Every year, a notice comes in the mail from our insurance carrier informing us that we're due for an audit of our workers' compensation exposure. If you've been through one of these, you know that it's either a relative breeze or a royal pain, depending on your level of preparedness. We've always had our paperwork more or less in order, but, over the years, we've learned specific ways to minimize the time and money spent on this business essential.

The most important thing you can do to save yourself money at an audit is to be completely prepared: Have your payroll records and all subcontractor certificates ready for review. It may also help to put the auditor at ease if you provide a little hospitality in the form of coffee and a cookie or muffin. If you're nice to him or her, the favor's...

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