Since launching Starling for business in March, we’ve been working hard to bring our business accounts to as many people as possible. From today, our same day setup, no-fee business accounts will be available to sole traders. To learn more, take a look at our sole trader bank account.

The UK’s 3.4 million sole traders are at the forefront of business growth. They make up more than 60% of businesses in the UK and accounted for 79% of the overall 197,000 increase in the number of businesses last year.

At Starling, we understand that starting your own business means giving it everything you have to make it happen. Our Starling for business account is designed to save you time and help you get there, not hold you back.

Jane McWhirter, who is self-employed and runs her own chiropractic and naturopathic nutrition clinic in Fife, has been using Starling as her personal account and is looking forward to opening her sole trader business account.

About Jane’s business

Jane set up the first complementary therapy clinic in the City of London in 1990. “We called it The Wren Clinic as the building was originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Most of the building had been destroyed during the Blitz but the tower survived and became our clinic,” she says.

The team of fifteen included chiropractors, a nutritionist, homeopath, acupuncturist and a GP who was also a medical herbalist. Jane encouraged everyone to work together to create a complete picture of how they could help their patients. She found that “getting to the cause of the problem and then teaching our patients about how to make lasting changes meant that we were usually able to restore them to full health and energy – for good.”

When Jane moved to Scotland in 1996, she set up her own chiropractic clinic, practising the more gentle McTimoney method. When her children were older, she trained as a naturopathic nutritionist and now offers chiropractic treatments, nutrition consultations and healthy cooking courses, working from home. “I love being able to have a holistic, diet and lifestyle approach to help patients get and stay well,” Jane says.

Less banking, more time

Many sole traders will find that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. Managing their money on their smartphones without having to open a laptop or go to branch can save them a lot of time – time that can be used to market their business or reach out to new clients and customers, or simply to recharge their batteries.

“It will save me so much time. Being paperless and branchless is brilliant. Invoices and receipts can so easily get into the wrong order or lost but now I’ll be able to have everything in one place, in the right order, and be able to type and search for a transaction in seconds,” Jane says.

Over the last year, more and more bank branches have closed and Jane is now 10 miles from her nearest bank. For her, “this means over an hour round trip when you include the drive, parking, and the queue (which is even longer since the branch closures and can be 20 minutes or more!)”

The accounts will initially be available to customers who already have a Starling personal account. If you don’t currently have an account with us, you can apply for one in minutes, straight from your smartphone. Once both accounts are open, you’ll be able to toggle between the two in the app.

Ways to pay

“I’ve been using the personal account for several months now and I love how easy it is so I can’t wait to have the same for my business,” Jane says.

Most of her clients pay by bank transfer or in cash, but a few of her older clients are still wedded to their cheque books. “For cheques, I’ll just pop those in an envelope and send them down to Starling,” Jane says. For cash, Starling for business account holders will soon have the option to make deposits at the Post Office – in Jane’s case, just a three minute drive away – under a partnership between Starling and the Post Office launching in the summer.

Favourite features

Starling for business accounts share many features with the Starling personal account, including real-time notifications and Spending Insights.

For Jane, like many other sole traders, the breakdown of income and outgoings is invaluable. “I’ll be able to see exactly what my monthly expenses are for travelling to conferences, wholesale supplements, buying books or booking webinars. Being able to divide my income into separate categories will also be really helpful as I have several different income streams – treatments, advice, supplements and healthy cooking courses” Jane says.

The launch of International Payments is key for sole traders who need to send or receive money from overseas. Jane hasn’t bought supplements from the US in the past due to the huge fees and customs duties involved, but says that she “may look into this now that Starling makes it so much more affordable and straightforward.”

The Starling for business account also allows users to export data in CSV files, so they can share transactions with their accountant or accounting software, such as Xero.

Staying secure

Starling business and personal accounts are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This means that eligible deposits up to £85,000 are protected, just as they would be for high street banks.

“Not all business accounts apps are covered so it’s great to have that peace of mind,” Jane says.

“I run my clinic from home which is in the countryside and a long way from any high street banks, so being mobile is perfect for me.”

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