Get a Business Bank Account That Your Company Can Bank On

When operating a business it is always recommended you establish separate business bank accounts through which you can run your day to day business finances. This will make reconciling money in and out a great deal easier and will avoid upsetting the tax authorities by mixing your personal expenses with business expenses.

It also looks a lot more professional to write cheques that show the business name and for your customers to make payments to you in the name of your business and not you personally.

Most UK banks offer an initial period of free banking so it need not cost you a penny and in fact can actually make you money if you choose the right account.

Which business account should I choose?

Most UK banks offer business accounts so it is simply a case of assessing which features you will use the most. The ideal account is one that offers an initial period of free banking for at least 12 months. Make sure that when they say free business banking they really mean free! Check for transaction limits, some may have limits on how much cash you can deposit over the counter free of charge. Others may put limits on how many cheques you can write per month. If you exceed any stated limits they typically charge a small fee per transaction outside of the limit.

It is also worth considering the interest rate paid on any finds you hold in the account. Some businesses can hold considerable amounts of money in their account.

Assess the available business accounts until you find one that best fits the way you operate your business.

How do I manage my business bank account?

Most banks offer the ability to manage your business account directly through your local branch, over the telephone, by post or via the internet.

The internet is often the most useful way of managing your account, especially if your customers pay you by bank transfer. By using online facilities you will always have a real time view of your account.

If your business does not deal in physical cash transactions then there is often no real need to have a personal bank manager. You can bank online, receive and send payments directly to and from your account. If you receive cheque payments you can often post these directly to your business banks processing centre.

Business Savings account – Business Reserve account

It is always worth opening a reserve savings account for your business which can be linked to your main business account. This type of account typically pays a higher interest rate than the main account so you can sweep any surplus funds to this reserve business account. You might as well maximise your profit while you don’t need the money!

Switch Business Accounts to stay free

Many businesses just stick with the same old business account even after the initial free period has expired. There is no reason why you can not switch your business account to another bank that will happily offer you a new free period of banking in return for your custom.

Just make sure that if you close your old account you have informed anyone making regular payments to you that you have new account details. Many banks offer a switching service to assist with this process.

Business Credit Cards

In addition to your business account that will offer you a debit card facility you can also apply for business credit cards. A business credit card can offer various benefits. First off it offers a short term borrowing facility, typically 56 days interest free after which you will need to clear the balance. If you need to borrow short term just pay at least the minimum payment.

By clearing the balance each month you can hold the money due to pay the card in your business reserve account and earn interest whilst the credit card is giving you interest free borrowing.

There are often additional perks like air miles which you can use personally. Free personal travel insurance is another useful perk that can save you money personally.

Just be aware of the annual fees connected to business credit cards. If you are not going to benefit from short term borrowing and the added perks then this may not be worth using for your particular business.

Other considerations

- You can have as many business accounts as you wish so if there are two banks with features you like then open two separate accounts.

- If you need to borrow money from the bank you may benefit from a more personal relationship with you business bank. In this scenario a branch based account may be beneficial

- You don’t have to be tied to your bank for all aspects of finance for your company. Pick and choose the most suitable providers for services such as merchant accounts for taking card payment or Factoring services.

Shop around for the best deal and don’t just accept paying fees for use of a business bank account. Remember, treat your business account as if it is your own money and make it work for you!