Exploring the foreign world of business accounts

Luke Parker
Exploring the foreign world of business accounts

For many time-poor businesses, the idea of shopping around for the best-suited bank account for their business still makes them feel like they're shopping in a foreign land, inevitably slipping down the list of things to do.

Many sole traders are simply using their personal accounts which are typically free or cheaper than business accounts and often have reasonable overdraft entitlements.

But for limited companies, a business account is necessary.

SEE ALSO: 5 keys to creating a successful business plan

Westpac Senior Business Development Manager of Transactional Banking, Jason Waddell, says one of the key considerations for any business when selecting an account is the shape and structure of the accounts they need to open.

“With modern systems enabling the wholesale redirection of electronic transactions and a high degree of flexibility in terms of paper processing, more often than not, clients are able to rationalise their bank accounts.”

He says in this modern age, integration is key and an important consideration when looking at bank account structures to assist with reconciliation and process efficiencies.

Another roadblock has been the time-consuming process and significant admin and paperwork attached with switching banks.

But Mr Waddell says things are shifting in this space.

“The process of changing banks here in New Zealand has become easier in the last couple of years due to cooperation between banks in sharing payment information. This has meant clients and their customers are not as impacted, providing a seamless transfer from bank to bank."

He says as businesses grow and take on different demands and roles, it’s important for them to be checking to see whether they have the best-suited and financially-sound account to help them get the most out of their business structure.

SEE ALSO: 5 keys to creating a successful business plan

Various Business Accounts:

  • For businesses processing high transactional volumes, a transactional account should be considered. This type of account will generally not attract a credit interest rate but often offers low transactional pricing.
  • For those who want to maximise their returns on excess cash but still want the funds to be on call, a high interest bearing account should be considered. This type of account often attracts a credit interest rate but is not generally used for day-to-day processing. Credit rates do vary from bank to bank.
  • Businesses who want the best of both worlds of the above examples, a transactional account that also attracts a credit interest rate might be considered. Transactional pricing is often slightly higher and the credit rate may be slightly lower.
  • For businesses that have spare cash that is not required for working capital requirements or needs to be accessed at short notice, term deposit options could be looked at. These accounts often attract a better credit interest rate as the funds are generally locked away for a set term.
  • When selecting an account, a business should consider the methods for payment types and receivables as some are restricted to the types of transactions that can flow through.
  • Businesses who deal in exporting and importing might consider holding in-country currency accounts. These can assist in terms of a natural hedge to avoid currency fluctuations.
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