Blog


Do I Get a Lawyer or Accountant To Do My Taxes?

Posted by on 4:35 pm in General Accounting, Small Business, Tax Preparation | 0 comments

Do I Get a Lawyer or Accountant To Do My Taxes?

Once you know you would like to speak to a professional about your taxes, you face another choice.  Who do you pick?  You may not have considered the differences in qualifications between a tax attorney and an accountant, but these two different professions naturally approach tax preparation differently.   Similarities Qualified accountants and tax attorneys can provide tax advice to individuals and businesses.   Differences Accountants are trained in financial forecasting, tax regulations, and codes which helps them provide more overall financial guidance and strategies. Attorneys are trained in case law and legal research which can help you deal with more specialized tax litigation.   How to Choose? Consider your needs. Straight forward tax preparation, business planning, and financial strategy are all services within an accountant’s wheelhouse. And the hourly rate of your accounting partner is likely to be far lower than an attorney. However, if you receive a tax claim against your business or are involved in complicated situations with potential litigation, you may want to contact a tax attorney. The great thing about an ongoing accounting partnership is that your accountant will be able to distinguish between these situations and help point you toward a tax attorney, should you need one.   Best of Both Worlds If you really can’t decide, consider choosing both. For almost all situations, an accounting partner is going to provide holistic financial forecasting, tax strategy, and business advice.  And keeping your accountant on the tax preparation side will save you time and money. Creating a relationship with a business attorney is also going to be valuable in the future, whether for tax concerns or other legal issues.   At FNG, LLC, we have relationships with tax attorneys that we can recommend to our clients should the need arise, but we are firm believers that financial specialists are in the best position to strengthen your financial...

read more

2017 Business Reading List

Posted by on 3:05 pm in Small Business | 0 comments

2017 Business Reading List

With the 2016 ‘Best of’ lists still swirling around, we thought we would look ahead to 2017.  At FNG, LLC, we’re always looking for resources to help not only our business but our clients’ businesses.  Here’s the list of books we look forward to reading and talking about in 2017.   Good to Great, Jim Collins A thorough study of 28 companies over 5 years, Good to Great is an analysis of why some companies make the leap to greatness.  And others don’t.   To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink This has been on our reading list since it hit the bestseller’s list in 2013.  In 2017, we want to look at sales very differently – instead of thinking of sales as a business department, we want to see it as an extension of everything our staff does, from providing excellent services to advocating for our team to others.   Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth Genius or Grit? Duckworth’s hypothesis – that passion and perseverance is a bigger predictor of success than inherent ability – is especially telling when we think about how we deal with all the anxieties we face as business owners on a daily basis.   Smarter Faster Better, Charles Duhigg Duhigg’s follow-up to The Power of Habit is about managing how you think, instead of what you think, to drive productivity and success.   Chaos Monkey, Antonio Garcia Martinez Part The Social Network and part Wolf of Wall Street, Chaos Monkey explores Martinez’s time at Facebook and Twitter, taking on the Silicon Valley business culture. We feel sure there are lessons to be learned about managing culture, employees, and fast growth in the visionary power plays described.   Superbosses, Sydney Finkelstein Superbosses are talent magnets and the kinds of people employees want to do their best for. Who wouldn’t want a superboss in their business?   Small Data, Martin Lindstrom In the midst of all our conversations about Big Data and trends in our industries, Lindstrom says that it’s the small data that can hint at what is to come, helping you lead instead of follow.   Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant Is your business supportive of the idea from left field?  Originating new ideas, policies, and practices can be scary at times, but it’s the only true way to create.   Stay tuned for our thoughts on these books in the coming months. First up is Pink’s To Sell is Human, if you are looking to read along with FNG, LLC. Be sure you’re following us on Facebook and LinkedIn (link to profiles) to hear how it’s going.  And check back with the FNG, LLC blog for updates to the list throughout...

read more

Avoiding Business Tax Penalties in 2017

Posted by on 2:06 pm in General Accounting, Tax Preparation | 0 comments

Avoiding Business Tax Penalties in 2017

It’s going to be difficult to get your accounting friends over for dinner this month.  Why? January, much like April, is all about taxes.  Businesses file several times a year, depending on how they are set up, and employers need to provide employee payroll tax data in January.  This is a big month for our financial superheroes. One of the biggest rescue services accountants provide is helping business owners avoid costly penalties.  There are three biggies that are easily avoided and they all boil down to your preparation and timeliness. File and Pay Small Business Taxes On Time Sure, we all mean to do this.  But time gets away from us once in awhile. Priorities shift, life happens, and all of a sudden the deadline is looming or past.  But your business taxes are not something to leave to the last moment and get to another day. The consequences of being late can be expensive, with monthly late payment penalties, daily compounding interest, and a late filing penalty.  Yikes!! Business, Know Thyself Your business entity and fiscal year determine your tax due dates. For example, if your fiscal year ends on June 30 and your business is an S Corp, your due date is September 15.  Sole proprietorships and C Corps have another month to file for the same fiscal year. And if you employ others, there are even more dates to know. Don’t get caught off guard. Knowing your due date is half the battle of meeting it. Don’t Be Shy If you do happen to miss a deadline, don’t hesitate to ask the IRS to waive the penalty.  Why not?  All they can do is say no. Working with an accounting partner like FNG, LLC is a fast track to ensuring you don’t make a costly tax mistake. We’re there during tax season and beyond, helping our clients with more than just their tax returns.  We help you get your finances organized, meet your deadlines, and advise on your financial decisions. Dinner invites...

read more

Why Quickbooks Online?

Posted by on 4:49 pm in General Accounting, Small Business | 0 comments

Why Quickbooks Online?

We can’t all be cool enough to be accountants.  And when a non-accountant is starting a new business, the financials and accounting can be overwhelming.  You know you can deduct expenses.  And you know you have to track how much money is going out and how much money is coming in.  And sometimes, an accountant isn’t in the cards from day one.  So what’s a mere mortal to do? Accounting software is getting easier and more accessible every year. But there is also more and more noise online about which is the best accounting software for you. From free options like Wave to subscription-based options like Quickbooks Online, it is difficult to know what to do.  FNG, LLC can help you decide. We love Quickbooks Online.  Why? It is inexpensive, powerful, easy to use, and grows with your business. The tools are also split into types of businesses.  Self-employed consultant? You don’t need to worry about inventory controls, so why clutter up your accounting software menu and interface with inventory and payroll? Non-profit? Your tax forms and categories will be completely different than a for profit business, so your accounting software should reflect that. In addition, Quickbooks Online has a host of mobile apps to help you track expenses and mileage on the go, literally. Your day to day accounting process can be as simple as a right or left swipe. But our favorite part of Quickbooks Online is the flexibility to grow with your business.  Maybe you start in one category and quickly grow to another.  Maybe your service suite or product lines change over time.  Maybe you start as a one person show but take on employees in the future.  And maybe your business only needs yearly tax preparation now but is growing into a larger organization with deeper accounting needs. You can easily modify Quickbooks Online to add services, products or an accounting partner.  Making it a fantastic, scalable option that will start your business on the right footing. Often, we hear from clients that their accounting software is frustrating or difficult to set up. And if you’re nervous about DiY accounting, we do have a set-up service to get you started, including training on ongoing software use.  But overall, Quickbooks Online is our recommendation for accounting software. It’s the easiest for us to set up and for you to maintain. And the easiest for us to maintain for you as your future accounting...

read more

Real Life Small Business Set Up Guide

Posted by on 3:23 pm in Small Business | 0 comments

Real Life Small Business Set Up Guide

According to the Small Business Association, there are 10 steps to setting up a small business. Step 1: Write a Business Plan Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training Step 3: Choose a Business Location Step 4: Finance Your Business Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business Step 6: Register a Business Name (“Doing Business As”) Step 7: Register for State and Local Taxes Step 8: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits Step 9: Understand Employer Responsibilities Step 10: Find Local Assistance Sounds pretty simple, right? We’ll let you learn those steps from them and the hundreds of other authorities out there. After all, starting a business is about more than paperwork and licenses. It is a significant shift in lifestyle and priorities that comes with incredible freedom and incredible responsibility. So we’re going to talk about the real world steps to starting a business. You know, the steps no one tells you about in advance. 1. Planning with your spouse, partner and family. This is absolutely essential, as there are many lifestyle changes in addition to the financial changes coming. Are you going to work at home? Where? What are the rules for your work time? Can your partner expect dinner ready and the laundry finished when she gets home because you’re working from home? Does your schedule change your child care needs? In addition to the financial questions, discuss how this is going to change your day-to-day lives as well. 2. Figuring out where the money is going to come from. Not the money for the business, the money to live. Starting a business is expensive. Whether you have saved the money for years or reached out for a small business loan, unexpected expenses happen during start-up. And then there’s health insurance and retirement savings. If you’re starting a business and these things were deducted from your previous employment paychecks, you are now going to have to actively think about how to keep your family insured and your retirement savings growing. And what about personal expenses? You may need to reign in the daily coffee shop, online book buying or movie purchases. If it’s just you, you can decide your priorities by yourself, shifting as needed. If not, make sure you’re discussing these shifting priorities with your partner, who may be feeling the stress of taking on the sole responsibility for the mortgage while you’re pursuing an unknown. 3. Figuring out where the time is going to come from. Starting a business will consume your life. Between the planning and the stress, the hours when you’re the only employee start to stretch and stretch until most waking time becomes work time. The lines between work and home blur. This is an exciting time, but it can be difficult, especially on the people around you. Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. Maybe it’s as simple as only working in your home office, using your physical place to signal work and play time to yourself and your family. Or maybe it’s about time. You work from 8-6 and then are with your family in the early mornings and evenings. 4. Setting your own hours and pace. Closely related to figuring out time is to let go of the notion that owning a business means you have...

read more

How to Hire an Accountant

Posted by on 3:26 pm in General Accounting | 0 comments

How to Hire an Accountant

Every dollar counts in your business (no one knows that more than your accountant). And while accounting software can help you monitor costs, the benefits of hiring an accountant goes beyond crunching the numbers.  Hiring an accountant is about hiring a financial partner for the life of your business, helping you finance your next assembly line and your daughter’s college education. Here are some questions to ask before selecting this important business partner. What experience do you have with businesses the same size as mine? In my industry? Sole proprietorships operate differently from corporations. Small and mid-size businesses, growth trajectory, inventory-based businesses and service-based businesses, all require slightly different thought processes and prioritizing. Your accountant needs to understand your situation and circumstances. How much do you charge? Accountants bill hourly or with flat fees, depending on the service. How does billing, invoicing and payment work? Transparency and honesty is important in this relationship and it starts with this question. Any ambiguity or hesitancy here does not bode well. Are you available all year round? Or just between January and April? This question is about whether you’re partnering with a professional who will be there for you or not. You will not be your accountant’s only client, but your accountant should get back to you with answers in a reasonable time frame and stay in touch throughout the year. Do you believe I am paying too much in taxes? An accountant can prepare your taxes, but this relationship is about more. Your accountant should be part of your business planning, should be doing quarterly reviews with you. And should be advising you on opportunities to help your business’s finances. Why should I hire you? Listen to the answer. This is how you find out your accountant’s working philosophy. The answer should feel like your accountant cares about your business’s financial health. Your accounting partner should be as invested in your success as you are.  When you love a candidate’s answers to these questions, you have found a true financial partner. At FNG, LLC, we believe you will love our answers. To start the conversation, call Bjorn at 612-888-3950...

read more

What’s Your Number?

Posted by on 3:51 pm in General Accounting | 0 comments

What’s Your Number?

As small business owners, there are nagging things that weigh on our minds.  Doesn’t matter if we’re business coaches working independently or running a 30-person creative agency.  Doesn’t matter if we have $50,000 in revenue or $5,000,000. We all have a number. You know, the number that is the threshold for anxiety.  If your business accounts fall below this amount, you’re up at night, worrying about tomorrow. You fret and run over decisions in your head.  You start to look at how you can cut costs, question whether you’ll make payroll, decide to skip vacations and put a hold on personal expenditures. This is the moment you’re grateful for your accounting partner.  A person who listens to your very serious concerns with empathy.  A person who can help you create a plan to get your number back by showing you all the possible paths and then recommending one for your long-term success. Regardless of the reason your account status changed, a partner who knows all your numbers can help alleviate your concerns. There are many reasons to hire the right accountant.  From accounting software set-up to detailed business planning and consulting, an accountant can improve your business immensely. We know this, and yet we miss the best reason of all.  An accountant is someone in your financial corner. Someone who is there to figure out how you never have to worry about your number again. We can all use that. FNG, LLC can be that partner.  Call Bjorn at 612-888-3950 or click here to...

read more

What We’re About

Posted by on 8:18 pm in Homepage Slider | 0 comments

What We’re About

Financial Navigation Group, LLC is a small, unconventional accounting firm.  For starters, you won’t find us in a traditional brick and mortar office.  We are housed at CoCo Minneapolis, a coworking and collaborative space.  Find a seat on the couch or a beanbag and we’ll tell you how that’s just the start of what makes us unique. Learn more about us.   

read more