Four Steps to Open a Business Bank Account

In today’s market, companies need someone to serve as back-up should they encounter economic hardships. Whether the business is large or small, a veteran company or a business newbie, the best way to get ensure financial backing is to acquire a business bank account. These accounts serve to keep personal and business finances separate and are an important part in establishing a financial relationship that will help your company grow and succeed. There are several factors to consider before opening a business account and each step should be well-researched and investigated before final decisions are reached; with the right financial institution as a business “partner,” a fitting foundation is established that will allow the company to prosper.

Evaluate Financial Institutions

Most business owners typically have their business accounts with the same bank as their personal accounts. Although this is convenient, unless the institution offers some type of interest rate reduction, or other incentives, this often is not the most beneficial option available. Compare the financial institutions in your area to determine which best fits your company; some things to consider are:

1. Multiple Accounts – If opening more than one account, or if you choose to use the same bank for both personal and business accounts, look into special rates and discounts; some institutions offer relationship pricing that can add up to big savings.

2. Fee Structures – Not all banks charge the same rates for the same services.

3. Additional Products/Services – Business debit cards, on-line statements, courier services, and automatic bill pay options are not necessarily included; be sure to ask if these options are built-in or are available at further costs.

Compare Business Bank Accounts

Financial institutions typically offer numerous forms of business accounts that accommodate various business needs. Starter companies benefit from small business accounts that do not accrue interest but require a low minimum balance whereas larger companies require a more complex account to meet its specialized needs. This step can get quite confusing so it’s often profitable to contact a customer service representative at each institution and schedule appointments to discuss how each bank can best benefit your company.

Don’t Forget the Paperwork

Yes, the bane of every business’s existence – paperwork; a necessary evil to establish any account. This step can be disheartening since each financial institution requires different types and amounts of credible paperwork to open a business bank account. Contact your chosen financial institution to determine precisely what information is needed and in what form it is accepted. Generally speaking, most financial institutions require:

1. Previous year’s business tax forms (if applicable)
2. Previous bank statements (if applicable)
3. Business EIN number
4. Owner’s social security number
5. Maintain the Account

Many business owners forgo this last step, but it is crucial to maintain a solid relationship with your financial institution. Keep the account in good standing by checking activity and balances daily and by paying any accrued fees in a timely manner. Contact a bank representative immediately with any questions or if you notice suspicious activity. A healthy relationship with your financial institution will open the door to additional resources in the future (i.e. business credit cards, payment processing options, loan opportunities).

At the end of the day, a strong relationship between your company and its financial institution is vital to keep your company afloat. The business bank account you choose should provide a stable foundation that allows for growth and expansion opportunities.

Online Small Business Banking

In the digital age every bank has an online presence, from my little credit union to the big national players. However, not all banks are geared toward serving small business via the internet and, while they all offer you a lot of promises and maybe a flashy new toaster oven, not all of them offer you the services that you need at a competitive price. Here’s what to look for and how to spot those that offer online small business banking from the poseurs.

Customer Service and Big vs. Small Banks

One thing that you may read is how important it is to “cultivate relationships” with your banker and how important your banker is in expediting and even deciding whether or not you get a loan. While this may still be true in the smaller banks, in larger regional or national banks you will never, ever meets the person who approves your loan. A buddy of mine who was a big shot at a major bank before ditching it all to go into the Peace Corps said that the big banks create a strong separation from the banker that you meet, who is basically a sales person, and the person who decides, who is basically an accountant. So skip bribing your banker with chocolate truffles or bottles of bourbon. In fact, if you already bought the “gifts,” just send them here and I’ll gladly dispose of them for you for free!

Similarly, once the recommendation for business people was to keep all their banking with one bank, in order to build up a relationship of trust with that bank. Now, however, the idea of relationship is breaking down and, thanks to the internet and the relative ease of online banking, small businesses can cherry pick the best services off a smorgasbord of banks just like the Bigs do. In fact, the biggest reason that I can see of deliberately keeping all services with a single bank is not having to remember more than one sign-on, password, and pin!

What Your Bank Should Be Able to Do for You

Business Checking Account

One of the essential elements of running your own business is treating it as a separate entity distinct from your own personal affairs or the affairs of your other businesses or investments. Failing to treat your business as a separate entity opens up numerous potential legal and tax consequences that could end up being very costly or even financially disastrous to you. Opening up a business banking account is one essential act that helps establish your business as a separate entity. For most business the key to the checking account is functionality, forget interest rates and a few dollars difference in cost. The key questions are:

  • Can you use the web site to pay pre-pay bills, transfer money, accept online payments and whatever other essential services that your business might need?
  • Are you able to easily download information from the online site to QuickBooks Online or whatever other accounting software that you might be using?
  • Do they have the highest level of online security that is convenient for you?
  • Are they relatively light on “hidden fees” that $5 and $10 you to death just to be able to perform regular, essential operations of your business?

Security

Small businesses run by new entrepreneurs often have lower standards of security and this is especially true when it comes to banking and banking online. The smalls just don’t have the expertise nor the payrolls stuffed with I.T. professionals to keep up with the Trojans and frauds that cyber-criminals use to prey upon the unfortunate, and the unwary. You want the highest level of security possible but without making it so inconvenient on yourself that you aren’t fully able to take advantage of the online services. For example, while I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala I often had to do my banking from internet cafes, and not always with my laptop that was impractical to lug around. When Chase, my original bank, changed the security so that I had to go through a complicated and time-consuming process every time I tried to access my account from a different computer I had to change banks (rather, I added a new bank) because that just wasn’t doable for me.

Loans and Lines of Credit

Loans are a prime area of shopping around and using the power of the internet to shave a fraction of a point off the interest rate. However, if you can’t pay the loan through an electronic transaction between the bank of your checking account and the bank that services the loan and make that payment for free then who cares about a little reduction of the interest rate. I like to look around for the best deal and then ask my primary bank if they can match it, just to keep my life as simple as possible.

Credit Cards

One of the easiest ways to make payments these days is by credit card and you will want at least one that is exclusively used for business purposes. There is no “best” credit card for small business and usually your bank will be able to provide you one. Keep in mind that you want one that is easy to set up and maintain electronically, that is widely accepted (especially if you travel for business), and has a high enough limit for what you need. Remember that building up credit for your business is just like building up credit personally, the better your history the higher your limit will be.

In Conclusion

Starting up a small business can be intimidating and the days when you could have a banker hold your hand and guide you through the process are long gone. The flip side of that is the incredible amount of information available to you at your fingertips. Another advantage is that you are no longer geographically limited, a world of banks is waiting to serve you! Just remember to keep in mind the services that you need, those that you don’t need, and those that you need but could be found at another bank for a better price. Happy banking!

VoIP Businesses Solutions – Simplifying the Process of Communication

It has been truly witnessed that every business is based on five main factors: requirement, money, hurry, trust and desire. Each of these factors compliment one another. As a matter of fact, they are closely linked with each other that ultimately inculcates profit at the end. As such, we can say every business establishments create a vision and tries to articulate that vision in order to venture into competition at ease. However, here in this context we cannot ignore an important fact. Actually communication is the most important factor that should be very effective and cost-effective too. This factor actually acts as a catalyst in an business process. In fact, replacing an outdated telephone system or upgrading the active one needs various things. One should the best dealer that would affectively evaluate the needs of the business. The VoIP business solutions can be cited as the best technology to be banked upon.

Basically with the inception of the business VoIP solutions, a normal person and even a businessman has been benefited. These solutions have facilitated them to access long distance and international calls at very cheap rates. In fact, this affordability feature can efficiently justify the rising cost of communication all around the globe. As such switching over to the VoIP technology is just logical. Moreover, these solutions intensify the satisfaction of the users with enhanced call productivity. The users can even exchange data or video files over the unified IP network.

The business VoIP solutions actually vary among the various types of business as they are typically supported by type, operations and size of the business. Consequently, the best solutions would offer you the best benefits in terms of flexibility, security and scalability to the VoIP solution users. These effective solutions would permit the end users to experience seamless connectivity. Quite interestingly it has also been witnessed that while accessing the high-end business calls, the users can even avail various extra features. Additional features like access to email accounts, high speed Internet access and live chats can be enjoyed simultaneously.

Most importantly it must be noted that there are basically two kinds of business VoIP solutions- IP Centrex and call termination. The business users can opt for any solution that would appropriately suit all their business requirements. These high-end solutions are in alignment with the packet switching technology that offers business-class phone options too. This effective technology has highly influenced and incited most of the business establishments to switch over to the high-end voice solutions to enjoy the ultimate benefits. It is actually a very reasonable alternative option as the ultimate aim of the business and corporate houses are to see the face of profit. Moreover, when the monthly bills get reduced to up to 50 percent anybody would feel attracted towards it.

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