Q&A with Larry Parman
Oklahoma secretary of state's office helps establish businesses
Q: How does the secretary of state's office serve the general public and the business community?
A: Our office administers a variety of filings required to legally set up a business in Oklahoma. We process and record filings for both foreign and domestic business entities such as corporations, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, trade names, partnership fictitious names, trademarks, charitable organizations, notaries, agriculture liens, mergers, entity conversions and amendments to those entities that may be required by a change in circumstances for the entity.
Q: What steps should a customer take before contacting the secretary of state's office?
A: Preparation will make your registration go much better and faster, so complete these three steps before you contact our office. First, make sure the name of your business is available. Names may be searched on our website, www.sos.ok.gov, or you may call the office at 522-2520 and request a name availability search. Names may be reserved for a period of 60 days for $10. Second, decide the entity type you will be using — typically a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). Third, learn whether or not licenses are required to conduct business in Oklahoma for the specific type of business being registered. For example, roofers must get licenses from the Construction Industries Board; accountants must obtain licenses from the Accountancy Board, attorneys have to be licensed, and so forth.
Q: What options do business owners have to complete a filing with the secretary of state's office?
A: You may file online at www.sos.ok.gov or in our office at the state Capitol. Some customers register by mail, and a few fax their registration to 521-3771. Our address is: Oklahoma Secretary of State, 2300 N Lincoln Blvd., Room 101, Oklahoma City, OK 3105-4897. Before you attempt to complete a filing, be sure you have taken the steps described above.
Q: What are the greatest challenges the secretary of state's office faces when serving business customers?
A: Most issues occur because customers are not prepared to answer the questions about entity type mentioned before, or they have a difficult time navigating our website. Customers can assure themselves of the best possible service by securing their entity name and type before contacting our office. We are often very busy helping other customers, either at our front desk or on the phone. People sometimes have to wait for what seems a long time. Customers may get frustrated when they try to register before having all the questions answered, and their filing is rejected. The secretary of state's office serves the state solely in a registration and filing capacity. We cannot provide legal or tax advice.
Q: What steps are being taken to improve the quality of service in the secretary's office?
A: First, we have a great team with a great attitude and strong skills. Second, we are working to improve our website's appearance and functionality, making it more user-friendly and effective. Third, we are committed to constantly improving our internal and external processes. Lastly, we are exploring the idea of creating concierge service for our customers. When you come into our office you'll be greeted by a friendly professional who will help you complete your filing on a tablet. It will be scanned wirelessly into our system and immediately processed so your registration documents are returned to you as soon as possible.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER