Closing out the Year
New Year Means it’s Time to Close the Books for Last Year
Now is a great time to do all the things you haven’t had a chance to do for a while. The holiday rush is over, and we survived 2019. So, as you make your resolutions and plan for greater successes in 2020, here’s a list of housekeeping items to consider.
- Review your processes and procedures across and within departments. Have each department manager make a list of processes and procedures. Use this list to look for new and missed opportunities. Having a written list helps identify and remove time wasters and redundancies and add new efficient ways of completing needed tasks. You can research successful firms outside of the industry for inspiration.
- Evaluate your hazard materials disposal to ensure compliance with the EPA and other agencies.
- Assess inventory on hand, on order, and used. Clear out the clutter and make room for the new year.
- Talk to your employees. They are your customer’s point of contact. Are there any pain points that you need to be aware of? What about good things that are happening that you need to do more of? What about new ways of doing, thinking, executing?
- Reinvigorate your BDC and sales team. Harness their ideas. What do they need to be more successful? Is it time to update the sales script? Recently I read the book, Never Split the Difference by Christopher Voss and Talh Raz. If you haven’t read this before, I recommend it. The book has some interesting ideas about the sales and negotiation process.
- Assess your website for accessibility compliance. If you recall at our November member meeting, Bass Sox and Mercer informed us that there are options that do not necessarily include a settlement. They can help you with that.
- Update your website graphics and photos. Many sites still have staff members listed that are no longer there or information that is irrelevant. Look at staff and store pictures. A good picture is worth a thousand words. Consumers are very visual so good visuals are a must. Use pictures that make consumers feels as if your store is welcoming and your staff is friendly. And… please remember to smile.
- Update your website content. Keep the content fresh. Remember, consumers do a lot of research online and your website is the best place to learn about you. An outdated website can send a negative message. An updated website can keep them coming back. This applies to FixedOps and any articles you share about tips and tricks to keep their vehicles in top shape. You can also include customer written articles. Remember, you sold them the vehicle, you are the expert. And, if they didn’t get the vehicle from you, servicing their vehicle is a great way to get them to love you. Oh, and did you notice the language of this text? Keep the language simple. Use technical language when you have to but remember that we want our audience to understand what we are saying.
- Update your Job’s page. Pages with fresh content show more often on search engines than outdated content. Job seekers get a glimpse of who they will be working for from your job page, so make it an extension of your store.
- Evaluate your online presence. Online reputation management is an important part of who you are. Are your profiles up-to-date? Are they relevant? Are you interacting with customers? When was the last time you posted? What feedback are customers providing? You must be present and engaged for your customers and could be customers to be present and engaged.
- Analyze employee manual and wage scales. Florida has a new minimum wage and the Fed is enforcing overtime rules that go in effect 2020.
- Examine your employee appraisal system. With more generations in the workforce, it may be time to see how your appraisal system rewards employees, encourages excellence and works to equip and upskill underperformers.
- Revisit your training plan. Are there skills that your employees need to update, upgrade, or acquire? We have associate members and other vendors that can help you with that. Those include the NADA academy and NCM associates.
- Remind employees of the purpose of your store. Employees that share your vision will share your commitment to excellence. Great employees keep customers happy. Happy customers are loyal buyers.
- Prepare year-end payroll reports and forms. Closeout the month, quarter, and the year accordingly. If you haven’t already, have employees complete new withholding forms.
- Record all transactions in the year to which they apply. Ensure that all December transactions are recorded in December
- Review unfinished vehicle sales. If there are vehicle deals pending from December, it should be treated as a 2020 sale.
- Compare actual versus accounting parts inventory. -Verify inventory, open orders, and open invoices in FixedOps. Look for money and time leaks that impact the bottom line.
- Prepare year-end reports for OEMs, federal, and state government
- Review Accounts Receivable. Ensure employees are performing appropriate collection methods. Write-off accounts that are not collectible.
- Review Accounts Payable for expense reasonableness and timeliness. Who do you owe money to and for what? Be wary of new invoices or unknown vendors. It is also a good time to review credit card fees and bank fees.
- Reconcile bank accounts, cash accounts, and investments.
- Examine employment classifications. Your contractors should not be classified as employees unless they are performing duties like employees. The key is who is calling the shots? If you dictate their work with detail and time constraints like an employee workweek, then they should be employees. This applies to gig workers as well.
- Make LIFO inventory adjustments. Check with your accountant if you have any questions on the process for yearend adjustments and closeouts.
- Report all uncashed checks on Unclaimed Property Report