With 2021 coming to a close, businesses everywhere are preparing for the year ahead. Now is the time to clean up your business processes, build a game plan for the future, and ensure that all of your legal needs are accounted for. Set up your business for success by following our two-pronged approach: wrap up this year and prep for the new year. Here is our guide for assessing your legal needs for 2022.
Wrap Up This Year
Before you can begin planning and strategizing for next year, it’s important that you take care of any last-minute housekeeping items, while working to tie up any loose ends from the quarter.
Meet with your accountant.
Now is the time to schedule a meeting with your accountant to discuss year-end business planning. They can review your business finances, determine your tax estimates, and see if there are any final tax moves you can make. Don’t wait until next years tax deadline as you may miss opportunities to reduce your tax liabilites! Reach out to your accountant as early on in December as you can.
Evaluate your budget.
Take a look at your finances. Does your current budget cover your needs for next year? (Don’t forget to budget for your legal services for 2022! Remember, being proactive can save you thousands.) When determining your 2022 budger for legal, there are a few steps you should take. First, calculate how much money you spent on legal and risk assessments in the past year. Next, as you look toward 2022, consider what additional risks may be brought in. Finally, bring it all together by planning your budget accordingly for the new year
Conduct an end of year review.
In order to know where you’re going, it’s important to look back upon where you’ve been. Assess the overall health of your business by conducting an end of year review. Reflect on your goals, successes, and failures. What are the key takeaways? Utilize this review to lay out a plan for the future. If your business is big enough to have employees, share your findings with them. Together, you can celebrate your achievements, acknowledge areas for growth, and develop steps for moving forward.
Prep for the New Year
Now that you’ve closed the chapter on this past year, it’s time to set your sights on planning and preparing for 2022. Make sure all of your bases are covered by addressing the following.
Renew your business.
There is no single, simple answer for how to renew a business license. Different states have different regulatory authorities that issue business licenses. Ask your attorney about your state’s guidelines and act accordingly to keep your business in good standings with the state. A failure to renew in a timely manner can at minimum cause you to pay a penalty, and in some states can lead to an involuntary dissolution of your business, and all of the liability protections that come with it.
Update your registered agent.
Speaking of renewing your state business filings, don’t forget to update the registered agent for your business. Also known as a resident agent or statutory agent, a registered agent is an individual or business entity that accepts tax and legal documents on behalf of your business. Most states require you to list your registered agent with the state. If you filed your business yourself, you are likely the registered agent. Make sure your address hasn’t changed since then. If you had your lawyer or another professional help file for your business, make sure the person who was listed is still who you want to be acting as your registered agent and that they are still located at the same address. If your registered agent or the address of your registered agent has changed, be sure to update this in your fillings at the end of the year. Otherwise, forgetting to notify the state can lead to penalties such as fines and could also make it so you won’t receive service if a lawsuit is ever filed on your business.
Review all contracts.
At the end of the year, it’s good practice to review your contracts, including any waivers (We’re talking to all of you family entertainment centers out there!). This allows you to ensure compliance, evaluate any necessary changes, address risks, know what steps you need to take if you want to terminate, and consider your options if the other party has defaulted. Upon evaluation, determine if you plan to continue with the contract, update it, or end it.
Determine if your insurance is enough.
General liability and property insurance are a necessary safeguard for any business owner. It protects from claims related to, real property, business property, bodily injury and/or damages that occur on the property. In some cases, it can even help with various legal and medical expenses. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you have sufficient coverage and all the types of insurance you may need. If needed, talk with your agent about the best way to adjust your insurance and how it can be tailored to your benefit. Our recommendation would be to specifically ask if you have enough coverage for the assets and business you have and inquire to see if they recommend additional plans for your business, such as cyber insurance or business interruption insurance.
With a new year comes new opportunity. For further guidance on how to assess your 2022 legal needs, contact us.