So you’ve gone for it. You’ve teamed up with a business partner and developed a killer business plan. The capital is there, the inventory is in stock, you’ve set up your website. There’s only one question left: do you set up a joint checking account for your business?
This can be an awkward question, since it brings up questions of trust and communication. However, for any business–but especially military spouse-owned businesses–there can be an advantage to sharing a bank account.
We’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons for you and your business of opening a joint checking account together.
How is a joint checking account different from a linked account?
You might be wondering if you and your business owner could simply link your bank accounts. Simply put, linking bank accounts is a way to easily transfer money between different types of accounts or between accounts from different banks.
With a joint checking account, you and your partner are co-owners of the same account. That means you’ll both have debit cards to the same account, and you’ll have the same access when it comes to making withdrawals and deposits.
Joint Checking Account: The Pros
First and foremost, for a milspouse-owned business, a joint checking account enables you both to monitor transactions and manage your shared business finances and expenses no matter where you PCS next. Co-owning a business remotely becomes easier when you both have equal access to the same account.
According to Fundera, other benefits of a shared business checking account include:
- Keeping all of your business transactions in one place, making them easier for both of you to track
- Easy categorization of different business expenses
- A shared sense of your cash flow and cash reserves
- Simplified tax filing
- A centralized account from which to issue business debit and credit cards
They also note that when you’re applying for financing, lenders typically want to see the balance in your business account, and a few months’ worth of statements to make sure you’re good to make loan payments.
The Potential Downsides
There are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself and your business partner if you’re considering opening a bank account together.
Obviously, you’ll need to carefully discern for yourself how well you know and how much you trust your business partner. A frank conversation about financial histories and overall level of responsibility with and attitude towards money may be valuable, but should be entered into with caution and sensitivity.
Fundera also recommends setting some ground rules and clear roles to prevent any potential misunderstandings or communication errors.
Additionally, if your business partner is also a military spouse, have a long-range planning session. Any PCSes on the horizon? Deployments that might leave them with a little less time and energy? These things can all have impacts down the line. If one of you is typically the one who typically pays bills, but you’ll be doing a DITY this summer, regularly checking the balance may not be at the top of your to-do list.
First of all, make sure you set up a business checking account. It’s crucial to keep your business and personal finances separate for all kinds of financial and legal reasons.
Second of all, research different business checking accounts and financial institutions together, or at least consult each other. Different places offer different benefits, have different protections, and may place stricter penalties than others.
When it comes to milspouse-owned businesses, joint checking accounts can be a double-edged sword. If you’re willing to have some open, honest conversations and are prepared for the level of frequent communication they require, these accounts might be just the thing for you, your partner, and your business.