Most businesses have some level of regulatory compliance. How much you may have depends on where you are located and what type of services you provide.

We all know there are many government rules and regulations. It’s not always easy to figure out what your obligations are and frankly, sometimes it’s not easy for us either! Regulations can come from three areas – well, some of us have four areas – and I’ll explain that in a minute.

The first area is your local government – the county and/or city where you do business. There are usually some permitting requirements, zoning and use restrictions, local business taxes and sometimes some licensing that is done at the local level.

The second area is the state government – the State of Florida has its own set of rules and these usually deal with the licensing of specific professions and rules for particular business activities. There are different departments of the state that handle these – the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Health, and the Florida Department of Revenue – are just to name a few.

The third area is the federal government – the United States Government has the right to regulate interstate commerce and many times that involves regulating certain industries and specific business activities.

The fourth area only applies to some of professional service providers – and that is our industry associations. I say “some of us” because not all professions have industry regulations. My industry, law, has many regulations and they’re specific only to lawyers. The Florida Bar licenses attorneys. Another example is the Florida Board of Professional Engineers which licenses engineers in our state. Even if your profession does not require a “license” or have a formal association, you may belong to industry groups that require its members to follow certain rules.

If you add all of those up, it’s a lot. Small businesses frequently complain about all they need to learn and the lack of public resources to help them. Most of the time the information is freely available. However, finding your specific answer and then understanding the language of the rules – well that’s a different story.

If you need help with locating and translating your specific requirements, call us at 904.860.3111 or visit our website at TheLegalDepartment.LAW.