An online account gives you the freedom to manage your company’s finances from any location in real time, but do you know what type of online account is best for your business?

With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to get caught up in the myriad of accounts, features and service providers. In this article, we give you the lowdown on what to look for when choosing an online account and provide tips on how to choose the best account for your business.

What To Look for In an Online Account

When you’re searching for an online account provider, there are many things you’ll need to consider. As every provider and account is different, it’s vital to compare the options so you can make the best choice for your business. With this mind, be sure to consider the following when you’re looking for the optimal online account for your business:

Account Features

It’s easy to assume that all online accounts are the same, but this isn’t true. While most accounts operate in roughly the same way, there can be vast differences when it comes to the range of features you’ll have access to.

Some online accounts are geared towards startups and SMEs, for example, whereas others are more suited to enterprise businesses and large corporations. Similarly, some online business accounts offer lending facilities or even access to P2P borrowing networks, whereas others are focused on providing a plethora of business tools.

Simply being aware that not all online accounts offer like-for-like features is the first step in finding the right solution for your business, so be sure to compare the features from different account providers before you open an account.

International Payments

Being able to make and receive international payments via your main online business account is a game-changer for today’s companies. You no longer need multiple accounts to facilitate international payments, which means it’s easier to keep track of company funds and simpler to manage your business finances.

Furthermore, choosing an online account that’s designed to facilitate frequent international payments should mean you have access to the most popular cross-border payment systems with competitive fees or even fee-free international transactions.

Multicurrency and Foreign Exchange

A standard online account typically only allows you to hold, send and receive funds in one currency. If you open a standard UK business account with a high street bank, for example, it’s likely that you’ll only be able to use it with GBP.

In contrast, a multicurrency online account gives you the flexibility to hold, send and receive funds in a variety of different currencies. In turn, this reduces the need for frequent currency exchanges and helps you to avoid the associated costs.

Of course, not every currency is generally included in any multicurrency account, so it’s always worth checking the fees associated with foreign exchanges, including the ability to set up forward contracts to reduce costs further.

Data Management

Your financial data is extremely valuable. It gives you critical insights into your commercial performance, highlights potentially avoidable losses and enables you to entice investors and stakeholders. However, financial data only retains its value if its accessible and meaningful.

When selecting the best online account for your business, pay attention to the level of reporting and data you’ll have access too. With a comprehensive online dashboard and customisable reporting tools, for example, you can collate and utilise your company data in a variety of ways that will allow you to capitalise on its value.

Account Controls

If more than one person is going to have access to your online account, you may want to set up bespoke controls to regulate their activity. In some instances, numerous employees have access to company funds but, with account controls, you can ensure access is regulated at all times.

User-Friendly Interface

An online account should deliver security, flexibility and functionality, but this isn’t always the case. Before you open a business account, take the time to explore the online portal or dashboard to determine whether it’s user-friendly and intuitive.

You’re likely to be using your online business account facilities and tools on a day-to-day basis, so making sure they are comprehensive and easy to use is essential.

Fee Structure

Different business account providers have varying fee structures, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t end up spending over the odds simply to manage your company’s finances. From monthly account fees, international transfer charges and foreign exchange rates, there are many ways that your company can incur fees via its financial services.

While it’s not at all unusual for account providers to charge fees for these services, do check the charges in advance so you can choose a cost-effective option for your business.

Customer Service

It might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you’re thinking about an online account but don’t underestimate the importance of good customer service. Whether you’re having trouble activating a reporting tool, you’d like assistance making an international transfer or you’d simply like some guidance on how to leverage your company’s financial management, having access to top-tier customer service can transform your workflows.

Debit Cards

Physical and virtual cards allow you to make purchases both offline and online via your business account and they can be a great option if you want to streamline employee expenses management. By issuing business debit cards from your online account, you can ensure that your employees have access to the resources they need without complex workflows to recoup their expenditure, all while retaining complete control over company spending.

Know What’s Best for Your Business in 3 Easy Steps

To discover which online account is best for your company, follow these three simple steps now:

1. Identify Your Financial Needs

Knowing what your company needs from its financial ecosystem is the first to making sure you get the best account for your business. If you routinely order from overseas partners or have target markets all over the world, for example, a multicurrency online account could be the best option. By creating a list of must-have features, you can ensure that your new online account delivers everything your company needs.

2. Futureproof Your Company’s Finances

As well as determining what online account features your company needs now, consider how your company’s needs are likely to evolve in the future. Are you planning to expand and take your business global, for example? Will you need to issue batch payments as your staff grows? Do you want to be able to implement new payment methods and gateways as your operations evolve?

When you select an online account that offers the functionality your company needs in both the short and long term, you can ensure you’ll have access to the features you need to reach your commercial potential.

3. Focus on Value

It might be tempting to look for an online account with the cheapest fees but be wary of promises that sound too good to be true as you may get caught out by hidden charges. Furthermore, the cheapest service isn’t always the best and super low fees may mean you’re missing out on critical account functionality or personalised customer service.

While it’s certainly important to compare fees, don’t make this the sole factor in deciding which account is best for your company.

Applying for an Online Account with PayAlly

At PayAlly, we’re committed to providing bespoke financial services that empower growth. With a flexible financial ecosystem to support your business and a dedicated relationship manager, we’re a trusted partner that helps your company reach its objectives.

Request to open an International Online Account with PayAlly here.