Register your company


Before registering as a company

Find out more about setting up and running a company, before you decide to register as a company.  A company has different legal, financial and record keeping responsibilities compared to other structures.

Read our topic on the differences between a sole trader and a company for more information on directors’ responsibilities, your potential personal liability and the tax obligations of a company.

Company names

One of the benefits to registering as a company is being able to register a company name. With a company name you have the advantage of holding exclusive rights to that name in Australia, without having to register in each state.

You can only choose a company name not already registered to a company or business. Special approval is also required to use certain words in your company name. Check out ASIC’s Restricted words in company/body corporate names External Sitepage to learn more.

If your company carries on business in a name different to your registered company name, then you must register the business name.

Your business name does not protect your intellectual property or brand. Understand the differences between abusiness name and a trade mark before deciding whether to register a trade mark.

What’s an Australian Company Number (ACN)?

An ACN is a unique nine-digit number that every company in Australia has.

ACNs are managed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Do I need an ACN?

If your business is a company, then you’ll need an ACN. By law, an ACN must be shown on a number of documents, including:

  • accounting statements, such as invoices
  • any documents you lodge with ASIC
  • receipts (if they’re not machine generated, e.g. from a cash register)
  • orders for goods and services
  • business letterheads
  • official company notices
  • cheques, or any documents that represent a legal amount of payment
  • written ads making a specific offer that can be accepted (such as by completing an order form).

If your company also registers for an ABN, then your ACN will form part of your ABN. In these cases, you won’t need to display your ACN if your documents already display your ABN and company name.

For reasons why you may like to register an ABN for your company, check out our article on Australian Business Numbers.

How do I register for an ACN?

You are automatically given an ACN when you register a company with ASIC.

To find out more, read How to start a company External Site on the ASIC website. 

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