Your essential business accounting year-end checklist

Tax season is a busy (and stressful) time for many businesses, which means eCommerce retailers and wholesalers need to start preparing as early as possible. Follow our accounting year-end checklist to make sure you have everything squared away when tax time rolls around.

Determine the type of tax return you need to file

The type of tax return you will need to file depends on the legal structure of your business. For example, businesses operating under a sole proprietorship or partnership will differ from businesses registered as a company. Make sure to check with the tax office in your region ahead of time so that you know what forms and documentation are required for your circumstances.

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Review your tax return deadlines

Tax deadlines vary by country and the type of business you have, but regular tax return filing deadlines are as follows:

  • USA: 17 April
  • Australia: 31 October
  • New Zealand: 31 March (with an accountant), 7 July (without an accountant)
  • Canada: 15 June
  • UK: 31 January
  • Singapore: 31 March (ECI)
  • Hong Kong: 2 May

These dates are a general guide, so it’s best to double check the deadlines for your circumstances.

Organize your documentation & automate your tax return process

We’ve all heard horror stories about being audited, and if it ever happens to your business, you’ll need to provide documentation to support your reported income and deductions. Without receipts, the government can disallow any expenses you claim and you could be hit with a penalty. In an ideal world, you will have stayed on top of your receipts throughout the year – but whether or not you’ve been keeping up, here are some best practices for the future:

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1. Go paperless

Scan all receipts and organize them by name (i.e., by vendor name and/or function – whichever makes the most sense for the business). Keep all receipts for a particular year together, which is not only useful in case you’re audited but also makes sharing business information with other people like your accountant a lot easier. Xero, for example, has a tool for uploading images of business expense receipts, so you don’t have to worry about keeping physical receipts.

2. Utilize Xero or QBO for accounting

Xero and QuickBooks Online are essential tools to help automate your accounting processes and reduce the need for manual administrative tasks. They also keep everything stored and searchable in a central location so that you can access them anywhere, anytime. What’s more, as Xero and QBO can be integrated with TradeGecko, you can manage all your business needs in the one place.

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3. Get in touch with an accountant or bookkeeper

For many new small businesses, the first order of business is to fill the accountant role. While smart accounting software is hugely valuable in cutting down on admin and organizing key documentation, a small business accountant can assist with tax strategies to save you time and money, and provide sound advice about year-end bookkeeping whilst keeping your business tax compliant.  

4. Take advantage of tax deductions and discounts

Depending on the type of business you run, there are likely to be plenty of legitimate deductions that you can claim on your tax return, such as home office expenses, business expenses, and depreciation of capital. Check with an accounting professional who can talk you through exactly which deductions apply to your business.

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5. Budget for installment payments

If your tax payable is above a certain threshold, you’ll likely have to pay tax in quarterly installments in the future. If that’s the case, make sure to account for quarterly tax payments in your budget to avoid having to pay a hefty bill next tax season.

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