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Ready for Downsizing? Consider Your 3rd Party Business License Options

Andrea Jaffe is VP Operations for Licensing at Business Licenses, LLC. Eric Feigenbaum is Director of Business Development at Business Licenses, LLC. Alan Ruttenberg is Marketing Director at Business Licenses, LLC. They recently met to discuss how departments that manage business licenses are coping with potential downsizing during the COVID-19 induced recession. The entire conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.

Alan: Eric, you’ve had so many conversations in recent days with companies that are dealing with downsizing. What have you been hearing?

Eric: Well, the obvious context is that the COVID-19 lockdowns are showing up in the bottom line of many companies and that makes downsizing an omnipresent threat in the lives of a lot of tax, accounting, and legal departments. That means a lot of them are trying to figure out how to handle their compliance with fewer people. And the people who remain are people who’ve never been on the front lines of this before. Many of them are high-level managers who are being saddled with the responsibility that used to be delegated elsewhere. Now they own a set of issues about which they know very little to nothing.

Alan: I think the simplified story goes like this: You used to have a certain number of people in your tax department and now you’ve laid off 50% of them and so everybody has to do twice as much work to get by. That’s part of it, but there’s something else going on that’s harder to put a finger on. My contention is that business licensing is not like other tax, accounting, or legal issues since it’s so idiosyncratic. When you downsize and are now without the person who handles business licenses, you’re losing that person’s unique knowledge which they didn’t acquire from a degree program (like an accountant) or a formal certification (like an attorney). It came from trial-and-error. It came from experience with your company’s unique use case. It’s not replaceable in the same way.

Andrea: I think you lose knowledge in a couple of categories. There’s internal knowledge of process/workflow and there’s the understanding of laws and regulations, which isn’t the same as what an attorney deals with in legal cases and liabilities. And then there’s also the loss of a lot of the idiosyncratic rules and processes that various government agencies require in their licensing. In other words, New York doesn’t handle business license applications the same way that Tampa handles business license applications. All of that knowledge gets wiped away when the person who handles business licenses is forced to depart.


The rest of this interview can be downloaded using the form on the right.