Tax Season 2024- Get Your Books Ready in 6 Steps

Feb 28, 2024


The start of a new year always feels fresh. You’re looking ahead and probably getting excited about everything your startup will accomplish in 2024.

Don’t forget to look behind you, though. Even as you vision-cast for the year ahead, you need to wrap up the year behind you. Don’t shoot the messenger: it’s time to do your taxes.

Yes, you technically have until April 15. But getting a jump on things now can save you a lot of hassle. When you get organized in advance, you save yourself from needing to race the clock. Plus, getting things in order before you go to your accountant can streamline the process, helping you avoid extra expenses like troubleshooting services from your bookkeeper or rush-order billable hours with your CPA.

Very few founders enjoy doing their taxes. But putting in some work now can minimize time, money, and frustration. If that sounds good, follow these steps to get your books ready for your 2024 tax filings.


#1: Get data entry done

Confirm with your team that everyone has submitted all of their reports, receipts, etc. for 2024. Last-minute expense report submittals could make things tricky, so set a deadline for your staff. You need to do your part, too, so make sure you’ve properly recorded any business expenses you made with your personal account.

Also, meet with the appropriate people/teams to make sure they’re working toward finishing up their 2023 recording. You should make sure your year-end inventory has been completed and payroll’s been reconciled, for example.


#2: Get the essentials gathered

Not so very long ago, this meant rummaging through filing cabinets to pull all of the paper documentation your accountant would need. Fortunately, software has significantly streamlined this process.

That said, don’t assume QuickBooks or the like has done a perfect job. Go over year-end reports like your P&L to make sure everything looks like it’s in order.

While you’re putting some energy into gathering up the documents you need, grab a copy of your 2022 tax returns. That can give you and your accountant a good foundation to build on for this year.

Start a folder where you can drop any documents you think your accountant might need.


#3: Do the work to maximize deductions

If you have a finance team, work with them to flag expenses that might be deductible. If you are the finance team, do this work yourself.

To help there, here are some deductions for which your startup might qualify:

  • Advertising (e.g., Google and Facebook ads)
  • Business loan interest
  • Business meals and travel (Meetings with your team, investors, clients, etc. — for a more in-depth look, check out this blog)
  • Dues and subscriptions (e.g., Loom, Linkedin, Amazon Prime)
  • Employee benefits (e.g., Guideline 401k)
  • Equipment/machinery (e.g., computers, laptops, phones)
  • Insurance (e.g., D&O [Founder Shield], liability, workers’ comp)
  • Legal & Professional (e.g., fundraising, terms of service, CPA/bookkeeper fees)
  • Office supplies (e.g., Amazon, Staples)
  • Payroll (e.g., Gusto, Justworks)
  • Rent (including WeWork/coworking spaces)
  • Taxes (e.g., Delaware Franchise Taxes)
  • Training/education
  • Utilities (e.g., internet, phone)
  • Vehicle (including gas, insurance, and maintenance)
  • Website and software (e.g., AWS, Github)

If you want to do a deeper dive into which expense categories you can potentially claim as deductions, you can refer to IRS Publication 535, Business Expenses.


#4: Reconcile your accounts

Start by reconciling what you’re showing in your bookkeeping software or spreadsheets with your account statements. Ultimately, the amount in your business bank accounts should equal what those accounts started 2023 at, plus cash receipts minus expenses.

Odds are high that those numbers won’t match on the first go. That’s the benefit of doing this work now. By reconciling things on your own, you can save yourself from trying to find a missing expense when you’ve got your CPA on the clock.

#5: Get your forms squared away

First, make sure you’re filing W-2s for all of your employees and 1099s for your contractors. (If you’re not sure whether you should W-2 or 1099 someone, this blog can help.)

Then, take a look at the tax forms your business will need to submit. This depends on your entity type. C-corps, you use Form 1120. S-corps use 1120-S, while LLCs might use the 1120, 1120-S, or Form 1065.

Ultimately, it’s worth giving whichever form applies to your business a quick scan. This way, you can understand what you will need to report federally.

While you’re at it, look up your state tax forms, too. Again, knowing what you’ll need in advance can save you from a panic-inducing — and likely expensive — last-minute push to find the necessary documentation.

If you have remote employees, you might have a tax liability in their home state. We can help you determine when you need to be prepared to file taxes in your remote employee’s state of residence.


#6: Schedule time with your CPA

Finally, once you feel your books are more or less ready, it’s time to put something on the books with your CPA. Don’t wait on this. Having that initial tax preparation conversation now means you have plenty of time to address any outstanding to-dos well before the tax deadline.

Plus, meeting with your CPA sooner rather than later clarifies your tax liability for 2024. Best case scenario, you were setting aside more money than you need. And with the clarity that comes with getting yourself sorted, you can redirect that excess into growing your startup in 2024.


Clearly, tax prep isn’t easy. But it is easier (and less stressful) if you start early. We can help. To talk with a CPA who specializes in tax preparation for tech startups, get in touch. We have written a guide which linked here to keep you on top of tax deadlines this year.

While you’re at it, don’t hesitate to talk to us about our bookkeeping services. With them, we can make it a whole lot easier for you to get ready during tax season next year.