. 2 (Hold the phone!…In 2020 the U.S. Internal Revenue Service will issue an updated Form W-4. 3) And while that review is underway, the performance of benefits products should be analyzed for performance and pricing, with an eye towards negotiating terms or even replacement.
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It is also timely to hold a thorough inventory of the business’ hard and soft assets, including their locations, actual depreciation, maintenance, and updates/upgrades. (And inventory for tax purposes.) For example, ensure that vehicles and equipment have been serviced, and that improvements to technology and software have been uploaded and installed. Further, a walk-around of all facilities and real properties should be conducted to know if there are needed repairs. And also that all hard keys and passwords are accounted for and upgraded.
As to the business entity itself, be certain to schedule annual meetings for owners, directors, and managers. And to report the call, conduct, and votes of those meetings in the entity’s minutes book.
And be sure to timely file a required Annual Report with the Florida Department of State – Division of Corporations and in all other states (and countries) where the company operates. Also, renew all applicable licenses and certifications, whether for the company or the people who constitute the enterprise.
In a non-legal vein, be sure to pull out the business plan to ensure it is still relevant to the markets and industry within which the company operates. Jump up two paragraphs – this review is ideal to be conducted by the board of directors or managers or a properly constituted committee. Investors want to be comfortable their money is being prudently utilized with returns maximized, while being accrued in accordance with ‘best practices’ and applicable regulations.
Hopefully before a business closes on December 31, 2019 it will have locked-down its data, with off-site or cloud-based backups.
While there are many, many other metrics which could be addressed in this piece, the overarching ‘theme’ should become obvious. That is, it is indeed a best practice to engage in proactive risk management activities at the end of a calendar (or fiscal) year, at the beginning of a new year, and always on an ongoing and continuous basis.
Having ‘said’ all that, Happy New Year! See you on the other side of the new decade!
2 Such as Form 5500 [https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/employers-and-advisers/plan-administration-and-compliance/reporting-and-filing/form-5500] for retirement plans and the Form 300 series [https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/new-osha300form1-1-04-FormsOnly.pdf] for work-related injuries and illnesses.
3 See https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-on-the-2020-form-w-4.
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– For more information, call Philip N. Kabler of the Gainesville, FL office of Bogin, Munns & Munns at 352.332.7688, where he practices in the areas of business, banking, real estate, and equine law. He has taught business and real estate law courses at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business Administration and Levin College of Law and is the President-Elect of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association.
NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.