By Mark Murrah
The annual holiday postmortem is upon us again. How much weight did I gain? I need to get my finances in order! I’m going to go to the gym regularly! Most people think of January for to-do lists…new year, new beginnings, and new promises to oneself to do things differently (perhaps better). Something in our human nature sees the start of another year as an opportunity to have a clean slate and start fresh to be better people. The beginning of the first quarter of the year, though, should also be viewed as the time of the year to make good resolutions for your company or business, to make sure all the hard work done in the prior year is cleaned up, and your company is operating efficiently. Following are some bullet points you can use to help establish a checklist for your own company to help in your annual due diligence and some thoughts on ways to improve your company in 2015.
January is a good time to reflect on the state of your business and a good time to make sure you can answer the following questions.
- Did your business undergo any ownership changes during the prior year? You may have bought out a partner or brought on new ownership such as rewarding a valued employee with a small stock option. Make sure your stock ledger is up-to-date.
- Did you merge or acquire a business? Make sure all entities are in good standing in all states in which you do business.
- Do you have fully executed copies of all contracts that obligate you? Making a contracts’ file is a good idea.
- Are all your business licenses up to date? Keep a licensing log.
- Did you change your company name or add a division? Make sure your assumed name (DBA) filings are up to date. Keep a register of all your assumed names.
- Do you have any end-of-the-year benefits issues to address (pension, ESOP, etc.)? Confirm compliance with your inside benefits manager or outside provider.
- Have you instituted new policies or procedures during the year? Make sure your employee handbook is current and any new policies and procedures have been properly disseminated to employees.
These are just a few items that a company should be thinking about as it enters 2015. Having good checklists and systems in place will make your life easier and add value to your bottom line when it comes time to sell your company.
Mark Murrah is a Partner at the law firm of Murrah & Killough, PLLC (Houston’s Business Lawyers). The office is located at 3000 Weslayan, Suite 305 – Houston, Texas 77027. You can contact Mark by phone at 281-501-1601 or by email at email@example.com. Visit his website at www.MKTXLaw.com.