Are you thinking about starting your own business? It’s not a bad idea; small businesses are the backbone of the United States, so entrepreneurialism is more than encouraged. In fact, even in many of our country’s urban sprawls you’ll see unique mom and pop shops, specialty stores, independent coffee shops, start-up tech companies, and beyond. No matter the size of the company, be it a one man operation or a restaurant with over 40 employees, each and every business needs to be equipped with business checks as well as a business checking account. This is no matter of method or opinion, either; businesses are in a better legal positioning if they have their very own business bank account.
One of the silliest mistakes that a business owner can make is to operate a business out of a personal bank account. Outside of plain ignorance, there is little excuse as to why you wouldn’t have a dedicated business account, especially since most banks offer free business checking accounts. While starting a small business bank account can sound like a headache, it’s actually pretty easy. That is, of course, if you have all the proper documentation necessary.
Why Should You Keep Your Personal and Business Accounts Separate?
The answer is simple. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a limited liability company, a corporation or a partnership—nor does the size of your company matter—if you’re legally conducting business and have separate accounts, then the courts will look at your business as a separate entity from yourself as an individual.
Let’s use a hypothetical scenario in order to illustrate the point: if you were to have a lawsuit brought against your business, then only your business could be sued; not you as an individual. However, if your personal bank account and business bank account are one in the same, then the courts will see you and your business as the same entity. A scenario such as this has the potential to get extremely messy and deal immense damage to your personal finances, so do yourself a favor and set up a separate business bank account right away.
By maintaining a business banking account separate from your personal finances, you will be able to handle your taxes in the most beneficial way possible. The IRS will require that you file your personal and business taxes independent of one another. Having to go through a single account and separate the business expenses from the personal can be an arduous undertaking that can easily be avoided by keeping these two accounts separate to begin with.
Many believe that doing the small things early on, such as starting a dedicated business account, will help business owners to develop good business habits which will only help them later down the line, especially when it comes to finances. Another major benefit a business account offers is the ability to accept credit card payments. This is obviously a big reason to go ahead and set up an account since you run the risk of putting your business at an immeasurable disadvantage if you can’t accept debit and credit card payments
With a business account, you are also able to order business checks online from the convenience of your office or home. Also, business checks will help to give you the appearance of a professional, legitimate business. In the business world, there are few things more questionable than receiving a personal check from a business. When a customer, employee, or vendor sees a check with your company’s name on it, they gain a strong sense of professionalism, trustworthiness, and stability. If they see your personal name on the check instead, they may develop a few personal ideas about your company’s image, and when it comes to small business, reputation is everything. Avoid this pitfall by ordering both physical and online business checks.
How Do You Actually Open Your Own Business Checking Account?
The next step beyond understanding all of this is to actually put it into action. It’s extremely important that you actually do what is required by the local, state, and federal governments in order to set up a business account.
To get started, you will want to know your business structure inside and out. Are you running a limited liability corporation, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship? Knowing your structure will help you to set up your accounting situation, which will ultimately help you to know whether you need a business bank account or a credit card and merchant account services. While there are numerous options to choose from when deciding what type of business bank account you will need, it’s good to know that many banks also offer free business banking accounts as well. Although they may lack the special services and perks of one of their signature accounts, starting with a free account can be your first step toward something much greater.