Business Checking Account
Our Small Business Checking Account
At Northern Lights, we recognize the importance of controlling costs. Our small business checking accounts are offered at a flat monthly fee as long as your account activity stays within our generous transaction allowance - with no hidden costs.
What You Get!
Current Rate Specials
First, you must decide what type of business entity you are going to establish. The type of business entity will determine which tax form you have to file. The most common types of business are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and S corporation.
The type of business you operate determines what taxes you must pay and how you pay them. The four general types of business taxes are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax.
An Employer Identification Number is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN. Visit IRS.gov for more information about whether you will need an EIN. You can also apply for an EIN online at IRS.gov.
Good records will help you ensure successful operation of your new business. You may choose any recordkeeping system suited to your business that clearly shows your income and expenses. Except in a few cases, the law does not require any special kind of records. However, the business you are in affects the type of records you need to keep for federal tax purposes.
Every business taxpayer must figure taxable income on an annual accounting period called a tax year. The calendar year and the fiscal year are the most common tax years used.
Each taxpayer must also use a consistent accounting method, which is a set of rules for determining when to report income and expenses. The most commonly used accounting methods are the cash method and an accrual method. Under the cash method, you generally report income in the tax year you receive it and deduct expenses in the tax year you pay them. Under an accrual method, you generally report income in the tax year you earn it and deduct expenses in the tax year you incur them.
IRS Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records, provides basic federal tax information for people who are starting a business. This publication is available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Visit the Business section of IRS.gov for resources to assist entrepreneurs with starting and operating a new business.
Stick to what you know and love. Successful businesses don't just happen. They are made. Whether you plan to profit by “clowning around” at birthday parties or growing a multinational corporation, your success relies on your knowledge, passion, and commitment. Evaluate your skills and interests and find a business that works for you.
Get smart. Learn all the intrinsic details of the businesses that interest you. Use the Internet to research the industry. Investigate the competition. Subscribe to magazines that cover your field or trade (the cost may be tax deductible) and attend association meetings and local networking groups. Talk with business owners in similar fields. The more knowledgeable you are, the better your chance for success.
Choose an organizational structure. You’ll need to decide whether to organize your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Since your choice affects both your income taxes and personal liability, it is important that you learn as much as you can about each and seek professional advice before making a decision.
Name your business. This is not as easy as it may sound. It’s often best to select a name that is short, easy to remember, descriptive of the type of business you’re in, and likely to attract attention. Depending on your legal structure, you may have to register your business name with your local or county government. If a Web presence is important to your business, check to see if your desired domain name is available.
Make it possible with a business plan. Think of a business plan as your blueprint for success. The process of developing a detailed and accurate business plan, however daunting, will help you think through important issues. A business plan should outline your strengths and weaknesses, and show where you are, where you want to go, and how you plan to get there. A typical plan includes an executive summary, a description of the business and its products or services, marketing strategy, operations plan, financial data and projections, management description, and market, competitive and risk analyses.
Find the best location. Location is almost always a critical factor in a business’ success. Some local governments can provide information on traffic patterns for city and county roads. They also may have local population demographics. On your own, you can check area competitors and measure pedestrian traffic during business hours to estimate walk-in potential. Once you’ve settled on a location, decide whether to rent or own the building and then evaluate different sites.
Raise money. Raising the money needed to start a new business is almost always one of the most difficult steps. Financial resources available to small businesses can vary depending on whether you are starting a new business or purchasing an existing one. Generally speaking, business loans for start-up enterprises are not easily obtained. Many start-ups are financed by personal resources including savings, home-equity loans, and credit cards. Relatives and friends also may be potential sources of financing.
Make it legal. Governments often require licenses and permits for conducting business. In some cases, it’s as simple as paying for a license. In others, you may face the more difficult task of complying with regulatory ordinances that protect public health and safety and, increasingly, aesthetics.
Insure your business. Don’t make the mistake of cutting corners by not insuring your new business venture. Look into a business owner’s policy that includes, at the very least, property, liability, and business interruption coverage.
Plan to work extremely hard. While many people start businesses in the hopes of not being tied down to a job, business owners find themselves working longer and harder than most employees, especially in the beginning.
You seek the expertise of CPAs at tax and audit time, of course. But CPAs also promote personal and professional financial security year round. Visit the CPA Referral Service on the MACPA website to search for a CPA in your geographical area or specific area of expertise.
Launching an e-newsletter is not difficult, but it takes some planning.
First, you need to build an opt-in list of subscribers, that is, a list of people who have signed up to receive the newsletter. You’ll need to post a sign-up box on the home page of your Web site. Don’t try to gather lots of information from the subscriber by creating a long registration form, as new subscribers may be put off by any attempts to gather additional information that could be used for marketing. You may be able to gather that information later using surveys and customer feedback requests.
Next, you should structure the content. You’ll want a consistent look from issue to issue, including the same masthead and the same typeface. You should also decide whether to write the e-newsletter in HTML, which is visually more interesting, or plain text, which accommodates more e-mail programs.
The length of articles should be relatively short, since nobody has the time to scroll through long text. Interspersing the text with hyperlinks to related stories or products of interest helps keep articles short.
Fourth, you will need to decide how to manage the mailings. The frequency of the e-newsletter should be consistent, arriving on the same day each week, month, or quarter. If you decide not to use a mailing service or list server, make sure you break your list down into groups of 50 names or less. Otherwise your newsletter could be mistaken for spam and bumped by the Internet service providers.
Bounce management is one advantage of hiring a professional list host. It can keep your list continually updated and delete undeliverable addresses. Typically, it also provides management reports and a security system.
Whether you keep fulfillment in-house or not, the purpose of an e-newsletter is to build strong customer relationships that will ultimately add to your bottom line—so provide content that will be a resource for readers.
You don’t have to spend lots of money. Here’s a look at three important categories:
Research and development
Perform regular customer surveys. What are people buying? What do they want that you’re not offering? What are they buying from your competitors? Look for ways to offer more while staying close to your core competency.
You can’t afford not to let your customers know you’re out there. Stay focused on what works, and keep a lookout for new opportunities, like trade shows or Internet advertising. Maybe you can use your customer research to write an article for a trade journal and expose your company to a new audience. And don’t be afraid of social media; used well, they can reap big benefits.
Take care of your current workforce so they won’t be tempted to go elsewhere. Always be looking for new talent to recruit. In the meantime, upgrade your own skills. Take a seminar on communication, leadership, or motivation so you can do a better job of managing the people you have.
Yes. Your deposits are insured to at least $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the federal government. Call customer service at 800-856-0026 for a pamphlet for more information.
We require copies of your tax returns from the two most recent years.
Yes, we can receive payroll deduction and direct deposit from participating employers and government institutions. Learn more about Direct Deposit.
You can make deposits in person, by mail or by ATM. You can also make deposits conveniently through payroll deduction or Remote Deposit Capture.
Ways to Apply
You must first become a member of Northern Lights if you already are not.
The credit union makes loans without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT PROCEDURES FOR OPENING A NEW ACCOUNT
To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.
What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying documents.