12 days of accounting

Discover the year-end 12 days of accounting checklist your firm needs to put a bow on a successful year.

minute read

Last Updated December 11, 2023

12 days of accounting


If you’re an accountant, you may not have visions of sugarplums dancing in your head as you begin to tuck in the receipts and financial reports for a good year-end sleep. Instead, you’re likely dreaming of balanced ledgers, a successful tax season and a peaceful end-of-year closing process. 

To help your firm close out the year on a high note—and prep for the year ahead—we present you with an accounting checklist that we’ll lovingly refer to as the 12 days of accounting. 

(Feel free to sing along to 12 Days of Christmas. We won’t mind. Actually, we encourage it.) 

On the first day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

A partridge sits atop the image of a white number one, above a pear tree, and the graphic is entitled, “Year-end financial review.”
The first item on your year-end accounting checklist is to conduct a financial review.

A partridge in a pear—oh, wait. Wrong version.  

Conduct a year-end financial review! Compile all financial statements, such as bank and credit card statements, payroll reports and account statements. Make sure to collect on outstanding invoices and close out payable accounts. Identify any discrepancies, prepare for tax season and make sure your financial statements are accurate by doing a thorough financial review. 

On the second day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

Tax planning and prepping for busy season! (I’ll bet you thought I was going to say, “Two turtle doves.” Though, to be fair, I did say “planning” and “prepping.”) Work closely with your clients to develop a solid tax strategy for the coming year. Now’s the time to identify potential tax deductions, credits and exemptions. This can help clients minimize their tax liability while staying compliant with tax laws. 

On the third day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

Three budget tasks: analysis, insights and recommendations! Help your clients understand how they performed during the year. Provide them with data analytics and insights to help them create a new budget—and stick to it. Use your expertise to provide recommendations on their financial goals for the new year. 

On the fourth day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

Four calling birds—to communicate with your clients, that is. Use this time of year to keep them informed about upcoming deadlines, changes to tax laws and financial strategies. It’s also a good time to send a thank-you note for being an ideal client (to those clients who are ideal, of course). It may not be a bad time to say farewell to those non-ideal clients, too. 

On the fifth day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

A blue background with a white number five on the left side, covered with five golden rings to represent the fifth day of accounting. It’s entitled, “Tech stack audit.”
Now’s the time to make sure there’s no tech stack spread in your firm.

(Sing it with me, now…) A tech stack audit! Now’s the time to evaluate your tech stack. Make sure your firm has these five basics: a modern website, collaboration tools (e.g., Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Calendly), cloud storage (e.g., Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive), tax tools (e.g., SurePrep) and client touchpoint automation apps (e.g., SafeSend). Remember: Implementing more apps doesn’t mean your firm increases efficiency; it can actually hinder it.

And if you don’t believe me, listen to Darren Root.

On the sixth day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

Goals and objectives checkin! No firm wants to lay an egg (see what I did there? Six geese a-laying? No? OK; moving along) when it comes to goal setting. Take the time to review your current goals and objectives and see where you excelled or maybe fell short. Set new goals for next year and be sure you’re tracking the KPIs that are important to you. 

On the seventh day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

Bookkeeping cleanup! It’s time to get your clients’ financials in order, especially if you want a smooth tax season. Ensure income and expenses are categorized properly; reconcile bank statements, credit card statements and financial accounts; correct mistakes and make sure numbers add up correctly; and remove duplicate or unnecessary transactions from their records. 

On the eighth day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

Auditing preparations! If clients are being audited, you can help them prepare for the process. Gather—and organize—all necessary documentation, like financial statements, transaction records, contracts or other relevant documents auditors may require. Be sure to compile and submit tax records in a timely manner to help the auditing process go smoothly.

On the ninth day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

A blue background with a white number nine on the left side, covered with a ballerina en pointe in an arabesque to represent the nine ladies dancing in the original 12 Days of Christmas lyrics. It’s entitled, “Tax document organization.”
Get your firm—and your clients—prepared for tax season before the end of the year.

Tax document organization! (I would’ve loved to sing—er, say, “Nine ladies dancing,” but maybe your team can do that once you’ve completed this day of accounting.) Make tax season (and tax filing) a breeze. Assist your clients in organizing their tax-related documents, like receipts, invoices and financial statements. Better yet, provide them with a tax season checklist, so they know exactly what to send you (via your portal—because paper is a thing of the past.)  

Rightworks Academy members: Use our tax season checklist. 

On the tenth day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

Refresh your knowledge [on updated tax requirements]! Tax laws change every year, whether they’re added, removed or altered. And these changes can be complex and overwhelming. Stay on top of updated requirements by accessing the IRS website, checking your state’s Department of Revenue website, subscribing to an accounting- or tax-specific newsletter, bookmarking resources pages (like this one from the AICPA), keeping your tax software up to date and maintaining your minimum 40 hours of CPE. 

On the eleventh day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

Pipe up staff training! Whether you added new technology or services, your processes may have changed throughout the year. Use this time to ensure your staff knows their position in your firm’s workflows and is updated on current processes or new technology. This will give you a great start to the new year—and set you up for a successful tax season. 

On the twelfth day of accounting, here’s what my firm should do…

A blue background with a white number 12 on the left side, covered with a snare drummer to represent the 12 drummers drumming in the original 12 Days of Christmas lyrics. It’s entitled, “Drum up the celebrations.”
For another successful year, don’t forget to show appreciation to your team.

Drum up the celebrations! Your team has worked hard for you all year long. Celebrate another successful year and show your staff your appreciation. It’s important that they feel supported and engaged at all times. So, plan a holiday party and provide thoughtful gifts. (If you’re stuck on how to express your gratitude, we’ve got you covered.) And make sure they’re taking time to take care of themselves. 

Sing it with us…

Drum up the celebrations. Pipe up staff training. Refresh your knowledge. Tax document organization. Auditing preparations. Bookkeeping cleanup. Goals and objectives check-in. A tech…stack…audit. Four calling birds. Three budget tasks. Tax planning and prepping. And a year-end fin-an-cial reviewww! 

Happy holidays, everyone! 

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