The Australian business landscape is on the brink of a significant change, as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) takes steps to phase out trading names from the Australian Business Register (ABR).

This transition is part of a broader initiative aimed at simplifying business registrations and enhancing transparency within the Australian business environment.

The process of moving away from trading names has been underway for several years. Since 28 May 2012, the ABR has ceased collecting and updating trading names, shifting its focus toward the registration of business names.

What is the difference?

The difference between trading and business names lies in their legal status and registration requirements.

A ‘trading name’ is an unregistered name used by businesses to conduct activities; it is not a legal entity and is not registered with ASIC.

In contrast, a ‘business name’ is the official name under which a business operates, which can be the same as its legal entity name or different. A business name must be registered with ASIC. This involves a formal application process, including checking for name availability and paying registration fees.

Implications for Businesses

The consequences of this transition are substantial for businesses that rely solely on their trading name. Starting from 1 November 2023, the ABN Lookup, a crucial resource for individuals and businesses seeking specific Australian Business Numbers (ABNs), will exclusively feature registered business names and no longer display trading names.

This means that any business still operating solely under a trading name after 31 October 2023 will encounter challenges. As a result, prospective clients or partners conducting searches on the ABN Lookup will only see registered business names. Businesses operating without a registered business name will therefore risk losing the credibility that comes from being visible on the ABN Lookup.

Take Action Now by Registering a Business Name

It is imperative to act promptly to ensure that your business has a registered business name by the end of October. If you need assistance with registering a business name for your enterprise, please do not hesitate to reach out to Daniel Morgan and the Business & Financial Team at M+E today!

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