The new year is here. You’ve made your personal resolutions, you’ve created a solid business plan for the next twelve months, but do you have your basic business documents in order? Most business owners don’t. With pending PPP legislation, and almost every state across the country announcing small business funding opportunities, it’s important to have this information at your fingertips. 


Set up an electronic folder in a secure location (online or local) that can be securely shared with necessary individuals or entities. This “data room” can be set up to contain all the necessary information you will need to get a head start. Remember, your EIN (Employer Identification Number) needs to be safeguarded just like your social security number. 


The list is not exhaustive and each lender will have individual requirements (and others are just good to have), but you can begin to collect commonly requested information, including:


  • Copy of Photo ID (drivers license and passport) for all owners who own 20% of the business or more

  • 2019 and 2020 Profit and Loss Statements to show revenue loss during 2020 (if you are applying for PPP2 you will need to prove a 25% revenue reduction for a quarter over the prior year) 

  • 2019 Business Tax Returns

  • Articles of Incorporation / Business Organizational Documents (most States have electronic databases at the Secretary of States website to access copies of Incorporation documents)- but you will want them at the ready so download them and place them in the “data room”

  • Payroll Reports with a list of gross wages paid time off, and taxes assessed for all employees for all 12 months of 2020  

  • 2020 Employer IRS Documents (including one of the following for all 4 quarters of 2020):

    • Form 941: Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

    • Form 944: Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return (for smallest employers) 

    • Form 940: Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return 

    • Form W-3: Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements 

  • Documentation to support Health Insurance and Retirement expenses incurred as a part of payroll expenses (for example a statement from insurance or retirement company)

  • Certificate of Insurance - noting coverage with insurance limits

  • Shareholder consent - If you are borrowing money, all of the shareholders need to consent to the promissory note. This document will be held in your corporate book. 


Regardless if you are applying for pandemic supported aid, having your business documents readily available is important. Someone, somewhere along the line will ask for it and you want to be ready to provide it. The difference could be closing out the process quickly or missing out on much-needed funds for your business.


This article was written in partnership with wiseHer - a technology platform that provides on-demand expert advice for small businesses and women to accelerate their business or career.