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LARA's Corporations Filing System Wins International Innovation Award

Program allows staff to process filings faster, cutting red tape and saving 800,000 business customers time and money

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280

May 8, 2018 - LARA’s Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau (CSCL) has been named one of three recipients of the 2018 International Association of Commercial Administrators (IACA) Merit Award for the development and implementation of its Corporations Online Filing System (COFS). The new state-of-the art software program has cut the red tape for more than 800,000 business customers in the state.  

CSCL Director Julia Dale explained that the modernized system has drastically improved LARA’s previous business filing system with many new online capabilities. Namely, COFS allows businesses to submit documents and annual filings online, pay filing fees electronically, and order certificates and certified copies online, generating faster results for business entities and customers. COFS also provides expanded search functionality of the Corporations Division’s database.

“The end-goal of making it so much easier for our customers to do business with the state kept us focused on replacing the old electronic database first established in 1979,” said Dale.  “We are excited and humbled to win this award that recognizes our efforts.”

At the time CSCL submitted its award-winning application for consideration, COFS had been operational for only four short months. The application outlined COFS’ new system functionality, citing measurable impact in the four months since its implementation.  By the numbers at that time, CSCL most notably:

  • Received 63,430 documents and processed 59,416; almost 5,500 more documents than CSCL received over the same period in 2016-17.
  • Received 234,224 annual statements and filed 191,988, of those119,338 were filed online.  105,751 more annual statements
  • Received and processed 10,461 certificates of good standing online; a functionality previously unavailable.
  • Processed 12,904 orders utilizing a functionality that previously did not exist.
  • More than 75 percent of the 6.098 orders for certified copies were delivered electronically via email.
  • Received 21,123 expedited requests since implementing COFS.

Implementation of the new system involved migrating the Corporations Division’s entire database to COFS. That is, moving the approximately two million records and 13 million images in the old database so that all existing business information and filed documents would be available in the new system. Further, the Corporations Division’s Business Entity Search site (one of the highest hit websites within the State of Michigan with more than 20 million-page views a year) provided not only an outdated, but also limited, online view of an entity’s record. The system also consistently crashed.

Each year, IACA honors member jurisdictions they have developed innovation through the implementation of a new or improved product or service to share their innovation. Amid stiff competition, LARA’s application for the award was among the top three in cumulative scores for innovation, creativity and forward thinking, based on the following evaluation criteria:

  • Effectiveness (40 percent) -- improved responsiveness to customers; integrity of the public record and productivity.
  • Originality (30 percent) -- how the change significantly improved service delivery; and if the change introduced a substantially new technology or service concept.
  • Significance and Transferability (20 percent) – how the change successfully addressed an important issue or problem, will increase in significance over time; and serve as a model for others.
  • Lessons Learned (10 percent) -- what unexpected issues arose; what would be done differently and what advice would be offered to others considering a similar change.

“Installation of the COFS system is the latest example of how LARA has made upgrading our IT systems a priority to better serve our business customers,” said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. “For the last several years we’ve overhauled our decades-old IT systems with state of the art technology, including MAPS and MiPlus in the Bureau of Professional Licensing; AIMS in the Liquor Control Commission; and the Accela platform in many bureaus throughout LARA.”

Edgerton and Dale accepted the award on May 7, at the 41st Annual IACA Conference in Charlotte, NC. This year’s theme “Flying into the Future” focuses on best practices that make moving into the future easier. Dale delivered a brief presentation of COFS.

CSCL’s Corporations Division administers statutes related to the formation, life, and dissolution of Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships, and for foreign entities to obtain a certificate of authority to transact business in the state. If a person desires to form one of these entities or qualify an existing entity to transact business or conduct affairs in Michigan they must submit the appropriate documents to the Corporations Division.

The IACA is a professional association for government administrators of business organization and secured transaction record systems at the state, provincial, territorial, and national level in any jurisdiction which has or anticipates development of such systems.

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