Year-end Legal Checklist for Ecommerce Owners

As the end of the year approaches, business owners should review their legal and financial obligations for 2015 and prepare for 2016 and beyond. While every company is unique, the following list should be a beginning.

Year-end Legal Checklist for Small Firms

1. Review your lease. If your lease has a right to renew for a further term, there’s usually a period during which you must notify your landlord if you would like to exercise the right to renew.

Review your lease, so you will understand when you have to notify your landlord that you would like to renew. If you don’t want to renew you rent and it’s set to expire in 2016, then you can also have requirements for if you must notify your landlord you won’t be extending the rental.

2. Review space requirements. Whether you work out of your residence or have another physical location, determine whether the area is meeting your needs. If you’re currently in a rental and would like to move, you might want to go over early termination with your landlord. This should only be done after talking with your lawyer to make certain it is appropriate for your circumstances.

Sometimes, you may have the ability to terminate your lease early, particularly if you’re paying less than current market value and your landlord can easily rent the space for longer or if you’ve got a cash payment to cover in exchange for early termination.

3. Review vendor agreements. If vendor agreements are going to perish, consider renegotiating the terms of these agreements. Assessing the arrangements about a month prior to the expiration dates will provide you time to ask any changes. In case you’ve been a long-term client that has a good payment record, you might want to inquire about discounts for the new term. If you are not happy with the vendor, you might want to search out options.

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4. Review equipment leases. Inspection your equipment leases, like copiers, fax machines, and furniture. Many equipment leases, especially copier and fax rentals, auto renew and have strict deadlines to complete the auto renewal. Although your gear has aged, most equipment leases I’ve seen do not provide any discounts for auto renewals of older gear.

When you have any old machine, you’ll want to contact the vendor, and possibly other vendors, to see whether you’re able to get newer equipment for the exact same price.

5. Ensure any yearly meeting duties have been meet. If your company is organized as a company, you should be having annual meetings — for some businesses it’s a requirement. When you haven’t had an annual meeting of the members (for a restricted liability company — LLC) or shareholders and directors (for a company ), call one before the end of the year. Review your operating agreement or bylaws to make certain you comply with all rules for calling meetings.

If you don’t regularly schedule your yearly meeting, this is a fantastic time to start. Review your operating agreement or bylaws to determine if there’s a requirement for which month you need to schedule it for this month. If no month is designated, talk to any other owners to ascertain the ideal month for your meeting.

6. Review your books and financial documents. Make sure that all expenses are accounted for on your books. In case you’ve paid for anything in cash or on personal credit cards, make sure that these expenses are recorded. When you haven’t prepared a mileage log, now’s a fantastic time to review any journey so you can write a check for mileage to some owners and employees that the company reimburses for mileage.

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7. Review your compensation packages for employees. If you have employees, this is a fantastic time to review their compensation packages. Holidays make a fantastic time for bonuses and a pay raise may be a means to ward off the holiday blues — and consequent inefficiency at work. Also, check medical insurance packages for both your employees and yourself, as open registration is normally in this time.

8. Schedule a meeting with your CPA, insurance agent, lawyer, and banker. This is a fantastic time to schedule a meeting with your professional advisors, to plan for next year. As an example, if you’re getting ready to take a loan out or move to a new area, everyone ought to be aware of this so that they can be preparing for the shift. If you’re thinking about bringing on your first employee, you lawyer might want to prepare paperwork beforehand along with your CPA and insurance agent can give you ideas concerning the costs.