By Brian Kieley, SCORE Mentor
Keeping accurate financial records is an important part of running a small business, as is finding the right payment partner. Many small business owners are realizing that business credit cards are one of the most useful tools in organizing accounts and maintaining financial efficiency.
Here are four ways in which a business credit card can be effective:
They help you keep track of your business expenses
In the rush of business, keeping track of expenses can fall through the cracks. In just one day, a small business owner might buy office supplies with cash, pay an electricity bill with a check and use a personal credit card to take a valuable client to dinner. At the end of the month, these expenditures are forgotten or the receipts mislaid. Putting these expenses on a business credit card ensures that they are all recorded in one place, accessible online and available to check at any time. No need to try to dig up old receipts or go through your personal credit card spending to determine which of those items were for business expenses.
They keep your business and personal accounts separate
Accountants agree that a small business owner should not mingle personal and business expenses. Doing so can make it difficult to determine how much profit or loss you have made in a month or a year. It can also create major problems at tax time. By using your business credit card for all business expenses, you will be able to keep track of them quite easily.In addition, many credit card issuers will send you a categorized summary of the year’s expenses – just in time for tax season.
They provide you with cash back and other rewards
A number of credit card issuers offer cash-back incentives to use their business credit cards. These incentives will vary by purchase category but, depending on how much spending you do and where you spend, the annual earnings can really add up.
They provide you with the flexibility of unsecured credit
Other payment methods, such as cash, checks or a debit card, can limit spending to the amount of money a small business has on hand. This can be a helpful way to manage cash expenditures. However, if you know that money will become available in a few weeks you can use a business credit card for your purchases.
The bottom line
An online search of business credit cards yields millions of results. All this information can be confusing and overwhelming. The Simple Dollar, a website devoted to financial education for individuals and businesses, recently put together a comprehensive guide to the best business credit cards available. You should also talk to your bank to see what they offer. And, of course, consult with your SCORE Austin mentor. We are here to help!
About the Author
Brian Kieley is a mentor in the Austin chapter of SCORE. He has a long career as an executive in payments, customer service, operations, social media, and product development.