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What is a business license and why do I need it?

At Expex, we work with many start up businesses and through our web app offer a suite of services providing a single solution for managing cash flow, online bills and payments and learning to understand the company’s financial health.

Many of these businesses ask us about forming their entity and obtaining a business license. We turn to an expert in the field for clarification. Frank Orlando is the managing member and owner of Accumera LLC.

Have you started your own business, or are you considering it?

Something that is often overlooked in the exciting and sometimes daunting process of starting your business is that there may be licenses and permits that are required for you to conduct business on a Federal, State and local (city, county, or town) level. The importance of knowing what business license requirements are associated with your venture can be significant.

Certain types of businesses, such as restaurants, construction companies, online businesses or even home-based businesses may have requirements which are very important to understand; but, you may be unfamiliar with in reference to your particular business and location. Requirements can range from a basic business license to operate within a city or county, to a specific permit to sell alcohol or lottery tickets for example.

In the United States, there are over 75,000 Federal, State and local jurisdictions or licensing authorities, each of which, have their own requirements. There are literally thousands of different types of licenses. Knowing how to contact these different jurisdictions and licensing authorities, knowing what their requirements are or what license types one needs can be far from simple, nor is it necessarily easy to obtain information beyond a basic level. In depth research can require extensive time, whether searching online, in-person or over the phone, with multiple government entities.

Worse yet, governing bodies frequently change their license requirements and forms. Licensing authorities may have different timing and recurrence of filing requirements for different licenses. Frankly, understanding the requirements of one business license filing may not apply to other required filings.

Certain business activities have special requirements for business licenses and some seemingly common business events may also cause new unforeseen licensing requirements. Such as, in some states, changing a business name or office location can require an entirely new license.

It is important to note that failure to obtain and maintain all required business licenses or permits could end up being costly. Typically, businesses that fail to do either have to pay fines or penalties. However, authorities could shut down all business activities until all violations have been cleared possibly costing the company both goodwill and financially, or it could threaten the success of the company’s strategic plans if it were to cause delays in acquisitions/mergers, new product and service launches, or even the opening of new locations.

Are you a start up looking for help in forming your entity or interested in setting up your QuickBooks with Expex?  Contact us for assistance, we would love to help!

Special thanks to Mr. Orlando for his expertise on business licensing.  Accumera LLC is headquartered in Albany, NY. Accumera is a company formation, business maintenance and document retrieval service provider providing services in all 50 States and the District of Columbia. Accumera assists small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals worldwide by providing fast, reliable and personal services. At Accumera clients are not just a number… and they promise to provide you with the services to get your business up and running so you can grow your business into a success.
Note: This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide financial, accounting or legal advice.
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