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In a world where we can get so much done with a few clicks of the mouse, you may think that changing the name on your business bank account would be quick and easy. It’s not quite the case, as it happens. It can be a bit more involved than logging into your account and entering the new name.
The good news is that it’s not a complex or drawn-out process. But it is important you do it properly and without rushing.
Why might I be thinking of changing my business account name?
A common reason is where you’ve made a change to the name of the business. It is a legal obligation to ensure that the name on your business bank account is exactly the same as that on your documentation at Companies House. The same goes for any other legal agreements that are held in the company’s name.
So, if you’ve changed your company name – even if it’s just a small tweak – you’ll need to update your business bank account name as soon as you can.
How do I change my business bank account name?
The exact process will depend on the bank or building society you’re with.
Some will be fine with going through it over the phone or online. The latter might be through a form that can be downloaded from their website, although a number of providers now allow customers with digital banking and/or mobile apps to undertake at least some of the process digitally.
Others still want name change requests to be put in writing, however.
If so, the letter should be signed. Include your account number and sort code and what the business name is changing from and to, and make sure it carries the signatures of all the account holders listed in your business bank account mandate. They may also want the reason for the name change.
The documents required will vary too. For example, banks and building societies may ask for a certified copy of your Certificate of Incorporation on Change of Name, which is issued by Companies House.
What else do I need to be aware of?
If you want to make sure the change is made as quickly as possible, it’s worth checking that documents such as your business mandate are fully up-to-date.
Similarly, some providers may take longer than others to complete the process. Ask your bank for an estimate of the time it will take and make sure you know exactly what it will need from you to keep the process as short as possible.
What is a business banking mandate?
The list of people authorised to manage the company bank account – such as directors, personal assistants or secretaries – and the instructions for doing so are included in a document referred to as a business banking mandate.
For more on this, see our article on what business banking mandates are and what you need to know.
» MORE: Business banking mandates
Changing from a sole trader to a limited company bank account
There are some instances in which you won’t be able to change the name on your business account.
Perhaps the most notable is where you’re also changing your business status from sole trader to limited company. If this is the case, you’ll likely have to open a new account. That’s because HMRC treats a sole trader’s personal and business income as one, whereas if you’re a limited company you must have a business bank account specifically for that legal entity.
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