Do you know who you are dealing with?

Friday, 01 August 2014


    Greg Tanzer explains how ASIC’s new smartphone application will help SME directors make simple checks before they enter into business transactions with other parties.

    What you see on the surface is not always what you get when it comes to dealing with another business. All directors, regardless of their company’s or business’s size and operations, can benefit from doing their due diligence before they enter into business relationships.

    It is for this reason that the Australian and Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released a new smartphone application – ASIC Business Checks - to help those in business undertake simple checks before they enter into business transactions with another party or to verify information about parties they already deal with.

    Over the past few years, consultation with small to medium enterprises (SMEs) has become a focus for ASIC. It was through this consultation – not only with directors and business owners, but advisers and industry bodies, that we identified the need for a tool that helps businesses undertake some simple steps to minimise their risk of being swindled by unscrupulous operators. 

    Available for smartphones and tablets, ASIC Business Checks encourages directors to:

    • Ask the right questions about the company, business and individuals they are dealing with.
    • Check ASIC’s registers and verify that the information they have been given is true (some good examples of easy checks you can do is confirming whether a company or a business name is registered with ASIC or checking that potential business associates are, in fact, affiliated with a company).
    • Monitor documents lodged by companies by signing up to ASIC’s free Company Alert service.  
    • Seek ASIC’s help if they need more information or the support of a professional business adviser.
    • Report suspected misconduct to ASIC if they believe a company, business or individual is acting unlawfully.

    While no business transaction is risk-free, directors can better protect their interests by taking the time to look into a company, business or individual. Unlike large companies who may have a team of people investigating every facet of a business’ operations, SMEs often do not have the available resources to do the same level of risk management. Invariably, time and resources are tight.

    ASIC Business Checks has been designed to help SME directors do some risk management themselves at a time and place convenient to them.

    It is not a substitute for professional business advice, but providing information that improves how SMEs interact with ASIC is a priority. The initial take-up of ASIC Business Checks locally supports the need for Australian regulators to provide information which is clear, concise and readily found.

    With this in mind, we have also set up a dedicated small business hub on the ASIC website to bring together information that SME directors need to know about ASIC and their obligations in a single place.

    The hub features information on starting and closing a small business, legal requirements for small business operators and one- minute guides on popular topics. 

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