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How to Pass Any State Exam

Our ultimate goal with our MSB community is to be a resourceful partner in compliance. We want to see you succeed and see your customers succeed. In this article we’ll cover the very important topic of passing a state exam or an audit. We want to help you understand how to approach it and steps you can take to be successful.

Be Organized

This may seem at first like the simplest approach, but we see MSBs everyday who don’t have their business and paperwork in order. They don’t have foundational systems in which they run their business and it shows in their disorganization. Most of the time not having a formal process that your team can work from begins to disrupt all kinds of other aspects of your business. 

Making the choice to get organized is of high value when it comes to passing any state exam or audit. Knowing you can put your hands on any documents that are requested is a good feeling and excellent way to know what is happening at any time in your business. Scrambling last minute to find information usually results in undue stress on you and your team and inevitably creates bigger problems as one event leads to another.

Be Aware of What’s Required

The great part of any state exam or audit is that it is not a mystery. Everything that is required of you is available online. If you want to build a process around a successful exam, take a look at the appropriate resources and prepare accordingly. 

Below is the link to the FinCEN MSB Exam manual. This is what FinCEN uses when conducting an exam on a MSB. Studying this document is like getting a copy of the test before you take it.

There are all the resources you need to comply with the agency who will be examining your business. The bottomline is that you and your team just have to do the front end work of studying them so you can organize your process around them.

Be Respectful

Having helped many MSBs for many years, we’ve seen the potential for some of them to not respect the position or authority of the examiner and the role they play in keeping the industry regulated. As an MSB, it is important for you to do your part in complying with the regulators. 

Regulators are just normal people that put on their pants on one leg at a time, just like we do. So treating them with respect and not having a confrontational relationship with them typically leads to them not making you have a bad day. This is very similar to your interaction with a police officer. When you get pulled over, it’s better to just cooperate with their requests (license, registration etc) rather than being disrespectful.

In summary, our best advice is to do the right thing every day. Then it’s not going to feel like you’ve got two years worth of weight on your shoulders trying to get ready for an exam. 

If you would like more information on this topic or any topic that is related to running a successfully compliant business, reach out to our BSA team at

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