Utilising your bank account to aid your company’s performance

Utilising your bank account to aid your company’s performance

20th February 2023, 1:05 pm

‘Business Banking’ … These are likely not words that excite many SME’s. Banking is often viewed as a mere necessity, not a service that can benefit your company and make daily trading that bit easier. There are a few simple and painless ways you can optimise how you are using and interacting with both your banking provider and your account itself.

Below are 6 top tips to help you maximise the positive impact of your banking on your business.

  • Review your statements

Bank account statements usually serve little purpose for most until they are specifically needed, for example a lending application or to review annual financial performance. Whilst you will likely have a general awareness of your outgoings and the credits received in your account, statements can allow you to look a little further between the lines.

Reviewing your statements with regular frequency allows you to first track your spending habits – can you reduce any outgoings? There is then the ability to see a breakdown of your account charges and how much your banking is costing you – can you opt for an account with less charges? Can you transact differently to reduce banking costs e.g. are cheque deposits cheaper than cash deposits?

Avoid neglecting your statements, establish a routine of review.

  • Ensure your banking style matches your working style

Problems begin to arise within business banking when the accounts you hold and their operation become onerous and inconvenient.

It is important to continually review the alignment of your account management and your company operation to ensure optimal convenience.

If you often work outside of standard working hours do you have access to a 24/7 call centre able to answer any enquiries when they arise? If you often travel in the course of your trading does your account offer attractive international spending rates? If you like to visit your bank i.e. to bank cash or cheques are you able to visit a branch and if so is it convenient? Do you have a dedicated account manager to assist with your banking enquiries and needs?

Monitor any changes to account operations and their impact.

  • Get familiar with the funding options available to you

The turbulent past couple of years have demonstrated that the value in your company’s ability to adapt and employ flexibility within your operating model is immense. Funding options are widely available to provide supplementary working capital and implement an additional layer of resilience in your company finances.

Of course, traditional forms of lending (i.e. overdrafts, credit cards and loans) are no surprise to many and provide a fantastic source of alleviating more stringent cashflow requirements. The key with these types of lending facilities is to plan ahead and pre-empt your need.

Invoice finance and asset-based finance options however can often remain unknown to many. Invoice finance is a great tool available to those SME’s invoicing their customers and offering credit terms allowing capital to be provided against the value of the invoice throughout the credit period – Metro Bank can provide up to 90% of the invoice value.

Asset-based lending allows you to acquire company assets either new or used as well as borrowing against value held in existing machinery, stock and other assets. It can be a very beneficial way to spread costs over a more prolonged period.

I am more than happy to discuss if you wish to know more about any of the abovementioned facilities.

  • Utilise savings products

Again, I am likely telling you nothing incipient here but Savings accounts are an easy way to earn some extra money on the funds you already hold. The economic proposition of the country in recent years undoubtedly led to a significant reduction in the interest rates available to businesses however, with the more recent financial turmoil, interest rates are back on the rise. Instant access accounts provide interest as well as flexibility aligning well with the expeditious pace of SME trading.

It can be worth asking; can I fix any funds away for a longer period to get a better return in interest?

  • Explore any additional services that may benefit the company

Additional services can be invaluable and are available with most banking providers however, the services that are accessible can differ dependant on the provider.

To provide some insight I have outlined some services available via Metro Bank: Merchant Services allowing access to card payment terminals, website gateways and Epos; Safe Deposit Boxes available personally and for your business to store away any of those important items; Current Account Switching Service allowing you to seamlessly switch from your existing business banking provider over the course of 7 working days; Trade Services available to assist in facilitating the import or export of goods and services; Post Office Services allowing cash/cheque deposits and cash giving at your local Post Office; Advanced Online Banking available to grow with your business needs.

Scheduling a meeting with your account manager can be a great place to start with identifying the additional services that may benefit your company.

  • Seek an account with a dedicated Relationship Manager

As an SME it can often be difficult to find a business bank account that offers a dedicated account management service outside of general access to a call centre.

Without access to a single point of contact who is familiar with your company’s journey it can be a time consuming task to explore how your account can best accommodate your needs. It additionally places the encumbrance of pro-active review on to the business owners as oppose to an account manager who is perpetually assessing and probing for ways further assist your company. Reducing the laborious requisites of your banking is where the true optimisation occurs and a relationship manager can show their value.

If you do not currently benefit from having a dedicated relationship manager for your bank accounts please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to discuss how I could assist you in your banking – contact me at [email protected].

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