Working with a Registered Agent

Lauren Mcmenemy

Whether you’re looking to grow your organization beyond local borders, or you’re simply looking for more efficient and streamlined operations within a single entity, it’s likely you’ll consider working with a registered agent at some point.

Many jurisdictions mandate that any entity incorporated in that jurisdiction have a named responsible person available at all times during regular business hours. Given the burden this would place on any single employee, many organizations employ the services of a registered agent to fulfill this role.

The registered agent – sometimes called the resident agent or statutory agent – handles entity documents such as notices for compliance, tax, wage garnishment and corporate filings. They are also the person to whom legal processes are served – if the company is required to provide information for a court case, or if it is being sued, it’s the registered agent that will be notified of the need to cooperate.

A registered agent works with you to handle aspects of entity management such as:

  • Reminding you of any state filings that are due, making sure you stay in compliance
  • Filing documents with the requisite state and local bureaus
  • Keeping a backup of the corporate record, if required

They also give you extra security by providing an address to use as your corporate headquarters. This address will stay open during normal business hours to accept lawsuits and filing documents, meaning you won’t get served in front of customers.

What does a registered agent do for entity management?

Working with a registered agent for entity management means that the organization does not miss any important information that may have to do with lawsuits, taxes, judgments and so on. But the registered agent is more than a mere mailbox – often a paralegal with experience in executive administration, registered agents can take the burden of document retrieval and data searches away from the in-house team.

By taking the registered agent’s role beyond just correspondence, an organization can make use of a trusted partner in entity management, one that gets to know the business inside out and that can anticipate compliance and governance needs.

Working with a registered agent means the burden of some of the more manual and repetitive tasks involved in corporate compliance – from tax filings and annual reports to dealing with regulatory correspondence – is taken away from the in-house team. This then gives the corporate secretary, entity manager and legal operations professionals in-house more time and energy to think more strategically about their roles.

Therefore, working with a registered agent can help an organization take a more proactive and strategic approach to entity management. The in-house team can benefit from the expertise of a third party that’s much more familiar with local regulatory requirements while also building a strong relationship with a partner in compliance and governance.

The registered agent’s entity data handling is an essential part of working with a registered agent, but it also means your organization and in-house legal operations teams need a secure and efficient way of working with third parties. These registered agents have access to confidential corporate information, which means they need to both collaborate transparently and ensure that all the information they have access to is as up to date and real time as it can be.

How to get more streamlined – and more secure – when working with a registered agent

In order for a registered agent to work with your organization on entity management, you’ll need to give them access to the appropriate areas of your corporate record; that is, you’ll need to be able to share documents and information, and you’ll need them to be able to file official reports on your behalf.

The registered agent also needs access to entity documents, such as: officer and director information; employer identification numbers (EIN) in every jurisdiction; the fiscal year-end position; the address of the principal place of business; and your business purpose.

This would bestow a huge amount of responsibility upon your registered agent, so you want to make sure they act both in a transparent way and in such a way that eases the burden on the in-house team to check up on actions.

Working with an outsourced registered agent service could mean that all this important confidential corporate information is duplicated and stored offsite in a way that you have no control over. Every registered agent will have their own procedures and security policies, and these may or may not match your internal standards.

To keep your corporate record as secure as possible, and to ensure there’s no insecure duplicate information floating around, many organizations are turning to cloud-based entity management software as a means of collaboration. Entity management software can also enable a more streamlined way of working with third parties such as a registered agent for entity management; it creates a central repository for entity data that can be accessed from anywhere in the world only by those granted access by HQ.

Registered agents and entity management software

By having a single source of truth for entity data, entity management software such as Diligent Entities helps to ensure that any third parties, such as registered agents, that are trusted with the organization’s confidential corporate information can both complete their duties and do so in a secure, efficient and collaborative manner.

Diligent Entities has a secure integration with CSC for registered agent services, meaning no information is duplicated. The integration enables faster population of validated data and documents; improved data accuracy with ongoing synchronizations; and increased operational efficiency via a single solution for best-in-class services and technology.

If your organization does not use CSC, you can still ensure secure transfer of confidential information via the Diligent secure file-sharing platform – a feature that enables different levels of access permissions ensuring third-party stakeholders only get access to the information they need, and nothing more.

To create a more robust compliance and governance system, Diligent Entities also integrates seamlessly with Diligent Boards and the secure file-sharing portal to create an all-in-one governance ecosystem. The Governance Cloud helps organizations to achieve best-in-class governance by using technology that is both flexible and scalable enough to grow with your business.

Get in touch and request a demo to see how Diligent’s suite of governance and compliance technology can help your organization when working with a registered agent.

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Lauren McMenemy

Experienced journalist Lauren McMenemy has been writing about compliance and governance for several years, and has covered finance, professional services, healthcare, technology, energy and entertainment.