Setting up business and personal finances

As a business owner you’ll need to start treating your personal and business finances separately. This means being clear on differentiating the income you earn as a business and your own personal finances. It may seem time consuming and even confusing in the beginning but you, your business and your family will benefit in the long run.

Why do I need to separate my business income and personal income?

There are a number of reasons why it is important to separate your business and personal finances including:

  • You’ll have a very clear idea of what is yours and what belongs to the business. This will help you evaluate the financial performance of your business and plan for it going forward;
  • It will help you manage your cash flow. Lack of cash flow is a major problem for all small businesses and the main reason many fail. By frequently withdrawing funds from your business for personal use, you will inadvertently undermine the success of your business;
  • Business owners are often seen as a source of money and frequently asked to help family or friends. By separating your personal income, you can continue to fulfill your personal obligations and responsibilities based on what you have available in your personal account without impacting the profitability of your business; and
  • Generally business expenses may be partially or wholly tax deductible, while personal expenses are not. By separating your business and personal incomes and expenses, the task of completing your tax return becomes easier.

How to separate your business and personal finances

  1. Set up separate bank accounts for your business and your personal finances. Ask about low fee products and high interest savings accounts available to help maximize your cash flow. Ensure only authorised staff and/or business partners have access to your business accounts.
  2. Put all income received from the business into the business transaction account. And, it’s from this account that all the expenses of the business should be paid.
  3. If you’re paying yourself a wage, ensure that it’s deposited into your personal account. All of your personal expenses should be paid from your personal account. Don’t draw extra funds from your business account to pay for personal expenses.
  4. If you feel like you’d like help with separating your personal and business finances, speak with a banker or visit your local Westpac branch.
  5. Make use of in-store and online products to help you overcome some of the challenges of managing your cash (see Resources below).

Make the most out of your time

Look for ‘branchless’ banking options that will help you keep your personal and business finances in order without having to visit the bank often. This is especially important if you’re running a business in a remote or rural Pacific community, or live many miles away from a branch. It will not only save you time and money, but overcome the challenges of having to travel with cash.

In-store banking

In-store Banking service allows a wide number of merchants to provide banking services to customers through an EFTPOS terminal. At an In-Store Banking merchant you can do the following without having to spend money and time travelling to a branch:

  • Conduct balance enquiries;
  • Make cash withdrawals or cash deposits;
  • Transfer funds between accounts
  • Pay bills where customers and payees are registered for Bill Pay;
  • Pay fellow Westpac customers; and
  • Print mini-statements for recent transactions.
  • To find an In-store Banking location near you visit Westpac PNG or Westpac Fiji.

Mobile Banking

Mobile Banking puts you in control of your money, anytime, anywhere. You can access your bank account on your mobile phone and do your banking wherever you are, whenever you want. If you can make a call on your mobile, you can use Mobile Banking for the following types of transactions:

  • Conducting balance enquiries
  • Requesting mini-statements
  • Topping up your phone or another phone
  • Conducting inter-account transfers
  • Paying money between banks: Westpac, BSP, ANZ, MayBank
  • Banking securely by being able to regularly change your mobile PIN.

Download the Mobile Banking User Guide (PDF 1.14MB) for instructions on how to use Westpac’s mobile banking service and contact a branch for more information. Note: Westpac will launch Mobile banking in Fiji during July 2015. Consider how you will receive money from customers and pay business-related bills.

EFTPOS merchant terminals

EFTPOS merchant facilities give you the ability to accept payment via all major debit, credit and charge cards over the counter or via phone and mail order. You’ll also have the flexibility to do business anywhere, anytime through mobile terminals. For more information, including how to apply, visit Westpac’s website or talk to a specialist.

In-store banking

In-store Banking service allows a wide number of merchants to provide banking services to customers through an EFTPOS terminal. At an In-Store Banking merchant you can do the following without having to spend money and time travelling to a branch:

  • Conduct balance enquiries;
  • Make cash withdrawals or cash deposits;
  • Transfer funds between accounts
  • Pay bills where customers and payees are registered for Bill Pay;
  • Pay fellow Westpac customers; and
  • Print mini-statements for recent transactions.
  • To find an In-store Banking location near you visit Westpac PNG or Westpac Fiji.

Mobile Banking

Mobile Banking puts you in control of your money, anytime, anywhere. You can access your bank account on your mobile phone and do your banking wherever you are, whenever you want. If you can make a call on your mobile, you can use Mobile Banking for the following types of transactions:

  • Conducting balance enquiries
  • Requesting mini-statements
  • Topping up your phone or another phone
  • Conducting inter-account transfers
  • Paying money between banks: Westpac, BSP, ANZ, MayBank
  • Banking securely by being able to regularly change your mobile PIN.

Download the Mobile Banking User Guide (PDF 1.14MB) for instructions on how to use Westpac’s mobile banking service and contact a branch for more information. Note: Westpac will launch Mobile banking in Fiji during July 2015. Consider how you will receive money from customers and pay business-related bills.

EFTPOS merchant terminals

EFTPOS merchant facilities give you the ability to accept payment via all major debit, credit and charge cards over the counter or via phone and mail order. You’ll also have the flexibility to do business anywhere, anytime through mobile terminals. For more information, including how to apply, visit Westpac’s website or talk to a specialist.

Corporate Online

An internet-based electronic platform provides a single point of entry to a suite of online transactional services specifically designed for major Australian, New Zealand, Pacific and international corporations and government bodies. Westpac Corporate Online gives you control over your money with real-time balances and transactions at a glance, the ability to manage staff access and best of breed security. Visit Westpac’s website for more information or talk to a specialist.

Credit and debit cards

A range of options to suit your business needs including options for greater flexibility and higher spending limits, complimentary travel insurance, and access to cash via ATM and EFTPOS terminals. Visit Westpac’s website or talk to a specialist for more information.

 

Note: Westpac has offices in PNG and Fiji, so much of the content on this site relates to these countries. We hope, though, that it is useful for all women entrepreneurs across the Pacific and beyond.

We welcome your feedback on additional resources or contacts that would help to improve Pacific Women in Business. Please contact us with your ideas and feedback.