In my search for better business banking, something aimed at freelancers and solopreneurs, I stumbled upon Found. In hindsight, I’m not even exactly sure how; some random tumbling through entrepreneurial content that somehow found (pun intended) its way to me.
To catch my interest, it had to be more than just about banking; it had to be about uncovering a service that simplifies bookkeeping, tracks expenses, integrates with key technologies, and suits the unique needs of the self-employed.
Opening a small business bank account is rarely a thrilling task. It’s one of those necessary evils in the early stages of entrepreneurship. Over the years, I’ve trudged through the process with various banks, mostly left feeling underwhelmed.
It’s easy to get stuck in a mindset that claims “there’s nothing special about banking”. But this is just untrue.
As a coach and entrepreneur, my needs are specific: I thrive in the online world, and my banking needs to support me. This means that I don’t just want a basic place to collect and retrieve my money.
I want a partner that has modern features like custom invoices, integrations, and efficient dashboards for monitoring expenses. It also needs to be just as easy to navigate in the mobile app as it is on the desktop.
And if it can make tasks I don’t enjoy more somehow more enjoyable, well then, we’re onto something.
Why niche banks over big banks for business banking? Because you’re more than average.
I’ve tried my hand at some of the big banks. Frankly, they’ve been a drag. Their web and mobile experiences feel bloated and clunky.
I have a personal account with Chase and it’s the worst, filled with so much extra stuff that I dread opening the app whenever I have to. It’s a stark contrast to the more nimble, online-focused banks that seem to understand what entrepreneurs like me need: efficiency and integration, especially with services like Stripe and PayPal.
How do Novo, BlueVine, and Found compare for Freelancers and Solopreneurs?
Fortunately, there are some emerging banks out there that are decent. My first in this line was with a bank called Novo. And Novo was exactly what I wanted a few years ago. It has a collection of integrations with other accounting software like Quickbooks and even integrations with Zapier and Amazon.
I don’t use any of those integrations, but I was glad to know they existed. Novo also makes “financial insights” available through basic charting of income, spending, and net cash flow. And Novo has invoicing that is easy. But over time it seemed like Novo was moving more towards servicing the larger side of small with less focus on individuals and more on small teams. I haven’t been unhappy with Novo, but I do feel like an afterthought.
Bluevine was another bank I explored. And it was sort of an accident. I had another bank called “Nearside” that one day let me know that they were closing. I had to scramble to find a new bank, something simple that I could get running quickly. I explored some other options, but nothing really caught me.
So I sort of settled for Bluevine and they’ve been a fine partner. Bluevine’s strength is that it’s really basic. There aren’t a lot of features, but it’s been very easy to make deposits and move money around. I wouldn’t say Bluevine is a great bank for those of us that need to create invoices, set aside money for taxes, or track expenses.
It’s worth noting that there are other bookkeeping tools that will integrate with your bank accounts. You could easily make a case for let bookkeeping and banking be separate. For example, Wave provides a small business accounting solution that I originally started using.
But I don’t really need (or want) an entire accounting package right now. I just need easy and frictionless expense reporting. Also, banking integrations can sometimes be tricky even with Plaid.
With a mix of contract work and wanting to more tightly manage expenses, I kept wondering if there was something more suited to my needs. I need a bank for where I am now in my journey, but also one the scales for how I expect to grow.
What makes Found a unique banking experience for the Self-Employed?
Then came Found. And, yeah, I continue to be impressed. Tagged as “Business banking for the self-employed,” it resonated with me. What set Found apart wasn’t just its features but the entire experience.
When I first stumbled on Found, I thought that I might just explore it from the outside. But then I decided to create an account. The experience was incredibly quick and easy for me. From creating, funding, and customer service interactions to the thoughtful communication about my debit card process, everything felt… thoughtful.
How does Found simplify tax management for Freelancers? Convenience.
A standout feature of Found is its approach to taxes, especially for those of us filing quarterly. I’ve seen other banks offering ways to set aside money, but Found does this in a way that is easy to create and visually be aware of. Found offers “pockets” in their free account, designed to automatically set aside money for taxes (or other categories), which is a game-changer for financial management. It just makes it so much easier to know that money is allocated effectively instead of a last-minute afterthought.
How easy is it to det up an account with Found? Easy.
Setting up my account was astonishingly quick. All it took was standard verification, my EIN and a PayPal transfer. I transferred a $100 from my PayPal balance to test the waters and I was up and running in minutes.
(One small, yet delightful feature was choosing the color of my debit card. It’s a minor detail, but it adds a personal touch.)
What are the additional benefits of using Found?
I find the experience of using Found to simply be enjoyable. And this is strange for me to say about banking. But there is clearly a lot of thought that has gone into designing the user experience and creating software that is pleasant to use. Some features that caught my eye include:
- Simple yet effective Income, Expense, and Profit and Loss reports, crucial for helping me analyze my business strategy.
- Customizable invoices and payments that allow multiple payment options including Zelle, Venmo, and PayPal.
- Virtual cards! I love the option for having virtual debit cards so that I can bank online securely.
- A contractor payment management system. This is not something I need yet, but I keep thinking about paying for help for things like personal assistants, web design, or social media management.
Is upgrading to Found Plus worth it for enhanced business banking features? Still deciding.
While everything I need to do is available in the free account, Found’s Plus account boasts features like smart bookkeeping and direct tax filing within the app. Priced at $119.93 annually (or $20/month), it’s something I’m pondering over, despite currently using other tools.
While I’m a big advocate for using the dedicated tools for dedicated jobs, this is one area that I would consider consolidating because the alternative of connecting external services to banking is not always that great. It’s certainty doable and, like I mentioned, there are tools like Wave that do it, but I’m seriously considering the experience of Found Plus. For someone looking to consolidate, it’s worth considering. To make it more enticing, there’s a free trial, so it’s low risk.
How to decide if Found is the right business banking choice? Try it.
I’m still in the early stages with Found, but so far, it feels like I’ve found a new partner in my business banking. Every business has unique needs, and what works for one may not for another, but hopefully this gives you an idea of what’s out there. Always choose what aligns best with your modern business needs and values. But if you’re looking for new ways to make banking easier, more flexible, and aligned with how self-employed people work, then I think it’s worth giving Found a look and let me know what you think.