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Documents Needed to Open a Business Bank Account

Starting a business is an exciting venture, but with it comes navigating the foundational steps such as obtaining a business license and opening a business bank account. 

If you are a new business owner who is wondering about business bank account requirements, join the Raleigh CPAs at C.E. Thorn, CPA, PLLC as they outline all you need to have on hand before heading to the bank. 

In this post, our small business accountants will guide you through the requirements and considerations involved in setting up your business bank account in North Carolina. 

The Benefits of Opening a Business Bank Account

While there are several business bank account requirements, before we dive into those, we'll share the benefits of opening your own business bank account. The main reason for opening a business bank account is to ensure your personal and business expenses are separate.

Separation of Personal and Business Finances

One question we often get is: “Do I need a business bank account?” The short answer is yes, you need a business bank account to keep your personal transactions separate from business expenses. You will see that having a separate account for personal and business transactions is especially helpful come tax preparation time. Unless your CPA charges a flat fee, when your documents are organized and easy to file, your tax preparer will have an easier time filing your tax return which likely means your tax preparation fees will be less than they would be if documents were hard to track down. 

Professionalism and Credibility

A dedicated business bank account lends credibility to your enterprise, instilling trust and confidence in clients, vendors, and financial institutions. It portrays a professional image, signaling to stakeholders that your business is legitimate, established, and serious about its operations. This can be particularly important when dealing with larger clients or seeking financing opportunities.

Facilitates Financial Management

Managing finances becomes considerably more efficient with a business bank account. You gain access to specialized banking services tailored to the needs of businesses, such as invoicing tools, cash flow management solutions, and merchant services. These resources streamline financial tasks, saving you time and effort that can be better allocated to growing your business and forecasting the financial future of your company. 

Simplified Tax Reporting and Compliance

Keeping accurate financial records is essential for fulfilling tax obligations and complying with regulatory requirements. With a dedicated business bank account, you can easily track income, expenses, and deductions, simplifying tax reporting processes and reducing the risk of errors or discrepancies. 

Protects Personal Assets

Structuring your business finances separately from your personal assets can offer a layer of protection in the event of legal disputes, creditor claims, or bankruptcy. In many cases, maintaining distinct accounts helps safeguard personal savings, property, and other assets from being targeted to satisfy business liabilities. This separation can provide peace of mind and mitigate personal financial risk associated with business operations.

A man with glasses sits at a desk and reviews the business bank account requirements

Access to Business Banking Services

Business bank accounts often come with a range of benefits and services tailored to the needs of entrepreneurs. These may include business loans, lines of credit, overdraft protection, and business credit cards. Establishing a relationship with a bank through your business account can also open doors to valuable financial advice, networking opportunities, and other resources to support your business growth.

Access to Financial Management Tools

Having a dedicated business account provides access to specialized banking tools and services, such as integrated accounting software, transaction categorization, and automated reconciliation, further enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of your bookkeeping processes. 

Personal Identity Protection

When you open up a business bank account, you'll need to provide an Employer Identification Number (EIN) rather than your Social Security Number (SSN). If your business accounts were to get hacked, the hacker would not have access to your personal information.

The Risks of Not Having a Business Bank Account

Business bank account requirements are put in place to help you avoid a host of financial, legal, and operational challenges that could jeopardize the success and stability of your enterprise. Here are some significant risks associated with not having a business bank account. 

Bad Bookkeeping Practices

Without a dedicated business bank account, personal and business finances often get intertwined. This can lead to confusion, inaccuracies, and inefficiencies in financial management. 

Lack of Professionalism and Credibility

Operating without a business bank account can undermine your company's professionalism and credibility. Mixing personal and business transactions can raise red flags with clients, vendors, and financial institutions, potentially eroding trust and confidence in your business. 

Increased Risk of Audit and Compliance Issues

When the IRS audits your tax return, they will request documentation to support your income and expenses. If you don't have a business bank account, it can be difficult to provide this documentation. This could lead to problems with the IRS and potentially result in penalties.

Legal and Financial Liability

In the event of legal disputes, creditor claims, or bankruptcy, your personal assets may be at risk if they're not adequately separated from business funds. Without the protection of a separate legal entity, such as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation, personal savings, property, and other assets could be vulnerable to seizure to satisfy business debts or obligations.

Limited Access to Banking Services

Without a business bank account, you miss out on access to essential banking services tailored to the needs of entrepreneurs. As previously mentioned, these services may include business loans, lines of credit, merchant services, and business credit cards. 

Stifled Business Growth and Opportunities

Operating without a business bank account can stifle your business's growth potential and limit opportunities for expansion. Without access to financing options or specialized banking services, you may struggle to invest in new projects, hire additional staff, or seize emerging market opportunities. 

Difficulty with Business Loan Approval

If you ever need to apply for a business loan or line of credit, most lenders will require documentation that shows you have a business bank account. Without this, it can be difficult to get the financing you need to grow your business. So, while there's no law that says you need a business bank account, it's definitely in your best interest to have one. It will help you stay organized, track your expenses, and grow your business.

Different Types of Business Bank Accounts

Before we can talk about the documents needed to open a business bank account, you should be aware of the different types of business bank accounts. 

The three types of business bank accounts are: 

  • Business Savings Accounts: A business savings account is a great way to grow your business's cash reserves. You can use this account to set aside money for taxes, unexpected expenses, or future growth. 
  • Business Checking Accounts: A business checking account is best for everyday business transactions like paying bills, receiving payments from customers, and transferring money to cover expenses. Your business checking account will come with a debit card that you can use to make purchases. 
  • Merchant Services Account: If your business accepts credit card payments, you’ll want to choose this type of account. Merchant account providers will give you the money for your sales upfront before the customer pays their credit card company. You’ll need a business checking account to open a merchant account.

What Do I Need to Open a Business Bank Account?

Once you decide which type of business bank account you need, it’s time to gather all of the right documentation. This includes the following business bank account requirements. 

Personal Identification

When opening a business bank account, you will be asked for one or two forms of personal identification to prove that you are an officer or owner of the company. 

These can include:

  • Driver’s License
  • State-issued Identification Card
  • Passport

Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Another one of the business bank account requirements is proof of business. To prove your business is what you say it is, you’ll need to provide the EIN, as well as documents from the IRS when you receive your EIN. If you’re a sole proprietor, you may be able to use your social security number instead of an EIN.

Business License

A business license shows you are authorized to operate in North Carolina. In North Carolina, there are over 700 types of licenses and permits needed to open various types of businesses, and no single, generic license satisfies all compliance requirements for a business bank account. 

Partnership Agreement

Businesses with different owners will need to show a partnership agreement, bylaws, or an operating agreement in order to open a business bank account in North Carolina. 

Certificate of Assumed Name

If your business operates under a trade name that is different from the legal name, you’ll need to file a DBA (“Doing Business As”) name with your state’s secretary of state. You’ll need a copy of your DBA filing documents to show your business’ trade name in order to open a business bank account. 

Monthly Credit Card Revenue

If you’re applying for a merchant services account, you’ll need to show estimates of your monthly credit card volume or the processing history and average volume of your monthly credit card revenue. You may also be asked to provide financial statements and bank account statements.

Organizing Documents

The requirements for organizing documents can vary by state so be sure to check the requirements where you live in order to open a business bank account.

Organizing documents gives the following information:

  • Business Owner & Address
  • Business Name
  • Registered Agent (the person who handles paperwork)
  • Management Structure (the person in charge of running the company)
  • Activities the Business Will Engage In

Minimum Deposit

Similar to a personal bank account, a business bank account will typically require a minimum deposit in order to open one. 

Business Bank Account Requirements Based On Business Type

The requirements for a business bank account will differ based on the type of business you have. This is the general breakdown for each type of business structure. 

Sole Proprietorship

The sole proprietorship requirements for a business bank account are: 

  • Personal identification
  • Business license with the name and owners’ names.
  • Social security number or EIN
  • Certificate of assumed name
  • Monthly credit card revenue for merchant accounts only

LLC (Limited Liability Company)

To open a business bank account for LLC, you need: 

  • Personal identification
  • Business license
  • EIN
  • Certificate of assumed name/DBA
  • LLC operating agreement including the names of all business partners
  • Articles of organization
  • Monthly credit card revenue for merchant accounts only


The documents needed to open a business bank account for a corporation are: 

  • Personal identification
  • EIN
  • Business license
  • Certificate of assumed name/DBA
  • Corporate bylaws
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Monthly credit card revenue (for merchant accounts)


Opening a business bank account for a partnership requires the following documents: 

  • Personal identification
  • EIN
  • Business license
  • Certificate of assumed name/DBA
  • Partnership agreement with the name of the business and its partners
  • Organizing document
  • Monthly credit card revenue for merchant accounts only

When you have all of these documents ready to go, it makes opening your business bank account much easier. Once you have your business bank account established, you may need monthly financial statements. At C.E. Thorn, CPA, PLLC we can help generate those statements for you to make the accounting process much easier.

Tips for Choosing the Right Bank to Open a Business Bank Account

Choosing the right bank to open a business bank account is a crucial decision that can profoundly impact your company's financial management and growth trajectory. With a multitude of banks and account options available, navigating this process can seem daunting. 

Here are some essential tips to help you choose the right bank for opening your business account, ensuring that you lay a solid foundation for your business's financial success: 

  • Evaluate the bank's fee structure, including account maintenance fees, transaction fees, and minimum balance requirements.
  • Consider the accessibility and convenience of the bank's branch and ATM network, as well as its online and mobile banking capabilities.
  • Assess the quality of customer service and support provided by the bank, including responsiveness and availability of dedicated business banking specialists.
  • Explore additional services and benefits offered by the bank, such as business lending options, lines of credit, and treasury management solutions.
  • Research the bank's reputation and financial stability, looking for strong ratings from independent rating agencies and regulatory bodies.
  • Determine if the bank has experience working with businesses similar to yours and offers industry-specific insights and resources.
  • Schedule consultations or meetings with prospective banks to discuss your business's needs and assess their suitability as a financial partner.

Business Bank Accounts FAQs

Why Should I Open a Business Bank Account?

Opening a business bank account helps keep your business transactions streamlined and separate from any personal accounts. This will help during tax time and it also helps to keep a professional appearance.

Do I Need a Lot of Money to Open a Business Bank Account?

The minimum deposit requirement will depend on the bank, while some have no requirements. Generally, you can open a business bank account with $50-$100.

Can I Open a Business Bank Account Online?

Yes, many banks allow you to do so. Check with the bank you are considering to see if they offer this option.

Learn More About Business Bank Account Requirements Today

Whether you're seeking assistance with opening a business bank account, navigating complex financial decisions, or maximizing your company's growth potential, our experienced team of business accountants is here to help. 
Reach out to C.E. Thorn CPA PLLC today at  919-420-0092 or fill out the form below to learn more about business bank account requirements in regard to your specific business.

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