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New business bank accounts for startups and problem with Google Apps for Business domain

Went to open a business bank account yesterday. It’s not opened yet. There are hoops to jump through, despite the fact that I have been with the same bank since I was a kid.

In fact the business bank manager was able to do nothing apart from record the details of the new business. Approval has to be gained by some examining committee or other. He couldn’t even look online to see what was all about. There is no internet access at the bank. Quite a good thing really when you think about it.

It’s all about money laundering. I had the same issues in having to prove who I was at the accountant and the lawyers. In fact the lawyer, Helen, told me they had to reauthenticate my identity every three years. I guess a lot could change in three years. I might have a sex change. It isn’t without precedent in this industry.

My main concern in seeing the bank manager was the charges. As a start up it’s free for 18 months which is good. However preparing already for the future I had taken a quick skeet online to see what it would cost eighteen months hence. The numbers weren’t particularly attractive. Looking a bit closer whilst in at the bank I found that online banking was pretty much free. I don’t plan on doing much non online banking. It reaffirms that everything needs to be online and automated.

When starting Timico one of the first things we did was to take on an accountant, also coincidentally called Helen (highly efficient and top operator 😉 ). Pretty much everything is going to be outsourced at so I’m intitially doing it all myeslf. I imagine the only skills we will really need will be editorial and web development (see ad – if you know anyone we are hiring).

Anyway the banking ball is rolling. Next up VAT  number.

The other bit of “progress” yesterday was to get an advert up on the Lincoln University graduate jobs board. I like the idea of creating local jobs. A developer could in theory work from anywhere. Anywhere with a decent internet connection and as long as it was within reasonable reach of Greenwich Mean Time. I want the developer to be in the same room as me. Ideas grow when you can bounce them off people. is actually going to be a partnership. More about Matt, the other partner, later. Sometime over the Christmas break Matt and I met in a pub for lunch and to work on the spec for the forthcoming website refresh. We sat next to each other working on the same document on our own laptops. We chatted about the content we could see in front of us and each made changes to the doc in real time based on our discussion.

Now this is also doable remotely using hangouts and video conferencing but on that occasion it suited us to “do lunch”. Google Apps is looking like an invaluable set of tools for us and will be using a Google Apps for Business account.

In theory this is straightforward to set up. However in practice it hasn’t been so. This is because I already had  the domain associated with my personal gmail account. After an initial flurry of investigation following a message that told me “this domain is already in use” I figured out a plan.

Stop mail forwarding from Timico’s mail servers & access mail via webmail interface, delete all references to on my gmail account, set up domain in new Google Apps For Business Account and repoint Timico mail servers at that mailbox. Turns out Timico wasn’t forwarding the mail but Gmail was pulling it from the POP3 mailbox.

What’s more having done all this Google still wouldn’t let me set up the new account with that domain. Now I find I have to wait 24 hours. So tonight’s job will again be setting up the google Apps for Business account. In principle we could get away without a business account but I want the ability to manage multiple aliases from one gmail account.

One of the things that’s put me off email after nearly ten years at Timico is the amount of “legitimate” spam that comes through. With the new business I will be using a specific alias for all online registrations which I can then filter into a separate folder away from harms way and my line of sight.  I know that some people use different specific email aliases for different registrations so that they can see who is selling the contact database. I’d be interested in hearing any results of doing this. Naming and shaming.

Got to go. VAT number to sort out. Ciao.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

6 replies on “New business bank accounts for startups and problem with Google Apps for Business domain”

I remember when I setup the bank account for Ziron. Despite copies of every form of ID known to mankind, they still didn’t believe who I said I was because I’d spelt my first name slightly differently on the share certificate. Certainly don’t make life easy – then again, nor do HMRC if you’re registering for VAT and they get the slightest whiff you’re anything to do with telecoms or IT. Took us three months and quite a lot of paperwork to explain that we weren’t planning any mischief.

Still, it’s all very exciting – will be watching your progress with interest!

You say “I know that some people use different specific email aliases for different registrations so that they can see who is selling the contact database. I’d be interested in hearing any results of doing this. Naming and shaming.”

This is something I’ve done systematically for as long as I’ve had the domain to myself. I don’t really bother to filter much other than ensuring I have a “direct marketing” mail folder for anything that fits the template for the addresses I use for registering. (e.g. the one for your blog 🙂 )

But one highlight in using this approach was a few years ago when I caused a website to get shut down. I’d subscribed to the great Malcolm Gluck’s superplonk website for some time, but he’d lost interest and had stopped doing the detailed supermarket wine reviews I’d subscribed for and had licensed the website and its database to a company to do some follow on work with. But it seems that they did more than that, and I started getting some very iffy emails to my superplonk registered address – so much so that I complained, getting a rather offhand response/ignored from the licensees. A bit of research got me Malcolm Gluck’s phone number, so I phoned him and complained. He took it seriously (as it was his brand suffering), did some research and closed it down forthwith! Unfortunately, he never seriously followed up doing anything good with the name after that (not that I’ve looked for a while) despite me putting him in touch with some good people.


V interesting Howard. Now you mention it I used to buy the Malcolm Gluck book. I’m sorry his online service is no longer available (despite the fact that I didn’t use it 🙂 ). I assume he stopped writing the books as well.

Whilst setting up the business before Timico I applied for a VAT number and got a visit from a couple of heavies – black jackets and all. I already had a VAT number with my consultancy business and was setting up a second business in partnership with someone to sell VoIP phones and kit online.

They thought that this was suspicious, particularly as it was based from home. Turns out there was a VAT scam doing the rounds where someone would set up a business selling mobile phones, take the VAT off people and then bugger off without paying their own VAT bill to HMRC.

The two guys sat in my kitchen grilling me. Wouldn’t accept a cup of tea even! My sheer honesty eventually made it through the armour. They gave me the thumbs up, had a cuppa and left me in peace.

Today it turns out that I can’t set up the VAT number yet anyway as the business is not fully registered and up and running.

More as it happens…

Interesting post Tref

A few years back I did think myself about starting up a small venture and had a cursory look into the banking and tax situation and it did put me off as getting all that stuff sorted looked like a few weeks’ work in itself (was looking to undertake the venture alongside a full time role and use my salary to support the business meaning I didn’t have to incur any bank debt) and it does sound like I was correct.

I may look again at some point as working for myself does appeal to me.

The tax stuff is the bit that really puts the wind up me I have to say, it does sound very much like you are guilty (of trying to avoid tax) until proven innocent if you are a small business, even when you are striving to do everything by the book.

As for banks it does appear loyalty means nowt, when I started my first job I went into my local branch of the bank whom my grandparents had opened a savings account with for me when I was born which had about a grand in it at the time in order to open a current account.

I had my passport, a letter appointing me to my role and a ‘mortgage letter’ from our HR department stating my salary, I went into one of the consulting rooms and the bank employee fed the details into the PC which told her what I could have, they wouldn’t even extend me a 100 quid overdraft.

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