The Top 5 Questions to Ask When Considering Outsourced Compliance Licensing
Companies in heavily regulated industries are often surprised at the breadth and complexity of their compliance requirements, especially licensing and the tasks related to licensing. After working through the registration or licensing process in their own state, the idea of obtaining and maintaining licensing in every state where they plan to do business may seem overwhelming. It’s typically at this point when a team begins to consider outsourcing their compliance work.
Cornerstone Support was started almost 25 years ago with the singular focus of providing those services for the Collections Industry, but that doesn’t mean using our service is right for everyone. Before you consider outsourcing your compliance work, or if you’re debating whether or not to bring it back in-house, you should ask yourself these five key questions:
How fast do you typically need to get licenses?
- If you’ve got plenty of time (6-12 months) – Typically an in-house solution would work better. If you are not up against any deadlines, your compliance team (or law firm) should be able to find a way to add it in to their schedule, usually being able to get it done in several months depending on state response times and additional work required to complete the applications.
- You typically need them more quickly (less than 6 months) – Cornerstone filed well over 30,000 licenses last year, so when it comes to the licenses that you need, we are filing for those exact licenses for dozens of other clients at the same time. Our average Licensing Specialist has been with us over 7 years, and from that collective experience, our team knows how to file our applications quickly, what regulators will deem minimally sufficient information to approve a license, and how to avoid deficiencies. This allows for industry-leading speed when completing and submitting applications.
How complex is your compliance work?
- Your business plan requires only a single license application – This is rare, and you might want to double-check your requirements, but if you only have a single application / renewal to complete each year, it’s unlikely you will need an outsourced solution in simpler jurisdictions.
- You are operating in multiple states, or you are not sure what compliance components you need for your license – Founded in 1998, Cornerstone’s Compass software was built specifically to manage this complexity. In addition, Cornerstone has built an array of in-house services to assist companies including bonds, registered agents, resident managers, and background screening. We also offer a full line of insurance products (E&O, D&O, General Liability, Cyber, Health, Key Man, etc.) to allow our Specialists to manage your entire compliance portfolio.
How many licenses are you maintaining?
- You maintain 1 or 2 licenses – If you have an experienced team comfortable will obtaining and maintaining your 1-2 licenses and their associated compliance elements (bonds, registered agents, insurance, etc.), it typically will be less expensive to do the work in-house.
- You maintain 3 or more licenses – Using our proprietary software, Cornerstone can provide licensing services for clients with multiple licenses at far less cost than if the work was done in-house or using your law firm. Our Licensing Specialists, in combination with our software, get the job done faster, more efficiently, and more cost-effectively. Most clients find that they cut their compliance costs (labor costs) in half using our service. Additionally, because we are faster, we typically can get you collecting in new jurisdictions far quicker than if you asked your in-house team or law firm to obtain your license. Finally, unlike law firms, we bill by the license, not by the hour. It is in both of our best interests to get your license done right as quickly as possible.
How much time do you have to spend on compliance details?
- You have an additional 3-4 hours a week to spend on licensing compliance work – If you have the additional time, it is always a good idea to gain deep knowledge on industry compliance changes, and you should not outsource.
- You know compliance work is critical, but you do not have significant time to spend keeping up to date with licensing changes – Critical to our success, Cornerstone continually tracks state legislation for potential new laws or regulation changes that impact licensing. As part of our efforts to support the industry, we provide a monthly Legislative Tracker as a valuable tool to keep clients aware of coming changes. Doing this work allows our team to stay ahead of any new changes, ensuring all our internal licensing application checklists are always up to date. This reduces deficiencies and gets our clients licenses done faster. Because we are in contact with nearly every licensing regulator in every state at least once a week, we often learn of upcoming changes or preferences of regulators far faster. Finally, we keep our full team trained at all times, so there is no employee turnover risk, i.e. you never need to worry about losing your in-house licensing expert and training their replacement.
How often do you need to share your licensing portfolio with others?
- You rarely share licensing details with others – If this is true, you won’t need any additional technology needs to share your licensing status, so you wouldn’t need to outsource.
- You often share licensing status updates with Debt Sellers, internal teams, or ownership / leadership – We provide our clients with a state-of-the-art online portal called Compass Online. Compass Online allows you to view all currently held licenses, status updates on licenses in process, and generate reports to share with clients or auditors.
Deciding whether to outsource licensing work or bring in-house your licensing work is always a difficult decision. Beyond the 5 critical questions listed above, there are also strong emotions connected with these types of decisions because it typically leads to changes in roles or headcount. At Cornerstone Support, we have helped thousands of clients through these decisions over the past twenty-four years. Ultimately, we seek to be a trusted partner who you see as another member of your extended team. If you would like to discuss your business plan and see if Cornerstone is a good fit for your business, please click the link below to get the conversation started.