“Must-Dos” for Year-End Excellence and a Fresh Start to 2020

This article originally appeared in Digital Dealer here.

By Susan Moll and Matt Hurst

A new year and a new decade means new opportunities for your dealership. But with the new, comes closing out the old. From completing 1099s and W-2s to updating model lines and account numbers, finding balance after the end of the year requires a combination of efficiency, organization, and partnership with your DMS provider.

The following are some “must-dos” to help you take control and ensure a clean slate for 2020.

1. DO repeat after us – January 31, January 31, January 31. Make sure that date is in your calendar and that you have alerts set far in advance because January 31 is when your W-2s, 1099s, and 941s are all due. Start getting these forms ordered, printed, and filed as early as possible, to keep your dealership running smoothly and on schedule.

2. DO create a year-end checklist. When asked what her secret to a successful year-end process was, Lori Garrison’s response was clear and concise – build a checklist. Garrison, who is the controller at Huffines Auto Group, uses the same checklist year after year and modifies it with notes or memos when anything important about the process changes. Whether it’s updating tax tables, ordering forms, or filing and paying vehicle inventory taxes (VIT), everything she needs to close out the year is found on the checklist.

3. DO conduct an annual physical inventory count and reconcile any discrepancies. It’s critical to count your physical inventory at least once a year to make sure your parts inventory value matches what is actually on the accounting books. This count will help ensure that all necessary adjustments are made so you don’t carry any deficits into the new year.

4. DO only what you can do. “As a controller and manager, it’s important to make sure you’re always empowering your staff rather than micromanaging them,” explains Garrison. “You should only do what only you can do.” In other words, delegate the work and entrust as many tasks as possible to your staff rather than trying to touch everything yourself. By doing this, your staff can broaden their understanding of the business and you can focus on the responsibilities that fall strictly on you.

5. DO remember there are ways to stay on top of year-end reporting all year long. Lisa Feagin, the controller at Tom Bush Family of Dealerships, recommends running your month-end process like your year-end process. “By reconciling account accruals and write-offs every month, you’ll be able to spend more of your time focusing on the minute details at the end of the year, such as putting accounts under a microscope to catch any errors or discrepancies,” she explains.

About the Author

Susan Moll, Senior Director of DMS Field Services, Cox Automotive. Matt Hurst, Senior Director of Client Services, Dealertrack DMS.

This article originally appeared in Digital Dealer here.

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