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Starting a Business?

A new business is something that you never rush into. You need to do your research and determine that this new business is what you want to do. Once you have done that, then what?

For purposes of this example, we're assuming that you will start a corporation. If you decide to create a partnership or LLC, the process is very similar.  For the sake of this example, we will assume  you're going to open your business in the State of Texas. The process would be similar in other states. The decisions you make upfront are extremely important. In addition, these decisions can be permanent and unchangable.

Now for the legalese. I am a CPA and I recommend you consult with an attorney when starting your business.So, nothing in this is intended to be practicing law. I know a friendly attorney that can help you.

So, here is a checklist to help you with the process.

1 - Meet with your CPA (hopefully, me) to determine which form of organization is the best fit for you.

2 - Consult with an attorney (I can refer one to you, if you so desire)

3 - Determine several possible names for your new entity.

4 - Have a search performed with the Texas Secretary of State's office to see if the name you want is available. It is important to do this step BEFORE you start filling out or filing any paperwork or licensing because the name you want to use MAY BE UNAVAILABLE and thus everything you did may be wasted. Trust me, I have seen this many times.

5 - Once you find an acceptable name, then you need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. 

A common error I find is that the new corporation issues all of the stock available to it to the initial owners. If you later desire to bring someone in, you will need to amend your articles of incorporation; which is a waste of money. So, you need to have additional shares available for later use. Again, consult with an attorney regarding this and other matters regarding the articles of incorporation. Also, we recommend that you adopt the provisions of a "Close Corporation". Sounds repetitive but once again, we recommend that you consult an attorney to find out more information on this provision but it helps eliminate many of the complexities of being a corporation.

6 - Now you can obtain a federal identification number by going online at and filling out the form. Please let me check it before you go final with it.

7 - Once you receive your articles of incorporation back from the state, then you need to fund your corporation. A minimum of $1,000 of cash and/or property and/or services need to be contributed to your new corporation. BE CAREFUL, THE CONTRIBUTION OF SERVICES IS A TAXABLE EVENT!!!

8 - You can now open your bank account. and we can recommend a credit union that offers a no cost commercial accounts designed for small businesses.

9 - Prepare Form 2553 to make an election to be treated as an S Corporation, if so advised.

10 - Complete a sales tax permit application if your product or service is subject to sales tax.

 - Complete a status report for the Texas Workforce Commission.

 - Consider how you are going to prepare payroll. I strongly recommend the use of a payroll service - to me it is relatively cheap insurance. We can prepare the payroll if you so desire through our alliances with  ADP and Paychex Payroll Services. 

 - Consider how you are going to record your accounting transactions. We can help you set up and train you on the use of Quickbooks (including the Online version).

14 - Consider your need for insurance. Depending on your circumstances, you may need property insurance, liability insurance, auto insurance (or a rider to your personal property), officer's insurance, etc. Through my network of businesses, I can recommend an insurance agent for your company.

 - Open the doors and provide your service or sell your products to the public.