Most founders choose to open a separate business bank account — and for good reason. Opening a business bank account comes with myriad benefits, ranging from clear demarcations between personal and business finance to business-specific features that help startups preserve their capital and boost their runway.
On a basic level, business bank accounts aren’t too different from personal bank accounts. Both allow you to make deposits and withdrawals, transfer money, and make purchases. Additionally, both are FDIC-insured. That said, what distinguishes a business bank account from a personal bank account is significant enough to make a real difference in your startup’s cash management strategy and long-term success. So, what are the specific benefits of opening a business bank account? We dig into some of the most significant ones below.
Separates personal and business finances
Some things in life aren’t meant to be mixed — and most of the time, personal and business finances fall squarely into that category. Initially, it may seem simpler to keep all business funds in your personal account, but as your company grows, a murky separation between personal and business finances will prove frustrating — if not debilitating. Above all else, combining personal and business expenses makes it difficult to keep track of your company’s cash flow. With a separate business account, it’s much easier to know exactly how much money you have, monitor inflows and outflows, assess your business’s financial standing, avoid financial pitfalls, and stick to a long-term operating strategy.
Allows for easier tax prep
Another reason personal and business expenses are best kept separate: taxes. In fact, the IRS recommends that all business owners — no matter the size of their business — open separate business bank accounts in order to simplify quarterly tax payments. With a business bank account, there’s no need to distinguish between business and personal expenses, making it easy for you — or an accountant — to file your tax returns.
Did you know?
Even within a dedicated business bank account, it's possible — and valuable — to go one step further to separate out cash to cover taxes from cash that you've designated for other business purposes, such as payroll or operating expenses. An account like Mercury's checking account allows users to set up multiple accounts with powerful auto-transfer rules for easy organization and strategic allocation of cash across accounts.
Automates your bookkeeping
A separate business bank account is indispensable when it comes to keeping track of daily transactions and calculating your cash flow, but software integrations (like Quickbooks and Xero) take even more off your plate by actually automating your bookkeeping. Syncing your business bank account with bookkeeping software streamlines everything from accounting and budgeting to invoicing and bill paying — giving you more time back so that you can focus less on the nitty gritty details of accounting and bookkeeping and more on building your startup.
Makes it easier to access business loans and credit
Having a separate business bank account makes it easier to apply for a line of credit or a business credit card — not only opening up doors when it comes to scaling your startup but also allowing you to establish business credit. Taking it one step further, let’s say you have already established business credit and want to apply for a business loan or venture debt — in which case you’d need access to your business’s financial statements and income tax returns. With a business bank account, it’s easy to access this information and bypass the headache of separating out personal expenses as you dig through records to get the information you need quickly.
Comes with valuable features & perks designed for businesses
Signup bonuses, software integrations, access to increased capital, free wire transfers, credit cards with competitive cashback — business bank accounts come equipped with a range of features, tools, and perks just like these, all of which are specifically designed for growing companies. Of course, it’s up to you to take advantage of these benefits — and likewise, to do your due diligence in selecting the right business bank account for your unique needs.
Boosts your credibility
It may seem superficial, but a business bank account makes your company look good. In fact, investors and clients may doubt your credibility if they see you’re operating out of a personal bank account. If the goal is to inspire confidence in everyone who interacts with your startup, opening a business bank account is an easy first step. It also makes things move a lot faster when it comes to things like fundraising, where you'll want an account that makes it quick and easy to receive wires.
Understanding the benefits of opening a dedicated bank account for your business is just the beginning. The next step is taking a close look at your options and strategically selecting the best bank account for your business. There are plenty of factors that come into play, from ease of use and digital-first features, to user permissions and security. Taking stock of what matters most to your company and how a particular banking partner measures up will be the key to getting things off on the right foot and setting your startup up for success.