How to switch business bank accounts in Australia

June 14, 2024
minutes to read
by
Jaala Alex
Table of Contents

Is your business bank account more of a financial frenemy than a trusted partner? If your current account feels more like a headache than a helping hand, it might be time for a change. Don't settle for a bank that doesn't have your back.

Are you tired of your business finances feeling like a tangled mess? Are you constantly sifting through personal transactions to find that one crucial receipt for your small business? Moreover, these signs that might indicate it's time to find a new business banking partner:

  • High fees: You're spending significantly on your current account's monthly fees.
  • Limited functionality: Your current bank account doesn't offer enough features or has restrictions that hinder your business operations.
  • Inconvenient access: The bank's branch network or banking hours are inconvenient, making depositing checks or accessing funds difficult.
  • Poor customer support: You struggle to get timely and helpful support from your bank, delaying issue resolution.
  • No separation: You lack a separate personal savings account, making it difficult to track your overall financial health.

If any of these scenarios sounds familiar, it might be time to switch from a personal to a dedicated business bank account. Read on to know why this is a wise decision.

Key takeaways

  • A business bank account separates personal and business finances, aiding financial management and tax preparation.
  • Online business banking services provide added convenience and allow for real-time financial oversight.
  • Selecting the right bank considers fee structures and the ability to integrate with existing business processes.

Why is it important to separate a personal account from a business bank account?

Managing finances effectively is essential for any business, regardless of its structure. A robust business bank account facilitates this by:

  • Financial clarity
    A business bank account acts as your financial command centre. It neatly categorises income and expenses, making it a breeze to track cash flow, monitor spending, and generate financial reports in a snap. No more rummaging through mixed statements!
  • Hassle-free tax season
    The ATO demands meticulous records. A dedicated business bank account effortlessly tracks deductible expenses, ensuring accurate tax returns and minimising the risk of audits or penalties. Say goodbye to tax-time stress, and hello to smooth sailing
  • Projects professionalism
    First impressions matter. When you present a client with a cheque or accept payment under your business name, you exude professionalism and build trust. A business bank account draws a clear line between your personal and business finances, enhancing your brand's credibility.

Let's be honest. No one wants to spend their precious time searching for that one business lunch receipt buried under a mountain of personal expenses.

Let's explore the process of switching to a business bank account and the benefits it brings in more detail in the following sections.

Preparing to switch your business banking account

When a business considers switching its bank account, it's crucial to meticulously evaluate its current banking arrangements and discern the most compatible new account while ensuring all the necessary paperwork is in order.

Review current bank services

  • Fees and charges: Analyse your monthly statements to understand the fees associated with your account. Are you paying for services you don't use? Are there hidden bank fees and charges you need to be aware of?
    • Specific fees to check: Look out for monthly account-keeping fees, transaction fees (electronic transfers, ATM withdrawals, over-the-counter transactions), dishonour fees, international transaction fees, and inactivity fees.
    • Consider online options: Several online-only business bank accounts, like Thriday, offers no monthly account access fees, potentially saving you significant costs.
  • Transaction limits: Determine if your current account has transaction limits that could hinder your business operations. As your business grows, you'll need a bank account accommodating increased transaction volume.
  • Features and functionality: Evaluate the features your current account offers. Do you have access to online banking, mobile banking apps, invoicing tools, or integration with accounting software? Identify any missing features that could streamline your financial management.
  • Customer service: Reflect on your experiences with your current bank's customer service. Are they responsive and helpful? Do they offer 24/7 support? Excellent customer service is crucial for resolving issues promptly.
Important tip: If you're unsure about any aspect of your current account, don't hesitate to contact your bank and ask questions. This will help you gain clarity and make informed decisions. It is crucial to identify the benefits and limitations, such as the level of security offered and the availability of branches or an app for convenient banking. Assess the account's capacity for handling international transactions and whether it aligns with the business's evolving needs.

Assess new account options

Once you understand your current banking needs and shortcomings, it's time to explore the vast landscape of business bank accounts available in Australia.

  • Online comparison tools: Utilise online comparison tools to filter options based on your specific requirements. These tools can save you time and provide a comprehensive overview of different banks and their offerings.
  • Read reviews and testimonials: Gather insights from other business owners by reading online reviews and testimonials. Their experiences can offer valuable perspectives on the pros and cons of different banks.
  • Consider your business structure and needs: Different banks cater to various business types and sizes.
    • Large companies and trusts: For established businesses with complex financial needs, consider options like NAB, which offers comprehensive bookkeeping and financial management tools.
    • Startups and sole traders: If you're a new or small business, online-only banks like Thriday can be an attractive option due to their low fees and user-friendly interfaces.
  • Think long-term: Consider your business's future growth. Will the bank account you choose be able to accommodate your needs as your business expands?
Did you know? Some banks offer introductory offers or discounts to new business customers. Be sure to inquire about these potential savings. Check out our top picks of small business bank accounts to find a good fit.

Gathering required documents

Before applying for a new business bank account, ensure you have all the necessary documentation ready. This typically includes:

  • Identification: Your driver's license or passport.
  • Business registration documents: ABN/ACN, business name registration certificate, or company constitution.
  • Financial statements: Recent profit and loss statements or balance sheets.

Additional Note: The specific documentation requirements may vary depending on the bank and your business structure. Check with the bank you choose to confirm their requirements.

Steps for switching business bank accounts

Switching business bank accounts in Australia involves a series of structured steps to ensure a smooth transition of financial operations. Companies must consider notifying their existing bank, opening a new account, transferring funds and services, and finalising the switch.

Say goodbye to your old bank

Before you jump to a new bank, let your current one know you're leaving. This helps avoid any mix-ups or surprise fees.

  • Write a note: Send a letter or email to your bank saying you want to close your account. Be clear about the date you want it closed (make sure it's after your new account is open!).
  • Tie up loose ends: Make sure all payments and checks have gone through before closing your account.
  • Settle any debts: Pay off any fees you owe the bank.
  • Check on loans or overdrafts: If you have loans or overdrafts, talk to your bank about how to move them to your new bank.
Tip: Keep a copy of your letter or email in case you need it later.

Open a new account

When opening a new business bank account, companies should carefully compare providers to find the best fit. During the application process, the new bank must be provided with the business's Australian Business Number (ABN) and business name. Typically, the required documents include proof of identity and business registration details. Companies could also opt for transaction account suitable for handling day-to-day finances or a deposit account that may offer higher interest rates for saved funds.

Transferring funds and services

Businesses should plan to transfer their funds to the new account. This typically involves setting up the necessary bookkeeping adjustments to link with the new account. It is essential to update all standing orders and direct debits, such as utility bills and invoices, to the new account details. Companies should also consider informing their accountant, suppliers, and customers about the change in account details to prevent disruption in payments or cash deposits.

Finalising the switch

To finalise the account switch, businesses need to close their old bank accounts once they have confirmed that all services have been successfully transferred to the new bank and all outstanding transactions have cleared. It is essential to review the old account statements again to confirm that no additional fees are owed. Finally, businesses should download or request final statements for their records.

Tips for a smooth transition

Transitioning to a new business bank account can be a breeze with the right preparation.

First and foremost, double-check your ABN on the Australian Business Register (ABR) website to ensure it's accurate and up-to-date. Inaccurate ABN details can lead to delays in processing payments and other banking services.

After that, choose the best business bank. Select a bank that seamlessly integrates with your accounting software (e.g., Xero, MYOB) through bank feeds. This feature automatically imports your transactions, eliminating manual data entry, saving you valuable time, and reducing the risk of errors.

Opt for a bank with an intuitive online banking platform that allows you to easily:

  • View and manage transactions: Check balances, transfer funds, and schedule payments effortlessly.
  • Track your finances: Monitor your income and expenses in real-time with clear graphs and reports.
  • Set up alerts: Receive notifications for low balances, suspicious activity, or upcoming payments.

On top of that, look beyond basic transaction accounts and consider banks offering additional services that align with your business needs:

Thriday enables you to create up to 10 free sub-accounts for implementing the Profit First.

Lastly, understanding the customer support and assistance providers offer can be critical for issues or questions regarding the account. An accessible and knowledgeable support team can significantly impact the transition experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the criteria for choosing the best bank for a business account in Australia?

Business owners should consider the bank's reputation, fee structure, customer service, and the range of services offered. Ease of use, integration with existing accounting software, and additional business support services are also important factors.

How long typically does the process of opening a business bank account take?

The time frame can vary based on the bank and the complexity of the business structure. It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. It is advisable to check with the specific bank for their estimated time frame.

What features should I look for when selecting an online business bank account?

One should look for accounts with strong Internet banking capabilities, mobile access, low or no fees for online transactions, and robust security measures. Additionally, tools for invoicing, expense tracking, and 24/7 customer support can be invaluable.

What are the benefits of a high-interest business savings account?

A high-interest savings account can help maximise returns on surplus cash. It's a secure way to grow funds while maintaining the liquidity needed for daily operations or unexpected expenses.

DISCLAIMER: Team Thrive Pty Ltd ABN 15 637 676 496 (Thriday) is an authorised representative (No.1297601) of Regional Australia Bank ABN 21 087 650 360 AFSL 241167 (Regional Australia Bank). Regional Australia Bank is the issuer of the transaction account and debit card available through Thriday. Any information provided by Thriday is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether Thriday is appropriate for you. Team Thrive No 2 Pty Ltd ABN 26 677 263 606 (Thriday Accounting) is a Registered Tax Agent (No.26262416).

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