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22 November 2011

Small Business Planning: Schedule Your Annual Meeting

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As the year draws to a close, it is time for business owners to start gathering everything together for year-end activities such as paying taxes, closing your financial books, renewing required business licenses, and filing your annual report. It is also a great time to have your annual meeting.

An annual meeting is generally required for some business classifications such as a corporation and is generally optional for some business classifications such as a limited liability company. However, each state has different requirements, so ensure you know the requirements in your state for the business classification you have chosen for your business, and ensure you fulfill those requirements.

Regardless of whether an annual meeting is mandated by an external entity, I strongly recommend you invest the time to do a review of the activities of the past year and plan for the activities of the upcoming year. Following are some of the topics you may want to discuss:

  • Liability and date of filing of the last state tax return
  • Liability and date of filing of the last Federal tax return
  • Annual reporting requirements
  • Any other required reports/returns
  • Employment agreements
  • Insurance coverage
  • Financial Statements
  • Year-to-date income and expenses
  • Net profit
  • Current salaries
  • Current pension/profit-sharing plans
  • Accounts receivable
  • Collection procedures
  • Outstanding loans
  • Any major items requiring action
  • Major purchases or leases (real estate or personal property)
  • Lawsuits
  • Review of current product line(s) /service(s) offered
  • Desired business direction for upcoming year
  • Strategic business planning for the next 3-5 years

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, but rather topics to help you brainstorm a list that is suitable for your situation. Although many times an annual meeting is primarily focused on review of the past year, I feel looking forward to the future is the real benefit of scheduling a formal annual meeting.

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