With the new year fast approaching, this is a good time not only to reflect on the year past but also to begin planning for the year ahead. Here are five resolutions for small businesses in 2019.
- Review Document Retention Policy
The new year brings another round of figuring out which documents to throw away and which ones to keep. A document retention policy (DRP) can help streamline the process. A DRP provides for the systematic review, retention, and destruction of documents received or created in the course of business. A DRP will identify documents that need to be maintained, contain guidelines for how long certain documents should be kept, and save your company valuable computer and physical storage space. In addition, a well-crafted DRP that is followed by your employees may assist your company in the event of litigation. For more information, we recommend viewing our Document Retention Policy Guide.
- Workplace Policy Update
This past year gave employers several reasons to review their employee handbooks. The #MeToo movement thrust sexual harassment and gender discrimination into the spotlight, making it even more important that employers have adequate complaint and investigation procedures. On a positive note for employers, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) relaxed its standard for analyzing whether a workplace rule violates employee rights. As a result, this is a good time for employers to reconsider some of their policies regarding workplace behavior. For ideas on what to put in your company’s employee handbook, we recommend taking a look at our Employee Handbook Guide.
- Consider Outsourcing
A new year is the perfect time to try out new ideas. Smaller businesses may want to consider using a service to outsource their HR or payroll needs. According to a recent survey, the average HR professional spends 11 hours a week processing payroll, 4.9 hours processing employee benefits, and an additional 1.8 hours managing time off. Additionally, many employers make mistakes on their payroll, which adds up to additional expenses. Currently, there are several options that businesses can choose from when considering outsourcing, ranging from bare bones software-based services to full-service HR consultants.
- Tax Prep Under Tax Reform Law
The 2017 Tax Reform Bill has a number of changes that business owners of all sizes will want to be aware of heading into 2019. One of these changes includes a new 20-percent qualified business income deduction for most passthrough entities. There are also changes to how deductions and credits work, including revised depreciation methods and expanded options for expensing business property. It may be a good idea to consult with a qualified tax professional and be proactive with your tax planning to see how your company can take advantage of these changes.
Each passing year seems to highlight the ever-increasing importance of cybersecurity. Just this year, Alabama became the last of the 49 states to adopt a data breach notification law. These laws generally require that covered entities, such as corporations, partnerships, and LLCs, notify victims when their personal information has been compromised. Recent court decisions in Pennsylvania also signal that the courts are not turning a blind eye to these issues either, as employers can be held liable for not adequately protecting their employees’ sensitive information from cyberattacks. It is more important than ever for small businesses to take adequate steps to protect themselves from cyberattacks.