The formula for a successful business includes an entrepreneurial spirit, passion and creativity, sure. It also includes lots and lots of paperwork. Whether you need to pay vendors or bills, recruit employees or customers, or handle hundreds of other routine business tasks, you'll need to fill out a form to do it.
Essential small business forms include, but are not limited to:
- Contracts, with which to protect the integrity of your agreements
- Templates, from which to build necessary letters and applications
- Statements, with which to track financials
- Documents, in which to record policies and procedures
Start-up small business formsBefore you're even open for business you'll need to fill out forms laying claim to your business name and intellectual property.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Tax formsSmall businesses must file a host of forms with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allowing you to do everything from obtaining an employer identification number (EIN), to paying your employees to claiming business deductions on your income taxes.
IRS. You also can find a complete suite of federal tax forms, along with hundreds of other business forms from the federal government, at Business.gov.
Accounting formsBookkeeping is the backbone of every business; find the right business form for tracking account balances, paying vendors or reporting financials.
HR formsConsidering employment applications, employee appraisals and time-tracking sheets, your personnel department requires its own business form library.
Legal formsA business can never be too careful; protect your company from litigation and investigation with the proper legal documents.
Sales formsControl the chaos that often erupts when you're making sales and moving inventory; the right business form will help you do it.
Use business forms softwareYou can have your own handy library with packaged business forms software.
Get small business forms on paperYour check vendor or office supplies store can also set you up with the full run of any forms you’ll need to fill in with pen or pencil.
- Protect business records by keeping hard copies of business forms in a secure off-site location, in case of theft or natural disaster.
- Keep electronic copies of all your business forms in case you lose or damage the hard copies.
- It's recommended that you retain copies of your business records for a number of years, if not permanently; keep banking records for up to seven years, personnel records for at least five years and taxation or corporate documents indefinitely.
- Depending on your industry — food service, for instance, or medicine — you may need specific business form types; check with your state department of labor to find out what records your company is required to keep, and what forms are available for keeping them.