This year, Chief Executive Magazine ranked South Carolina fourth in its annual list of “Best States for Business.” This ranking was based on a survey of CEOs throughout the country, and is our state’s highest ranking to date.
The Secretary of State’s office is the first stop for businesses seeking to incorporate or obtain a certificate of authority to transact business in South Carolina. Most statutorily-required corporate documents are filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. As Secretary of State, my goal is to make South Carolina as business-friendly as possible by continuously improving the business filing process.
Earlier this year, our office launched the Online Business Filings System. This new online service, available at , increases efficiency and improves support for customers by providing a digital method for companies to incorporate, amend, merge, or dissolve a business. Customers can file business documents from the convenience of their home or place of business. Customers also can submit filings and search for and receive copies of corporate documents online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the world. The Online Business Filings System prepares South Carolina for a global economy where business is transacted around the clock. With this and other online services, the Secretary of State’s Office technically is always open for business.
Furthermore, this system greatly improves the speed at which customers can file and receive copies of the more than 75,000 business documents handled by the Secretary of State’s Office every year. Customers no longer need to wait to receive their filed documents in the mail or drive to Columbia to submit a business filing. This accelerated process saves businesses time and money to do more important things such as hiring employees and promoting their products, rather than filing paperwork with government agencies.
Not only does the Online Business Filings System save businesses money, but it saves taxpayers money as well. This system was developed through a partnership with South Carolina Interactive, also known as SC.gov, at no cost to taxpayers. In an age in which online databases can cost in the millions of dollars, I was pleased to work with SC.gov to improve the filing process for businesses and save our taxpayers money at the same time.
As your Secretary of State, I have worked hard to bring the functions of the office into the digital age while maintaining the highest caliber of customer service. The Online Business Filings System is just the next step in meeting these goals. Since the system launched in January, customers have filed over 60% of their business documents online rather than through the mail or in person. This rapid adoption rate and the positive feedback our office has received shows that the Online Business Filing System is an overwhelming success. Moreover, South Carolina is on the forefront nationally of providing online business filing services. We are a small state, but we are far ahead of other states when it comes to providing these services.
South Carolina’s leaders have made a commitment to improving the state’s economy and creating jobs by making South Carolina as business-friendly as possible. These efforts have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by South Carolina’s ranking in the top five of Chief Executive’s 2017 “Best States for Business.” Maintaining a business-friendly environment paves the way for future generations, by attracting great corporate citizens, increasing our knowledge-based economy, and creating opportunities for South Carolina’s growing workforce. The Online Business Filings System is just one more step in making South Carolina a great place to do business.
To access the Online Business Filings System or one of the many other online services offered by the Secretary of State’s Office, please visit our website at www.sos.sc.gov.
Mark Hammond is the Secretary of State for South Carolina