Hands On

Manager's Notebook

Want to pay less for bank services? Tom Bray of PROaudit, a banking cost-management consulting firm in Lincoln, Mass., suggests four methods:

1. Consider other account options besides business checking. Bray's top recommendation is the asset-management accounts offered by many large brokerage firms. He describes the accounts as "part banking and part brokerage account." Unlike most business checking accounts, these accounts pay interest on deposits.

2. Negotiate for a high earnings credit allowance (ECA) if you prefer a traditional banking relationship . The ECA is a credit that can help offset service charges.

3. Comparison-shop on service fees. Don't get bogged down on every fee, but seek discounts on services your company uses routinely.

4. Request a monthly account-analysis statement, even if it costs extra. "That is the bank's breakdown of what you're paying and why. It's the best tool you have if you care about controlling your banking costs," says Bray.