Whether you’re dealing with the everyday pressure of running a business or starting up, ASIC is your business information gateway.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, better known as ASIC, is the financial regulatory body of Australia. ASIC’s job is to enforce and regulate corporate and financial services laws to protect consumers, investors, and creditors. So, what does that mean for small businesses? Let’s take a look.
How ASIC assists small businesses
ASIC provides many resources that can be helpful for small business owners, including information on business names, company structures, fundraising and insolvency. They also have a dedicated Small Business Hub, which contains useful information and advice on a range of topics such as business planning, cash flow management, employee relations and marketing. In addition, ASIC offers free information on issues like crowd-sourced funding, managing money and much more.
ASIC resources for Small Businesses
Many businesses turn to ASIC when they need general advice on:
If you’re starting a new business, one of the first things you’ll need to do is choose a name. You can search ASIC Connect to see if your proposed business name is available. You can try again with a different name or apply to register it if it’s unavailable. But before you decide to start a business and give it a name, you’ll need to check your eligibility.
There are three main categories of company structures in Australia: sole trader, partnership, and company. Each has its pros and cons regarding liability, tax obligations, and admin requirements. The type of company you choose will depend on the size and nature of your business. If you’re unsure, seek more detailed advice from a professional accountant or business adviser.
If you’re looking to raise capital for your business, there are three things you need to know. Firstly you should ensure that you comply with all disclosure obligations under the Corporations Act 2001. Secondly if you’re offering securities (e.g. shares), you will need to hold an Australian Financial Services license unless you qualify for an exemption. And lastly you should be aware of the rules of the unsolicited offer if you’re approaching potential investors directly.
As a small business owner, you must protect your interests when dealing with other businesses. In addition, you must also understand your rights and obligations under Australian Consumer Law and any industry-specific regulations that may apply to your business. For example if you’re a retailer, you must know the requirements for displaying prices, refunds and warranties. And if you’re providing services you need to make sure you have a written contract that sets out the terms and conditions of your services.
Nobody wants to think about their business going bankrupt but it’s essential to have a just-in-case action plan. ASIC provides information on what insolvency is and what options are available to companies in financial distress. They also have a dedicated insolvency practitioner registration system which helps people find registered practitioners in their area.
ASIC also handles complaints about consumer goods and services and financial service providers, which is why it is sometimes called the corporate watchdog. Ultimately, this means if you believe you’ve been misled or mistreated by another company; or if you have concerns about the conduct of a financial services professional, you can report it. ASIC’s role is to protect consumers and investors, promote fair markets and enforce the law.
Best free business information
ASIC’s website is overflowing with helpful information. This blog represents a mere fraction of the resources available to Australian businesses with questions about business law or financial regulations.
Save on accounting fees using ASIC
At Carbon, we believe using ASIC as a business information source will grow your business knowledge and save you money. How?
Self-seeking answers to the basics mean that when you need to consult your accountant, you’ll have targeted questions about your business’s specifics. Consequently, you’ll spend fewer hours with your accountant but get more value for money.
Also, we find that business owners who grow their business knowledge have better strategic conversations with their accountants. As a result, business owners are not just asking for advice but bringing their accountants new ideas to consider – and we love that at Carbon. After all, growing your business with you is our goal.
So, what are you waiting for? Head over to asic.gov.au and start learning!
Need more help?
In the meantime, should you need specialised assistance beyond the ASIC website, our team of professional accountants, bookkeepers, and financial advisers are waiting to help. Just give us a call on 1300 454 174 or fill out our online contact form below.