This is a guest post by Christian Haring of Harbor Compliance
If you’re like me, when it comes to things like growing your business and expanding your capabilities, your go-to position is, “Yes, we can!” It’s part of the sales personality: we think positive. Yet too much of that can-do, climb-every-mountain spirit can sap your teams, and eventually you’ll see the evidence in numbers like sales, utilization rates, and overhead burden.
One of the best ways to improve your numbers is to focus your firm’s finite time and resources on what you do best. Knowing what to outsource, and when, is a key part of that equation for firms of all sizes.
Many firms we speak to are unaware that they can outsource business licensing and entity management. In fact, firms that outsource these functions to us routinely enjoy returns of 30X and up. How? Let me walk you through the factors and how they relate to AEC firms.
Licensing is not core to your capabilities and mission
To manage firm licensing (certificates of authorization) and entity matters efficiently requires staying on top of ever-changing state requirements and being familiar with conditions on the ground at a particular agency or licensing board. Information available on government websites is not always complete or up to date. Specialists who work with these authorities daily know what’s happening and how to position applications for fast approval. Non-specialists who handle these filings are at the mercy of the system, as evidenced by the fact that four out of five initial applications are being rejected in some jurisdictions.
Licensing work is not steady or predictable
License renewals, annual reports, and other corporate filings are sporadic by nature. In one state, your firm license might renew on the anniversary of your initial license date; and in others, renewals might come due biennially for all firms on a fixed calendar date. In some states, annual reports are due every five years! There’s no efficient way for a staff member to track and manage these tasks without appropriate tools and support.
Dedicated software is critical
A full-service solution founded on purpose-built compliance software allows firms to ensure timely filings and safeguard good standing without eating into your staff’s precious time and focus. Software that integrates with secretary of state databases nationwide allows your teams to access documents instantly, track the statuses of licenses in real time, and share information among teams.
Risks are substantial
In addition to ensuring accurate, timely filings and saving staff hours spent on government paperwork, outsourcing can eliminate substantial financial risks to your firm. A single lapsed license or missed filing can result in fines, suspensions, and even criminal charges. This can easily get you to five figures on a single violation.
Time is money
In addition to the direct costs of an error or lapse, licensing is the key to unlocking business opportunities for your firm, and that is by far the most compelling case I can make for outsourcing your licensing to a specialist. Nearly every large firm we speak to can recount The One That Got Away, a massive opportunity they identified but couldn’t get licensed in time to pursue.
Outsourcing to a team of specialists who do this work day in and day out ensures that your licenses and registrations are on the fast track to approval. It gives you the intel and capabilities to get there first and plant your flag. This is serious fuel for your business development team.
Focus on the right climb.
While it’s great to bring your A-game to every challenge, sometimes it’s equally important to know when to say no, jettison baggage, focus your limited time and energy, and leave some mountains unclimbed. When it comes to government paperwork, it’s a pretty easy choice. Lose the dead weight, focus on what you came here to do, and fuel your teams to reach the top.
Harbor Compliance is not an accounting or law firm and does not provide tax, financial, or legal advice.
About Christian Haring
Christian Haring is an Account Executive at Harbor Compliance, specializing in professional licensing for engineering, architecture, and construction firms. With a focus on mid-sized and large firms, Christian understands the need for precision and clarity in managing multi-jurisdictional licensing. Christian’s core focus is providing compliance as a growth enabler for his clients. He is available to answer your questions at 1-717-298-8128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on about your licensing and registrations.
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success