Most businesses know that they should have business bank accounts as well. Independent consultants might not think about it as often, but it’s important that they also have business banking accounts to help them with cash management and a host of other benefits.

For instance, years ago I was out of town on a consulting assignment and stopped to get gas. My business card wouldn’t work for some reason, so I had to use my personal account, then call the bank from the hotel. They said there were some strange transactions on my card occurring in another country and had frozen my account after there had been close to $2,000 withdrawn from it. Immediately they told me they were sending me a new card with a new number. They asked me if I needed money and that they could wire it to me. And they put my cell phone number in their records so that if any irregular activity occurred again, they could contact me to let me know. I was told if it had been a personal account they couldn’t have wired me money even if I were out of town; nice to know.

Another thing you can do with a business banking account is to online and indicate what the transactions are based on categories you create. This allows you to print a full accounting of your history for the year and give it to your accountant instead of having to open all of your bank statements and write down what all your payments and expenses represented later on.

It’s smart to have a corporate banking account anyway, especially if it’s at the same bank as your business account, since it makes it easy to move money between both accounts and it’s there immediately, instead of having to write yourself a check and wait at least a day before you can use it. Of course, I have my business set up so that if I’m paid by credit card my payments get moved to my business account as well.

And by having a business account, you qualify for things you wouldn’t if you were using your personal account. There’s help in managing your money, extensions when you might need a little extra capital for purchases but don’t have enough in your account to immediately cover the expenses, small business loans you might qualify for including micro loans, and of course since it’s a business account if something happens and you’re liable financially in some way, they can only attach liens to your business account and not your personal account as long as you have a business license. And of course if you ever have to write business checks, you’ll look more like a real business if your business name is on your checks instead of your own name or possibly your spouse’s name as well.

Finally, for tax purposes, it’s best to have a business checking account. This way, everything your account does only deals with the business account, not your personal account. So, say you got gift money from your parents or other family members. You don’t have to account for it for business purposes because you’d be putting it into your personal account. If you only had one account, you’d have to say where that money came from and in some circumstances they might even try to say it has to be considered as income. You don’t want to have to deal with things like that.

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