Legal-Ease: Checklist for businesses once legally formed

Once you meet with an attorney and have set up your new business, you may be asking yourself, “Now what?” Once you have all the legal documents in place and your new business, like an LLC, is legally set up with the state, you are able to finish the following checklist.

First, every person needs to have an insurance agent, especially a business owner. Every activity that we undertake in this world opens us up to the risk of potential liability and presents the possibility that someone will sue. Especially as time goes on, it seems people are more and more open to lawsuits, even though not all lawsuits will succeed. The best part of good insurance is that the insurance company will typically pay for the legal fees to defend the business or business owner. So, when a business or business owner gets sued, you should always check with an insurance agent to see if the defense of the claim is covered under the insurance.

Second, you should ensure that the business has its requisite government licenses and permits. Businesses can need vendor’s, food service, solicitation, dealership and various other professional and other licenses that are necessary for the business. All businesses should confirm what government licenses and permits will be required of them.

Often the requisite government licenses and permits needed can be identified through a proper Google search. Ensure you are relying on legitimate government websites. Attorneys can also assist in identifying what licenses a business needs or can provide some initial guidance to business owners concerning necessary licensing for a business to do what a business is doing or intends to do.

Third, you will need to set up a meeting with your accountant to discuss taxation of the business. Businesses can be subject to certain taxes not applicable to individuals. Additionally, businesses can sometimes be uniquely qualified to utilize certain tax advantages. Thus, it’s best if you meet with an accounting advisor who does tax planning and advising and not just an accountant who is merely a tax return preparer.

Fourth, you will need to get organized. Most business owners, especially when starting out, cannot afford a professional business manager. Oftentimes, the business owner himself or herself should find a way to manage the various aspects of the business, in hopefully an organized fashion. You will need to open a separate bank account for the business to help keep organized books, records and to help make accounting easier in the future.

Further, almost every business should purchase and use accounting software such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks or NetSuite. Most of the time the free software provided preinstalled with the purchase of a computer or tablet is insufficient for most businesses. Accounting software will help you with invoicing, bill pay, sometimes payroll and more, and it help keep you organized.

Making sure you work through this checklist after your business is legally set up will help ensure your business is set up for future success and ready for whatever challenges your business might face.

Nichole Y. Shafer is an Ohio-licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LTD in Putnam County. She limits her practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.