Documents You’ll Need When Starting a Small Business

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One of the primary steps of getting your new small business off the ground is getting your requisite documents together. There are contracts, government requirements, and several financial papers. Let’s take a look at just some of the important paperwork that you will need for your new company.

Permits, Certificates, and Licenses

In order to operate in most jurisdictions, a business is required to apply for a general license, at the least. That said, some governments will require particular permits and certificates, depending on local laws and the type of business you are operating. For example, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs need additional licensing.

DBA, LLC, or Corporation Paperwork

Sole proprietorships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations are all different types of business structures and each requires that you file specific documents with your home state. Sole proprietors, or those that are the sole owners of their companies, need to file a “doing business as” document, or DBA, to register a business name that differs from their own. This is required to open a business checking account.

On the other hand, if you want to create an LLC, you will need to file Articles of Organization with the state which should contain all the necessary information pertaining to your company. LLCs are set up to protect business owners from liability and their company’s financial obligations. Corporations, which are entities within themselves, likewise would file Articles of Incorporation with the state.

Certificates of Incumbency

A certificate of incumbency is a document that is officially issued by a corporation, listing its board of directors, officers, and key shareholders, or an LLC, listing its members.

Federal Tax ID Documents

Any business that is not a sole proprietorship will require a federal tax ID. Sole proprietorships are basically the same legal entity as their owners, so the business owners’ Social Security numbers work in the same capacity for their businesses.

Bank and Financial Documentation

This can include loan documentation, profit and loss statements, bank account statements, payroll reports, and balance sheets. Not only are these papers important for tracking company growth over time, they will also be necessary if you need to secure future financing from financial institutions or investors.

In conclusion, having the appropriate documents to set up your business will ensure that it is operating properly in accordance with local, state, and federal laws. While you can find resources online with regard to startup documentation, it is always best to contact an attorney for the best advice.