ASIC has highlighted the importance of small and medium-sized businesses at the National Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) Conference held in Sydney last Friday.
Commissioner Greg Tanzer spoke on behalf of the regulator and said it will continue to support SMEs in order to further drive the Australian economy.
“At ASIC, our fundamental objective is to maintain, facilitate and improve Australia’s financial system and the businesses that operate within that system, so engaging and supporting, as well as regulating, SMEs that contribute to local economic growth is an integral part of what we do,” he told conference delegates.
“Small business is ASIC’s largest customer. Of all the Australian companies and businesses registered with us, approximately 96 per cent are considered to be small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.”
In his speech, Mr Tanzer said ASIC will support the SME market by enabling a safer and easier process for businesses.
“Since ASIC took over the registration of business names, people now have the ability to register a business name online. In fact, of the 327,000 new business names registered with ASIC in the 2014-15 financial year, all except 36 lodged registered online,” he said.
“This is an example of how we are reducing red tape and making the administration process easier.”
Moving forward, Mr Tanzer said ASIC is looking at implementing a number of key ideas designed specifically to benefit the SME market.
“We are considering introducing live web chat in the coming year, which will increase accessibility and interactivity for our clients, and we have recently introduced data.gov.au to make free data more readily accessible for bulk download,” he said.
“We are continually looking to improve our processes. For example, in the last week, we introduced a new reinstatements estimates tool. This online reinstatement calculator for companies, found on the ASIC website, allows customers to get an indication of how much will be payable to reinstate a company, so that they can decide for themselves whether it’s worth it.
“Finally, as part of the ATO-led Small Business Fix-it Squad, we have enhanced the business names transfer process to make it easier for business owners to buy and sell their businesses, and also provided guidance and resources for people thinking of transitioning their businesses from sole operators to company,” he said.