“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” – Gertrude Stein, American author

I love language.  Messaging and mission statements.  Annotated outlines. Long manuscripts, etc.  Count me in.

However, ahem, spreadsheets?  Numbers dangling in space without any words to help me make sense of them?  Help, I used to do nearly anything possible to avoid them.

But the more I’ve worked to connect language, books, publishing, social media and other communications work to viable and sustainable business prospects the more I’ve gained an appreciation for looking hard at finite numbers–and better deciphering what they mean.

For such out-of-my-ball-park endeavors, however, getting the right support system in place really, really matters.

Steven Talerico is an accountant – my accountant for full disclosure– who helps all of his clients understand where the rubber hits the road whether it’s better understanding their business’s workflow or cash flow or getting a handle on their P&L.

Steve’s my muse this week because I’ve noticed over the years that it’s better to feel grounded-inspired than what Steve calls “flying-by-the-seat-of-your pants-inspired.” (Note: Steve has a sense of humor which does help with my above-mentioned spreadsheet aversion).

“My goal is to help clients understand the big picture, integrate their people, processes and technology to maximize efficiency, and help them make well informed decisions,” says Steve. “I understand the importance of good information to help you make good decisions that can impact you and your organization for years to come.”

I reached out to Steve to ask him what creative enterprises and small businesses might want to think about as they approach the New Year. Here are his thoughts.

Have a Compliant New Year:  “The end of the year is a great time to check in with any compliance issues, including any state or federal requirements you might have overlooked.  Make a checklist. Are you required to withhold and pay sales tax? Should you be filing your annual reports -depending on the state and when you incorporated?  Have you made all of your estimated tax payments and adjusted your estimates based on your actual income?”

Don’t Neglect the Big Picture “Look at the cold hard facts at the end of the year and don’t shy away from them. Makethe time to reconcile your accounts each month and look at your P&L’s (Profit and Loss Statements of Net Revenue and Expenses).   How much went in? How much went out? What might you set up differently for next year in your Chart of Accounts?

A profit and loss statement in and of itself may not be very useful. In order for a financial statement to  be meaningful to a business owner it must beaccurate, complete, relevant and timely. In order to be accurate and complete you must reconcile your bank and credit card statements each month and make sure your accounting of business transactions is correct. For your financial statements to be relevant you must have a chart of accounts that’s customized for your business. In order for the financial statements to be timely, your processes must be streamlined and efficient.

Remember, it’s GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out. If your financial statements are not accurate, your tax return is not going to be accurate which means you might be paying more in taxes than you should be. Information empowers companies and solo enterprises to make decisions in their purchasing, planning, forecasting and strategies in investments and hiring that will impact their goals for a long time to come.”

Time for You to Start a Solo 401K?  “Now  is the last chance you’ll have to set up a retirement option for your business. It’s always good to think about putting money away for retirement and it must be done before the end of the year for maximum tax benefits. I’ve seen this save my clients money on federal taxes and boost their retirement. ”

Of course, this is just general information and any financial decisions and endeavors should be made with the consultation of a qualified financial professional.

Steven Talerico has been a CPA for more than 25 years helping large and small businesses from global fortune 500 companies to the local business in town. He realized that small businesses have the same needs and concerns as large businesses, such as cash flow, taxes, and payroll. They don’t have access to the same resources. His mission is to bring the value provided by larger accounting firm services to small business in a cost-effective and efficient manner so the services are affordable to small businesses.

For more information about Steven Talerico, go to: https://www.talericocpa.com/firmprofile.php