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What is a Registered Agent? And Why It Matters to CEOs

A registered agent is your business’s legally designated point of contact to receive service of process and other government documents. If your company is like most, your CFO or general counsel is responsible for ensuring you meet this basic statutory requirement.

As CEO, you should be aware of the broader advantages of selecting and appointing a reliable registered agent. Your registered agent can save you money while protecting your privacy and reputation. And it can make your business more efficient as it grows.

Here’s what you need to know about registered agents—and how to help your executive team make an informed decision.

Registered Agent Basics

In each state where your business registers, you must appoint a registered agent. The agent can be an individual or an entity such as a service company. As long as the agent maintains a physical address and consents to its appointment, you have many options.

Anyone looking to serve you with a lawsuit will do so via the registered agent—and often in person. The registered agent must be available during regular business hours to receive these time-sensitive documents and forward them to your business.

Not all registered agents are alike. A reliable agent will give you (or your legal counsel) enough time to respond. There are a few additional benefits.

Protect Your Privacy

Many businesses choose to appoint the CEO or an officer at their usual business address as the registered agent, often out of perceived convenience.

But, registered agents are a legal, public appointment. Anyone looking to contact your business for any purpose can easily find that individual’s information online in public records.

By appointing a registered agent company, only that company's information is listed, not yours. This limits public access to ownership and management information—in other words, information that can be used to tip off competitors or to solicit your business.

Protect Your Reputation

Take the above example of listing your business address. In this scenario, you face the possibility of receiving a lawsuit in front of employees, management, and clients.

If you don’t have a traditional office, you may have designated your home address. Now imagine being served with a lawsuit in front of your partner and children—-it happens.

Optics matter. As CEO, being served personally can create damage to both your company’s and your own reputation. Registered agent service providers receive legal documents discreetly on your behalf, saving you potential embarrassment.

Improve Efficiency and Grow

Registered agent service companies charge an annual fee to represent your business. Wisely, your CFO will present you with cost-effective options. However, price is only one factor.

The right registered agent provider adds value to your business in many ways, including:

  • Nationwide representation allows your business to meet state requirements as it grows.
  • Documents are delivered securely and electronically, maximizing your time to respond while minimizing risk.
  • Software provides central visibility into all of your entity registrations and sends alerts of key tasks.
  • Additional services to reduce staff time directly handling routine filings.

No one wants to pay more than they have to. Before deciding on price alone, review the true cost of the status quo with your management team. Then, invest in a registered agent solution designed to support your business and its employees for the long term.

About Harbor Compliance

With Harbor Compliance as your registered agent, you benefit from a reliable, local presence in every state. Our nationwide offices receive and scan documents electronically and notify you the same day. We eliminate your need to file change paperwork with state agencies each time you move. Registered agent service includes complimentary access to our award-winning Entity Manager software.

All you need to have ready is your company name, contact information, and where you need service. Online ordering makes it easy to get started.

Have a book of business? Need assistance preparing and filing change of registered agent forms for your organization as an additional service? Contact us to discuss registered agent consolidation today. Check it on our CEO Hacks list too. 

Disclaimer: Harbor Compliance does not provide tax, financial, or legal advice. Use of our services does not create an attorney-client relationship. Harbor Compliance is not acting as your attorney and does not review information you provide to us for legal accuracy or sufficiency.

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This post is a sponsored post courtesy of a contributor to CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of niche blogs for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners. For more information on contributing a featured post contact us.

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