Mingling your business and personal finances: it’s a trap that many small business owners fall into, particularly when they’re just starting out.
It can seem like such a hassle; searching the high street banks for the best option, the trials of actually opening the account, having to pay banking charges when you’re not even breaking even yet. Surely it’s okay to just use your current account for now?
As long as you’re super-organised, it’ll be fine. And you can always open a business bank account as your business grows and your finances get trickier.
And yes, technically you can do that.
But you really don’t want to.
Let’s face it, keeping on top of your business accounts can be hard enough, without the added complication of running everything through a single account, and even the most organised business owner can stumble when it comes to trying to complete their tax return.
That credit card transaction for the return train ticket that you want to claim for — you’re pretty sure it was for a client meeting you had last October. But then you did take a trip to meet your friends that month too. You’d better go back and check your diary just to make sure. Now you’re so busy trying to figure out that transaction that you’ve missed two other legitimate business expenses that you could claim for.
Which means you’re going to pay more tax this year than you need to.
And how do you even prove that something is a legitimate business expense if the transaction is on your current account? It’s a minefield.
Using your personal account doesn’t make you feel too professional and it doesn’t look too professional either. After all, you wouldn’t dream of having customers contact you on a personal email address, would you?
By taking these shortcuts you’re restricting your growth: you’re psychologically labelling your business as small fry, a hobby business.
Whether you’re a part-time sole trader or a small business with a growing staff, when you have a professional business bank account you signal to the world — and to yourself — that you’re a legitimate professional organisation.
So the only remaining question is how do you pick the best current account for your business?
Here are our top 3 things to consider before making a decision:
Charges can vary hugely from bank to bank and can depend on your projected income so it’s important you do your homework. Some things to consider are basic monthly charges, charges for payments coming in and out of your account and charges for ATM withdrawals. Make sure you read the fine print beforehand to avoid any nasty hidden fees as well.
Countingup offers free bank transfers in and out of your account and if your deposits fall under the monthly £750 threshold, there is no monthly fee either. If you think your incoming transactions will exceed this, you can find information about our pricing here, along with a comparison of some of the high street banking options.
With new high street bank closures announced daily (or so it feels sometimes!), and life lived increasingly on-the-go, you need to consider how you’ll want to access your account. Countingup is completely digital so you don’t need to worry about queues, decreased opening hours or branch closures.
You also don’t need to waste time on opening your account. Opening a business account with a high street bank can be a testing process; they tend to have lengthy application procedures, and you’re not even guaranteed acceptance. To open a Countingup account you need three things: a mobile phone, photo ID and 5 spare minutes.
3. Future-proofing your finances
While your business may be small now, and your admin fairly simple and quick to deal with, this (hopefully!) won’t always be the case. As your customer base increases and your business grows, you’re going to find yourself spending more and more time on invoicing, processing receipts and payments and trying to reconcile transactions.
The solution to this is having your banking and your accounting in one place.
Countingup is leading the charge on this technological innovation. By bringing your accounting and banking together in one place, you get back the time you used to spend on manual processes for invoicing, payment reconciliation and receipt scanning.
So instead of wasting your time trawling through bank statements, trying to figure out mystery transactions and wondering how much money you’ve actually made this month, you can spend your time serving your clients — and finding new ones. You can spend your time growing your business.
To find out if Countingup is the right current account for you, you can sign up for free today.