The start of a new year traditionally is a time to wipe the slate clean and usher in some change, which can be excellent for business. But if you've been procrastinating on certain tasks, loose ends can make a clean break difficult. These are some of the top jobs you need to tackle before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

1. Prep for the IRS.

Getting ready for tax deadlines early ensures that you're not left scrambling at the last moment and fall prey to unnecessary, costly penalties. But you also can use this time to get in last minute donations, start options such as retirement accounts, and make purchases on big-ticket, tax-deductible supplies.

2. Update your paperwork.

Handbooks, manuals, contracts, license agreements--all of these types of documents can become out of date quickly, not just because of changes to your business, but because of modifications to current best practices or regulations. As you remove old versions, make corrections and check deadlines, consider whether the wording and overall content still reflects your vision and operations. Refresh, refresh, refresh!

3. Thank people.

The end of the year can offer wonderfully valuable data about your suppliers and customers. That said, people like to be acknowledged, even subtly -- and it goes a long way. Send thank you notes to those who have supported you, or send out communications about services, events or upcoming changes to your business.

4. Clean up.

Clutter is bad for business not only in that it can foster expensive inefficiencies and waste, but also because it contributes to the continuation of old habits that aren't doing you any favors. Bite the bullet and start fresh as you set new personal and business goals for the upcoming year.

5. Take a hard look at your tech.

Some better technologies can last a business several years if implemented properly, but the reality is that it's almost a given you'll need to update or replace at least one key component of your infrastructure regularly, especially with regards to the long-term business implications. Is there a new version of a platform that you're using? Is there code that needs to be updated? If the technology you have isn't meeting demands or can't get you to the new goals you've set, it's time to shop around or at the least, have some internal planning discussions.

Treat these 5 just like a checklist and chip away at them one by one -- it'll be cathartic, I promise. Did I miss any? Comment below to let me know what your end-of-year list looks like.

Published on: Dec 22, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.