Business owners: business liability/audit checklist

Chad William Koplien

Written by

Government Attorney

Contributor Level 13

Posted about 6 years ago. 56 helpful votes



Intellectual property protection

___ Do you need or do you have valid Copyright/rademarks? Assess if you require formal protection for your intellectual property. ___ Do you need confidentiality, nondisclosure and noncompete agreements for employees, vendors and/or customers? ___ Could you be infringing the intellectual property rights of others? (e.g., do you have permission from the owner of each picture on your business website).


Employment laws and lawsuits

___ Do you know the right and wrong questions to ask job applicants interviewing for a position in your business? ___ Do you have appropriate work-place policies in place (e.g., computer and email use; non-discrimination; workers' comp; supervision; drug use; office romance; termination etc.) ___ Do you have working knowledge on your state and federal anti-discrimination laws and are you in compliance with your treatment of employees in the work place?


Contracts and agreements

___ Do you have signed copies (or originals) of all agreements with customers, clients, vendors, etc.? ___ Are any of your agreements verbal? (Tip: in today's society the handshake is too risky. Reduce all agreements into writing with signatures). ___ Do you have customized agreements drafted by an attorney for use in your business for its specific product or service? (Tips: your agreements should have a venue/choice of law clause which states that disputes under the agreement are to be filed in the circuit court in the county where your business is located. You should also make sure that your agreements have a collection clause that provides that in the event of a breach, the prevailing party is entitled to reimbursement for attorneys' fees and costs). ___ Do you have a working knowledge of the obligations and risks under all contracts which you have signed on behalf of your business?


Laws possibly affecting your business

___ Do you have a working knowledge of all specific state and federal laws which might impact your business in addition to those mentioned above? (e.g., DNR and environmental regulations; consumer protection ( ATCP A? 110); advertising (Wis.Stat. A? 100.18); employment (Work comp, FMLA, ERISA, FCRA, FACTA, HIPAA, etc.); product liability; corporate and tax; and real estate, etc.)


Corporate formalities

___ Are you in compliance with all statutory corporate formality requirements? If your business is existing as a coporation, LLC or other non-sole proprietorship formation, there may be specific formalities and annual filings which you need to ensure are up-to-date. A consequence of non-compliance is that you may lose the limitation of liability protection that these corporate formations afford.


Check your insurance policies

___ Have you met with your insurance agent recently to evaluate the effectiveness of your business insurance as it relates to your specific industry?


Monitor your cashflow

___ Meet with your banker on a semi-annual basis to discuss business cashflow and other financial matters. A good banker has years of experience which can accrue to your benefit.

Additional Resources

A good business lawyer can discuss these issues with you and provide cost-effective solutions. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Conduct an Internet search for additional articles and information on these issues.

Business insurance checkup

Assessing business risk

Insulate your business from liability

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