December 14, 2006 16:30 ET Provides Ten Tips for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses to Plan for Year End and Beyond

CHICAGO, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 14, 2006 -- Technology firm, which provides consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia, just released a list of ten things businesses can do to plan for the year end and beyond. The tip sheet was created because small business owners typically are called to wear many hats, making end of the year procedures and duties overwhelming. "Our hope is that these tips will not only help them to sail smoothly through this year end, but also will get them thinking of future ways to help their business grow," states Daniel Harris, Principal of

The ten tips include:

1. Run Year-End Procedures. -- While most small businesses are able to run monthly accounting procedures without much trouble, year-end processes are an entirely different ball of wax. This is not something that is done on a regular basis, therefore it is easy to miss a step or overlook important details. Create a checklist of system requirements and double check it with your systems advisor and accountant. Year end can be especially tricky if you made upgrades to your system over the past year. Verify how upgrades might alter your year-end procedures with the software's manufacturer.

2. Database Maintenance. -- These days keeping a database up-to-date and running smoothly are crucial to anyone doing business. Not only is it important to run a database integrity check to ensure that it is up-to-date, it is imperative to check that back-up systems run properly. In some cases it is also necessary to rebuild the database files and index.

3. Make A SAFE Copy Of Your Data. -- At a minimum, put your data on a tape (be sure to check that you have extra tapes). If you are currently saving data to tape, now might be a good time to consider upgrading to a DVD or CD. Magnetic tapes are not foolproof, and do not have a long storage life. In fact, tapes are not a good medium for "permanent storage."

4. Store Software with Year-End Data. -- To say that technology is changing at warp speed is no surprise. But, many businesses don't take this into consideration when they back up year-end data. Make sure to retain a copy of the software the records were created in and store it with the data. If you need to access it in the future and have upgraded your software, newer releases of software may not be capable of directly accessing the older data.

5. Go Forward While Looking Backward. -- Your company will probably need to start transacting business in the new fiscal year while still running reports in the old year. Make a copy of your data to ensure that you can access the old year and still conduct business in the present. Make certain that your accounting systems will allow the posting of entries in the prior period so your accountant is able to make prior year changes.

6. What Reports Does Your Accountant Need? -- Every year financial advisors require year-end reports in order to prepare tax returns. Inquire about what reports they need for their analyses. By giving them exactly what they need, you will save everyone time and might save your company money.

7. Update and Create Custom Reports. -- Give some thought to the reports you need to run and the data you need to keep or update to make your job easier in the coming year. Perhaps it is the margin or billing rates for each client or last year's sales per client. While you have the ability to look up all this information by going through a storeroom of files, wouldn't it be easier if it was right at your fingertips on your desktop?

8. Review The Previous Year. -- In order to remain competitive it is extremely helpful to review your progress against that of similar businesses. Often this process will require a variety of special reports. Consider having these reports customized and incorporated into your financial systems so that you can easily continue to make comparisons and monitor your progress.

9. Create A Records Retention Policy. -- While everyone is familiar with the retention of paper records, often the storage of electronic data gets overlooked. Perhaps your company has never thought about these files... but in this case, what you don't know could hurt your business. Develop a records retention policy for your full range of electronic data. For example: determine if you need to keep or purge old email records or to destroy year-end tape(s) from years ago. Make sure you keep only what is needed to conduct business in the present and is legally required for past history. Also, now is the time to think about where electronic files are stored. Make sure there is a back-up copy kept off-site.

10. Consider important and up and coming technologies or strategies for 2007 such as:

--  Disaster Recovery Plans -- A disaster recovery plan will be your
    lifeblood if the unforeseeable ever happens.  For example, what would you
    do if you had a fire or flood in your location?  If you don't have a
    disaster recovery plan, now would be a good time to develop one.  If you
    have one, plan a day to conduct a test to ensure that you are ready.
--  Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) -- The wave of the future with
    this evolving technology plants radio "tags" on every piece of inventory
    allowing a receiver to fully track and account for its movement.  Is this
    something that would help you account for inventory in a more productive
--  Remote Access and Wireless Technology -- These state of the art
    technologies provide the benefit of anywhere anytime use.  Are you in need
    of more flexibility in your working environment?  Do you have employees
    working from home?  Are your sales people set up for maximum efficiency?
    This technology might be just what you are looking for!
Anyone in business should consider these year-end tasks and processes for accounting systems, computer systems as well as other functions that will make your business run smoothly.

About -- Founded in 2000, provides system consulting services for small to medium-size business. They supply strategic and tactical technology consulting services, design and implement solutions for their clients. Specializing in knowledge management, they help their client achieve business goals by creating the most effective technical applications to maximize intellectual capital.

Contact Information

    Daniel Harris
    Email Contact