My December blogs focused on classic, year-end closing tasks. Collecting receivables, reconciling accounts, paying year-end bonuses. All very important, but it’s already the new year and there is still work to do.
I won’t remind you to prepare annual budgets, issue 1099s, or file your state and federal taxes. That would be restating the obvious. Instead, I will describe a few less apparent tasks that merit your early Q1 attention. Some might call these “housekeeping” items. Don’t be misled. These are important steps that can help ensure your company’s continued success this year and beyond. For instance:
Review Your Insurance
Most businesses obtain liability insurance and, with the exception of tweaking limits and deductibles, fail to review their policies in detail each year. I frequently encounter firms at risk because they have no Cyber Liability, Business Interruption, or Directors & Officers coverage. Regarding this last coverage, D&O insurance, did you know it can provide companies with protection against (negligence) claims that managers failed to prepare for, or mitigate the risks of Covid? It may be a new year, but Covid has not gone away; review your insurance now.
Update Your Website
Websites allow customers to find your company, or information about it, at any time; they provide an easy way of interacting with potential customers. If your website is dated, it can send the wrong message about you and your company. So, why not spend this January comparing your website to those of your competitors? Hint: If it has been more than three years since your last website update, that was four iPhone generations ago. It’s time for a change.
Governance Related Housekeeping
Start planning for upcoming meetings with shareholders and/or directors, providing participants ample notifications. Take time also to review the information contained on the Secretary of State’s website. Submit required Annual Reports (or your state’s equivalent) and make sure that information is up to date: Company addresses, Officers’ and Directors’ names/contact details, total shares outstanding . . .. Some changes may require amending your Articles of Incorporation.
In Massachusetts, your city or town will soon send you a State Form 2 to fill out. Receiving this should also spur you to update your DBA Certificate or local business license. These certifications vary by locality, but most have an expiry; updates are not automatic.
And this new year do not forget to update your Written Information Security Program (WISP) or equivalent plan for dealing with data breaches. Should your customer data be leaked or hacked, the consequences of not having a WISP in Massachusetts can be catastrophic.
Employee Benefits Review
Many firms conduct an HR Compliance Review each year. It’s a good practice. But don’t wait for an anniversary date to start reviewing your employee benefits coverage also. Start exploring options and providers sooner and, remember, costs should not be your only consideration. Many of our clients place a high value on accessing user-friendly, employer dashboards, not to mention rapid customer-service assistance.
There are other housekeeping tasks that I will address in future blogs. The above items are the ones that I recommend addressing now. While the new year is still new.
Worldwide Local Connect and its partners can help you tackle these tasks. Please drop us a line.