The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is an independent Australian government body that serves as a regulator for Australia’s markets, corporations, financial services sector and consumer credit. Its core areas of responsibility include corporate governance, securities and derivatives, insurance, consumer protection and financial literacy. Established in 1998, ASIC aims to enforce and regulate corporate and financial services laws to protect Australian investors, consumers and creditors. All entities that intend to establish a business in Australia must first register their business with ASIC. In addition, business entities must file their annual review reports and their annual lodgment fee with ASIC.
ASIC also maintains Australia’s company and business names registers. When a business entity initially establishes its presence in Australia, it must submit the following information to ASIC: business name and Australian Business Number (ABN), any past names of the business, type of company or organization, date on which it was registered, location of registered office, former addresses, any professional licenses or registrations that may apply, and details about directors, past and present. This information is stored and made available to the public via a searchable online database.
The following organization types are required to lodge financial reports with ASIC:
- All disclosing entities
- All public companies
- Companies limited by guarantee
- All larger proprietary companies
- All registered schemes
- Small-proprietary companies that are foreign owned
- Registered foreign companies
The laws administered by ASIC give it both regulatory and enforcement powers. Its overview extends to the following activities:
- Register companies and manage investment schemes
- Grant Australian financial services and credit licenses
- Register auditors and liquidators
- Maintain publicly accessible registers of information about companies, financial service licensees and credit licensees
- Make regulations to enforce the integrity of financial markets
- Stop the issue of financial products under defective or fraudulent disclosure documents
- Investigate suspected breaches of financial law or noncompliance
- Issue infringement notices in relation to alleged breaches of select laws
- Ban offending citizenry from engaging in credit activities or providing financial services
In order to facilitate all of its various functions, ASIC provides online services for its users. While not all documents and functions are available in electronic form, ASIC has many of its most popular documents available on its website, and plans to continue increasing its digital capabilities in the future. The move to increased electronic filing is bolstered by the many benefits digital documentation brings to both ASIC and its users. These include speed, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and security.
Faster Filing From Anywhere
The most obvious advantage to electronic filing is the radically increased speed at which companies and organizations can process their registration or annual reports. The tedious task of manually filing the appropriate forms is now streamlined by the ASIC website, which provides the necessary documentation for many of the agency’s most frequent functions. Amendments to electronic forms can be made easily, and each form is archived for up to 90 days on the ASIC website. Compare this process to that of years past, when each form had to be requested and filed by post. The process of gathering together all the necessary information and documents was both tedious and time-consuming. Users no longer have to worry about delays in the post or dealing with delivery services. Now, filing can be done anytime, from anywhere in the world. This is especially convenient for business located outside of Australia or individual business owners who are often on the move. Faster filing times not only saves the company time and effort, it can also mean the difference between an on-time filing and having to pay a late fee.
Improved Efficiency Through Electronic Filing
The speed of electronic filing has created a ripple effect that can improve the overall workflow of an organization. Because many of the online forms can take advantage of standardization and automation, users see a dramatic reduction in the number of input errors. Left uncorrected, mistakes such as these could jeopardize the legitimacy of the report. ASIC’s online help reduces the time, cost and effort required to go back and amend those reports. In addition, automatic check-ins help users avoid the omission errors that, in the past, often delayed paper filing. ASIC provides alerts reminding users of upcoming deadlines, helping them stay on schedule and avoid the penalties associated with late filing.
The online services ASIC provides through its website is offered free of charge. This free access does away with all of the costs associated with antiquated paper and post filing. Users no longer need to spend money on postage, delivery services or stationery, nor need they pay for the time and effort required to produce cover letters or supporting documents.
Secure, Reliable Delivery
In years past, the process of paper filing left organizations vulnerable to theft and fraud. Information sabotage, document tampering and other vagaries of postal delivery services placed companies’ sensitive financial information in danger. Electronic filing offers a safe, secure alternative to the paper post, one you can count on to deliver your organization’s financial data. Electronic filing also allows users to verify the delivery of each filing, providing users with peace of mind, knowing their files are complete and up-to-date.
ASIC helps safeguard users’ filings through its electronic password system, ASIC key. ASIC key is a unique number issued by the ASIC online service. This number assures that only authorized users have access to the company filing. In addition to using the ASIC key system, ASIC makes every effort to safeguard against cyber-attacks or other forms of data piracy. ASIC uses state-of-the-art encryption and cybersecurity measures to provide a virtual stronghold for any sensitive company information.
As the business world becomes more and more reliant on digital technology, regulatory organizations are trying to keep pace with rapid changes. The online services ASIC offers provide users with a fast, cheap, secure alternative to the traditional process of paper filing. If you have further questions about registering with ASIC, contact a Blueprint representative for more information.