Successful financial planning for brick and mortar stores can often seem like part science, part art, and a dash of black magic.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Knowing when to tackle what tasks and at what time of the year is often half the battle. With 2015 coming to a close, here are 5 key tasks that all merchants should be sure to have on their to-do list during the coming weeks.

1. Purchase or Replace Business Equipment

Been meaning to update your computers or invest in a new POS system? If you didn’t already know, these purchases are tax deductible up to a limit of $25,000. Under Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code, purchases such as machinery, office equipment, computer and computer software, vehicles, and office furniture are all deductible. So get shopping!

2. Automate Your Business

Business automation might sound like a catchall phrase, but generally, automating one’s business entails streamlining processes, adopting new software or apps, and saving money in the process.

The key to business automation is to start with a few key processes. Ask yourself what needs to run more smoothly to free up more of your valuable time (and money). Then, choose tools and apps that will help you accomplish those goals. Maybe you’re looking to future proof your retail business and are thinking about adopting a cloud-based POS system. If so, great! You can check out our guide to choosing a POS system for a few budget-friendly tips. Not at that point yet, but still looking to update a few key aspects of your business? Check out these apps that can help you save money on software and reclaim valuable hours in your day. Starting this process prior to January 1st will ensure you hit the ground running come the New Year.

3. Update Your Commercial Insurance Protection

If you haven’t taken a look at your insurance policy in a while, now’s as good a time as any. When was the last time it was renewed? Has your business grown since then? If it’s been a while, what you once thought you were covered for, might not be the case anymore. As your business grows and expands, you might not have coverage for the new merchandise you carry or the new machinery you installed. Take a look at your plan and see if what you thought you were covered for is actually the case. Trust us, it’s worth taking the time to review the fine print. In the case of theft, accident, or disaster, you never want to be stuck holding a preventable bill.

SEE ALSO: 3 Things You Must Know to Get a Deal on Business Insurance

4. Donate to a Good Cause

The end of the year is the time to take advantage of last minute tax deductions. Generally, donating to most 501(c)(3) organizations will qualify you for a deduction. The IRS has a handy search function that can help you determine if your chosen organization meets these criteria. You can learn more about tax-deductible donations here.

5. Organize Your Documents

If organizing your receipts and invoices isn’t second nature to you, now’s the time to get in the habit. Waiting until tax season to organize your brick and mortar store’s financial planning tasks is recipe for disaster and will inevitably do you harm. Organization is key to successful small business management. Keeping yourself organized and ahead of schedule will not only save you time and sanity when April rolls around, but will also make it easy for your accountant to identify any tax deductions you qualify for. And who doesn’t love a deduction or two?

Sara Sugar

Sara Sugar

As Managing Editor at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Sara Sugar uses her distinguished journalism background to boil down small business and point of sale topics.