Starting a Business in Australia

Starting a business in Australia is an undertaking that many ambitious entrepreneurs decide to have a go at these days. Due to this, starting a business in Australia is no longer a long and complicated process. There are several online companies that offer generic legal documents and same day issue of company registration (ACN) with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). In addition to this the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have developed there own online application system where almost anyone can apply for an Australia Business Number (ABN), Tax File Number (TFN), or tax registrations such as GST.

Given this information you could be forgiven for thinking that starting a business in Australia could be quite easy, that’s because it is!! (The only hard thing about starting a business is getting your business to make money!) It just seems difficult because there are several different agencies or commissions that you need to deal with in order to setup your small business.

It when people get to this stage it all begins to seem a little hard and start to ask themselves.

Which agency do I need to apply to first?

What do I need from that agency?

Why do I need it in the first place?

How do I make an application??

After looking into this process it became obvious that the issue didn’t lie with the individual application processes at each professional agency. Most of the applications have detailed help with easy to interpret information throughout the process. The issue lied in tying all the applications together to construct a business. With that in mind below is the order, which any entrepreneur would need to follow when starting a business in Australia.

1) ASIC

Company registration and attain CAN Number

2) ATO

Apply through the ABR website for the following

ABN Number

Tax File number

GST (Maybe)

PAYGW (Maybe)

3) Bank Accounts

You will need your ACN, ABN and TFN to be eligible to open a business bank account. By law all you need is a photocopy or printout of your ACN registration to open a bank account. However depending on the bank and how up to date they are its best just to take all three numbers in to avoid frustration and a second trip to the bank.

4) Insurance

Which insurances you need (if any) will be specific to your business. Some of the more common ones are public liability and workcover insurance.

5) Accounting Systems

Depending on the size of your business you may choose to use a bookkeeper or accountant to look after your books. There are also computer accounting software such as MYOB or Quickbooks that enable you to look after you own books as well as integrating the information with you financial professional as well.

Completing the above 5 steps should generally take you anywhere from a day to a week. The ASIC and ATO registrations should usually be completed within a day, the only thing that will potentially draw the process out to a week is, yep you guessed it, the banks.

The banks can be rather frustrating actually, as mentioned the bank should be happy with a photocopy of your ACN, but sometimes they may want to see the original along with your ABN number and Tax File Number.

I have started two companies and both occasions the bank has treated my case differently. I strongly believe that it just comes down to the individual who serves you on the day. If you are having trouble you can always try another bank!