No matter the size, every business needs to apply for business credit at one time or another. The exceptions are when the owner has the capital to run the business until it is self-sustained or if an investor buys a stake in the company, eliminating the need to take out loans or other credit lines for start-up or operations.
Before you apply for business credit, the most important thing you should do is separate your finances from your business finances. Even if you invest some of your capital into the business, you should treat yourself as an outside investor as far as accounting, and other financial functions are concerned. You should also incorporate or become a limited liability company or partnership to protect your assets if the business has issues. Here are four types of business credit to avoid using your personal accounts.
Revolving Credit Accounts
Revolving credit is money you borrow that has a pre-set credit limit, and you can charge all you want up to your credit limit as many times as you need. The two types of revolving credit are business credit cards and a business line of credit. You charge or borrow any amount under the limit. Then you pay it back with interest. As long as you pay down the balance and keep your account in good standing, you can charge up to your limit an infinite number of times. The advantage of revolving credit accounts is that you don’t have to pay the balance all at once; however, they will have interest attached, so make full payments when possible.
Installment accounts, also known as commercial installment accounts, are an all-fixed amount process. The amounts don’t vary according to interest or other sliding factors. The lender will agree to loan you a fixed amount, you will agree on the final fixed amount you will pay back, then determine a fixed amount you will pay each month to pay it back. In some cases, the loaned amount is the same as the payoff amount, for example, if you borrow from a friend or family member who doesn’t want interest. The advantage is all parties involved are clear on the amounts.
A charge card is similar to a credit card; however, the main difference is that you cannot make minimum payments each month. They also have no pre-set spending limit. Each charge is approved or disapproved based on a few factors. Your business credit score, current financials, recent spending patterns, and account history will determine if your purchase will be approved. Charge cards are excellent for purchases you need immediately but can pay off quickly since the entire balance is due the following billing cycle.
Vendor accounts are when a business receives products or services and pays the vendor over a set period. Most vendor accounts will expect the net amount back within 30 days; this is also known as a net-30 account. Other vendors may have longer or shorter accounts. Some will also negotiate with a business that is loyal and in good standing. Most of these vendor accounts do not carry interest. The vendor account is excellent for products and services and for building vendor trust and relationships. Another plus to a vendor account is that it is reported to commercial credit bureaus and can build your financial reputation as a business.
When you have a small business, it is best not to use your money to fund the business unless you treat it as an investment and pay yourself as a stakeholder from profits. Using business credit is a reliable way to take care of business needs until the company is self-sustained. You should carefully consider all the options and use what makes sense for you and your company. You can use more than one type of business credit; be sure you keep in good standing, or your business could suffer financially.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.