Blog Series: Real Tips from Real Accountants: Start 2021 Off on the Right Foot

We aim to provide you with real and tangible advice in this blog series. Information directly from members of our team who work with individuals and business owners every day to help them work towards financial success and total compliance.

2020 is in the rearview mirror now (no need to hold your applause, it was an interesting year to say the least)…. now, we look at 2021 with a fresh outlook and the hope for better times and a great deal of success.

In this installment of our blog series, a handful of our team members share ways that you are start things off on the right foot as Q1 is now well underway. Coming out of a challenging year, it is more important that ever to stay on top of your finances and business needs.

Should you have questions for us after reading the tips below, please reach out. We are here to help you:

Keep your accounting records up to date throughout 2021. If you don’t have the time as a small business owner, hire a bookkeeper or outsource it, but make sure the accounting records stay up to date at least on a monthly basis. If you wait too long to update your accounting records you won’t have real-time data to make management decisions and you will be scrambling at the end of the year to reconcile a years’ worth of activity to file a tax return. Some suggestions to make the bookkeeping process easier are to use a cloud based accounting software, setup automatic bank and credit card feeds to post accounting transactions, and integrate third party applications if needed. By keeping the books up to date, you can review financial reports often to make management decisions and to make accurate quarterly estimated tax payments throughout the year.

Danielle Cottle

With the kick off of the new calendar year, there is never a better time to step back to reflect and work ON your business – especially from a financial improvement perspective.  In order to help our family and closely held businesses further address this very important part of their business, we have made available diagnostic tools to help you analyze where you can focus in order to work ON the financial part of your business. 

So, if you are you struggling to prioritize your business opportunities?  If you are needing some clarification on which strategies will accelerate the growth and profit of your business? If you are seeking where to focus your energy to succeed in the coming months and year?  Then please take a few minutes to complete the Holbrook & Manter Growth and Profit Solutions (GPS) Business Diagnostic 25-question tool (please see here –, which will help you identify your 10 key success factors to focus on heading into 2021.

Stephen Smith

The beginning of a new year is a good time for business owners to lay out their goals and expectations for the year.  They should have a budget where they review all expenses and see if there is any room to trim and they should also estimate expected revenues.  This is the best time of year to decide if they will implement any changes to their services or products offered.

– Carmen George

Even though last year was quite unusual for most companies, it would be helpful to wrap up 2020 financial statements as soon as possible.  This will provide a good look at past performance to help with projections for 2021. Start the year off with a fresh start by setting up new files (either electronic or physical) right away in order to keep your records organized.

Linda Lehman

When you are processing your payroll in the new year, be sure to verify current employee addresses.  An employee move  just a few miles away may have payroll tax implications for a new city tax or a different school district.  You can always verify the tax set ups are accurate by using the Ohio finder here:

-Chandra Reau

The same ideas that you applied to year end can also be applied at the beginning of the year to make sure you have a successful year.  Did you find yourself making corrections at the end of the year in your bookkeeping?  Be sure you have your system set up appropriately so you won’t have to make those changes again at the end of the year.  Review your employees, be sure taxes and deductions are set up appropriately.  For example, did the employee fill in a new W4 or IT4, are the new school districts or updated rates to consider?  Does an employee’s deduction have a new threshold for this year? Make lists or calendar reminders of things you need to do throughout the year to make sure you stay on track and don’t overlook anything.

 – Julie Roe