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  • Financial Planning For Living Longer

    June 15, 2018

    Financial Planning For Living Longer

    Financial Planning For Living Longer

    Nearly half of families have no retirement account savings. That fact, courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute, just tells part of the story. Those families that do have money tucked away is far less than they need to retire. Roughly 35% of adults in the U.S. only have a few hundred dollars in their accounts, while another 34% are living paycheck to paycheck.

    Fortunately, it’s never too late to start planning for retirement. The more time you have is better, but professional financial planning may be the key you need to get your retirement savings on track. A qualified CPA can not only help you get started with retirement planning, but can help maximize the money you do put away.

    CPA Retirement Planning Benefits

    How much money should you be putting away each payday? Which is the best financial instrument to use? Do my contributions need to change over time? These are all great questions that a CPA can answer to help you make the most out of your retirement planning. Using a CPA for your retirement planning has a host of additional benefits including:

    • Creating strategies to keep and grow your retirement account balance
    • Developing a backup plan to cover unpredictable and unfortunate events
    • Identifying expenses that could occur during retirement and create a plan to eliminate any shortage in income

    Financial Services So You Don’t Outlive Your Savings

    Retirement is the time to relax and enjoy yourself after decades of work. Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t prepared financially for retirement and end up working far longer than they intend. Regardless of your age, seeking financial services now is a great first step to make sure that you don’t outlive your savings. In addition to retirement planning, a CPA can also help with:

    • Elder planning to ensure comfort and peace as you age
    • Estate planning to ease estate transitions
    • Education planning for future generations

    It’s never too late to start planning for retirement. Get started by contacting BIG today.

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  • How A CPA Firm Can Help Grow Your Business

    May 30, 2018

    How A CPA Firm Can Help Grow Your Business

    How A CPA Firm Can Help Grow Your Business

    Should you upgrade that software for your business? How about that potential new hire that promises to increase revenue? These questions come up on a regular basis and without a plan in place, you’re flying blind with your finances. By not managing your money properly, you’re setting yourself and your business up for failure.

    Investing in a CPA Firm can help eliminate these problems. Imagine them as high-powered finance glasses for your business. A good CPA firm can do everything from setting up and advising on essential systems like payroll and expense tracking to in-depth cost-benefit analysis to decide what to invest in. Why are these important? Let’s take a deeper dive.

    Why Cost-Benefit Analysis?

    A cost-benefit analysis needs to be performed on most major purchases. A proper cost-benefit analysis can help your team determine the pros and cons of a potential investment and, based on the weight that is given to each point, can help you determine if the cost or the benefit is more substantial. To make the most of this exercise, here are a few things you need to know:

    • Make an exhaustive list. It’s better to have too many costs and benefits than not have enough. You can also omit some of them if needed.
    • Estimated value is difficult to put on a benefit. Cost can be measured in cash most of the time, but benefits can be tricky. Take the extra time on this and come up with your best estimate of the value of the benefit.
    • In the end, focus on the big wins that can help the most people.

    Accounting Services For Business

    Cost-benefit analysis are a crucial element to making financial decisions that will benefit your business long-term. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a financially-sound strategy though. At BIG, we can help fill in the rest with accounting services tailored specifically to what you need. Whether you are a budding start-up or an established business, we can help. A few of the services we provide include:

    • Payroll setup
    • Tax advice
    • Administrative tasks

    A proven CPA firm can help grow your business through tools such as a cost-benefit analysis to various accounting services that keep your finances in check.

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  • Best Financial Advice You’re Not Doing But You Should.

    May 15, 2018

    best financial advice

    Best Financial Advice You're Not Doing But You Should

    What if I told you that you’d have to sell your house by the end of the year and take a big pay cut next month? This is the unfortunate truth that many retirees face because they’ve spent their entire life living paycheck to paycheck. Once that steady income stops, the trouble starts.

    Social Security only pays out a fraction of what they’d make during their career and they are forced to sell their home and live on a fraction of they used to. Are you part of the majority that lives paycheck to paycheck? Do you want to avoid being broke when you when retire? Gaining financial independence needs to be a top priority to make sure you can retire with peace of mind. So, how do you get started? The path to financial independence is a lifelong pursuit, but living below your means and seeking out a financial planner are some of the best financial advice you’ll ever receive to get started.

    How Living Below Your Means Will Gain Financial Independence

    People tend to spend exactly what they make. They get a raise, they raise their standard of living to make up the difference. Whether they make $100 or $1000 a day, most will find a way to spend all of it. To become truly financially independent, you need to consistently live below your means. Avoid the trap of spending all of your paycheck and try one of the following approaches to make sure you keep more of your money:

    • Set aside a specific percentage of your paycheck to automatically go to savings. That way when you your income increases, so will your savings contributions.
    • Don't upgrade if you don't need it. Want that new phone? New car? Take a hard pass if your current option still works.
    • Stop eating out. It's perfectly normal to want to go out to a restaurant to celebrate an accomplishment. But don't overdo it by keeping up that dining out streak. Eat at home and you'll be amazed how much you'll save.

    Do I Need A Financial Planner? YES!

    What financial goals do you have? Do you have money set aside for an emergency? Are you contributing to the right type of retirement account for your needs? These are all questions that you’ll need answers to if you want to maximize your financial independence.

    Financial planners can help answer these questions for you as well as establish a plan for your financial needs. At BIG, our financial planners can help you:

    Determine short and long-term goals based on lifestyle and income
    Choose the best investment account for your needs
    Create a financial plan from scratch to start your path towards financial independence


    Achieving financial independence is possible regardless of where you’re at now. At BIG, our goal is to help you get there faster.

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  • Professional Accounting Costs Less Than Doing It Yourself

    April 30, 2018

    Professional Accounting Costs Less Than Doing It Yourself

    Are you planning doing your own accounting this year? You’re probably giving away more money than you should. Doing your own accounting may seem like the cheapest option, but hiring a professional accounting service will actually cost less. One of the biggest mistakes both individuals and small businesses make is to take on their own accounting. This can lead to a lot of missed opportunities and deductions. You’re also more likely to make a mistake that could lead to further problems. By taking advantage of accounting services, you’ll have access to tax consulting, accounting analysis, and several other services that can save you thousands.

    Tax Consulting

    Tax consulting can help minimize several pain points you’d experience by doing your accounting yourself. Expert accountants can help create long-term tax strategies as well as filing all required tax returns, business, personal, employer, sales tax, and CAT forms. Tax consulting is more than just filing the paperwork for you. We’ll also work with you and teach you:

    • How to properly expense items
    • How to legally minimize your tax obligation
    • How to implement proactive tax reduction strategies

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  • What Your Family Business Should Know For Tax Season

    April 16, 2018

    family business taxes

    Employing family members can be a rewarding experience for business owners. With tax season underway, some questions are hard to answer. What forms do I have to file for my kids? Do I need separate forms for family and non-family employees? What if my spouse works with me? These are all great questions and often have situational answers. For instance, your children will have different tax requirements than other employees that are minors. Children also have different tax needs based on whether your family business is a corporation. To help simplify some of the confusion, here are a couple requirements for both children and other family members to help you during tax season.

    Employing Your Children

    For most small business owners, children are an invaluable part of the business. They can provide much-needed help during busy times and are more likely to be productive employees than other minors. While some children do work for free, there are a few things you need to know for those that are paid.

    • Federal unemployment tax is not required on the wages of your children.
    • Social security and Medicare (FICA) taxes are only required if the business is not a corporation.
    • You are required to withhold income taxes from your children’s wages.

    Employing Adult Family Members

    Children aren’t the only family members in a family business. Siblings and parents are often staples of a family business and are usually more loyal to the business than traditional employees. If you pay wages to any family member, make sure you know these key points.

    • Each family member needs a W-4 when hired and you are required to withhold federal income taxes.
    • Family member pay should be included in your unemployment tax.
    • Overtime works the same as a regular employee; One and a half times base pay after forty hours.

    Employing family members is a great route for many small business owners. BIG can help make your family business’ taxes a breeze with our small business accounting services.

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  • Why Every Company Needs A CFO, Chief Financial Officer For Strategic Advice

    March 30, 2018

    Is your company profitable enough for a CFO? The answer is yes. A CFO can provide invaluable strategic advice that keeps your company moving forward. The problem that most small businesses face is the cost of hiring a CFO.

    Because of the cost, most CEOs also function has a defacto CFO. This is fine until the company starts to grow. Then the CEO becomes preoccupied with finance-related tasks and can’t focus on long-term revenue-generating activities. This is where a CFO-like business consulting services can be beneficial. A few areas where a consulting services can be helpful are by creating a strategic business plan and performing crucial tasks like a cost and profitability analysis.

    Creating A Strategic Business Plan

    Improving performance should be a top priority for any company. Without continual improvement, a company fails to thrive and grow. Analyzing current business problems can expose troubled areas that need improvement. In order to develop a proper action plan, three different types of strategy need to be created.

    • Business Strategy
    • Market Strategy
    • Pricing Strategy

    By creating these types of strategy, you’ll get a better overview of where your company needs to improve and what actions are needed to improve.

    Cost & Profitability Analysis

    Tracking and controlling costs is the first step to improving profitability. Most businesses won’t last long without a plan. Unfortunately, the data can seem overwhelming for many business owners and they can end up with a subpar pricing strategy.

    By using a cost and profitability analysis, the consulting service can provide strategic advice based on a variety of factors to help you determine the best business opportunities and pricing models to help you maximize your profits. A few include:

    • Quantifying historical data
    • Reviewing inventory values
    • Review current pricing structures

    Hiring a full-time CFO isn’t a necessity, but every company needs strategic advice that the CEO can’t provide.

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  • What You Need To Know About A 1099 Form

    March 15, 2018

    What You Need to Know About A 1099 Form

    Do you work as a freelancer or independent contractor? Chances are you’ll receive a 1099 form. If you make more than $600 with a client, they are required to send you a 1099 form by the end of January. Instead of of receiving a typical W-2 that traditional employees receive, most freelancers will receive the 1099-MISC form that is used to confirm that all their earnings are reported to the IRS.

    While this can be overwhelming for new freelancers and independent contractors, a little organization can go a long way. Proper organization allows you to maximize your tax write-offs and keep more of your earnings. Deductions such as car expenses and home office deductions are a couple of the biggest tax breaks you can get.

    Car Expenses

    Car expenses including mileage can provide one of the biggest tax write-offs for freelancers. The easiest method to use is to claim the standard mileage rate. This allows you to write off 54 cents off every mile you drive for business-related purposes. These miles include:

    • Driving while working
    • Going to meet clients at a seperate location
    • Heading out of town on business

    The standard mileage rate takes into account gas, insurance, maintenance, depreciation, and insurance. While you can use the actual method of deducting your car expenses, the standard mileage rate is far easier to track and report.

    Home Office Expenses

    If you’re running an independent business from your home, you can potentially write off part of your home expenses. As long as you have a dedicated space that serves as your primary place of business and is used exclusively for work, you can use it as a tax write-off. Using the simplified method is the easiest way to deduct your home office. It includes everything in your home office and can be figured out by finding the square footage of your home office. Here are a few things you need to know:

    • You can deduct $5 per square foot.
    • You can only deduct up to 300 square feet per year.
    • Total deduction cannot exceed $1500.

    Make sure you don’t miss out on any deductions. BIG offers professional tax services to make sure you get the most tax write-offs possible.

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  • How To Avoid Tax Identity Theft

    February 28, 2018


    Tax identity theft is frequently the single biggest type of identity theft according to the Federal Trade Commision. Finding out you’re a victim of tax identity theft can be a nerve-racking experience. By the time you learn you’re a victim, it’s usually too late. At that point, your options are slim and usually limited to preventing future damage.

    The best approach is to take preventative measures and avoid identity theft altogether. While there are multiple methods to be proactive, you can make the biggest impact by protecting your identity and avoiding scams. These two approaches will limit the exposure of your personal information to unauthorized eyes and dramatically lower your risk.

    Protect Your Personal Information

    Information such as your Social Security number, birth date, and other personal information should be protected at all times. The only types of people that should see this information are banking institutions, tax advisors, lending companies, and similar businesses. These types of institutions are mindful on how they ask for personal information as well. They will never have you send your SSN through email or any other unsecure method.

    In addition to only giving personal information to certain types of people, here are a few more tips that will help keep you safe:

    • Don’t carry your Social Security card with you
    • Regularly change your passwords online

    • Keep your firewall and antivirus on your computer installed and up-to-date

    Avoiding Scams

    As we move deeper into the digital age, scammers are more creative and deceitful than ever. Their scams are becoming more elaborate and harder to detect. Many tax identity theft victims unknowingly give away their personal information without knowing they are dealing with a fraudster.

    Most victims willingly give their information when they receive threatening phone calls, emails, or postal mail claiming the IRS will take some type of action if the victim doesn’t cooperate. Threats of foreclosure and jail time are usually enough to scare someone enough to send whatever information is requested.

    To avoid scams, there a few things the IRS recommends knowing:

    • You’ll never receive a call demanding immediate payment or any tax-related call from the IRS without first mailing you a bill. If you haven’t received the bill in the mail, be aware you could be dealing with a scam.

    • If you’ve completed your tax plan and don’t believe you owe any taxes, you can report any potential scam you encounter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

    • If you’re unsure on whether a person is who they claim, contact the institution directly and ask.

    Tax identity theft can be a scary situation if your caught in it. By protecting your personal information and being mindful of scams, you can greatly reduce your risk.

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  • Are There Home Office Tax Deductions?

    February 15, 2018

    According to a recent Gallup study, 43% of Americans report at least part of their time working from home. With more employees making the transition to home offices, the question inevitably comes up; What can I deduct?

    The IRS has two requirements that need to be met in order to claim the home office deduction. The first requirement is the space you intend to claim needs to be used as a home office regularly and excessively. The second is your home office has to be the principal place of your business.

    Regular and Exclusive Use

    The IRS is very particular about this portion. You must use your home office frequently for it to be considered eligible. This means that if you use your laptop on the couch, kitchen table, and the bedroom, you’re not eligible for the home office deduction. To keep your audit risk low, make sure your home office is:

    • An established place where you complete the majority of your work
    • Preferably a separate room that is designated for work only
    • A place where you work for a minimum of 12 hours a week

    Principal Place of Your Business

    Flexibility is a benefit here when it comes to your home office. The IRS is fairly understanding to the location of your home office as long as it’s used primarily for work. That means your garage, a corner of the living room, or a spare bedroom can all be used as a home office. To take advantage of the home office deduction, here are a few things you should know:

    • Choosing the simplified home office deduction allows you to allocate a percentage of your home as your home office.
    • Separate stand-alone buildings can be deducted if they are used primarily for business purposes.
    • Your home office should not be a communal area such as a family computer room.


    Follow these two guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to claiming your home office tax deduction. To help maximize your deductions, BIG can help you get the most back with our tax preparation services.

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  • 2018 Tax Plan is Helping Freelancers

    January 29, 2018

    freelancers get tax boost in 2018

    Freelancers are getting a big help from the new tax plan's pass-through deduction.

    You may not realize you are doing this as a freelancer, but you are.  If you end up claiming the revenue your LLC or S-Corp makes as your income and use itemized deductions to lower your taxes owned then you are participating in the pass-through deduction.

    This pass-through provision will allow you / freelancers to deduct 20% of your revenue from your taxable income.

    With the new law it has loosened restrictions so that not only the rich will benefit. You will get a nice savings as well.

    This deduction, paired with new, lower tax rates means most freelancers will pay less in federal taxes in 2018 than they would have under the former tax code.

    Read More here for more details: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2018/01/18/what-the-tax-deduction-for-pass-through-businesses-looks-like-in-chart-form/#64dbe3994a0f

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