Frequently Asked Questions

All businesses have common issues they need to deal with when starting a new enterprise. These may include registering for an ABN, Business Name or GST to mention just a few.

Below is a series of frequently asked questions that may assist you in starting your new business.

Do I need a business plan?

Preparing a business plan is an essential step in going into business successfully.  It is all the more important when going into business for the first time or going into a business that you dont have experience in.  The most important reason to plan a business is to test the viability of the proposal.  Preparing a business plan forces you to consider, research and document all the key aspects that contribute to a successful business.  A business plan will also be necessary if you are going to borrow money or get others to invest in the business.  If you are going into business with others, the business plan will ensure you and your partners have a mutual understanding of the objectives and strategies.  This will help to provide the basis for a successful partnership.  

The Greater Shepparton Business Centre has available a template to assist you with putting your business plan together.  For more information or to obtain a copy of the business plan template, please contact us.

Do I need an ABN?

An ABN is the key identifying number for your business when dealing with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), government agencies and other organisations. To be entitled to an ABN, you must be either:

  • a company registered under corporate law in Australia
  • a government entity
  • an entity that is carrying on as an enterprise in Australia

You can apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) online at the Australian Business Register website.

Do I need an Accountant?

Obtaining the services of an accountant to assist with your businesses finances can often reduce the stress of running your business.  We have a saying, do what your good at and outsource if possible the rest.  If accounting is not your strength, leave it to your accountant.  This frees up your time for more valuable things like servicing your clients.  You need to be careful when selecting an accountant as this person or firm will in effect become part of your business.  You need to be comfortable enough to ask about different things including all the little questions.  Finding out if your accountant has experience with small businesses will be an asset to you as the accountant will have prior knowledge of small business and will understand the issues you are likely to find yourself with.  Ask friends or family who are in business to recommend someone, or look in the local phone book.  Make appointments to meet them as you will need to work closely with this person or firm.  Another way to source accountants can be through the Certified Practising Accountants of Australia (CPA) website.  This site assists you to find not only accountants but financial planners as well.

Do I need Insurance?

Before choosing an insurance policy you will need to evaluate your business’s insurance needs. Insurance requirements will vary quite a lot depending on the type of business you operate.

Some insurers offer insurance package policies specially tailored to cover your business needs. There are also individual products that may be relevant to the particular nature of your business.

Your industry association may also provide important insurance advice with some associations able to organise insurance packages for their members.

There are three broad types of business insurance:

  • Assets & revenue insurance
  • People insurance
  • Liability insurance

It is always good practice to obtain at least three quotes if possible depending on your specific requirements.  By doing this you are able to compare companies and their policies.

Do I need to register a business name?

The Business Names Act 1962 requires that all businesses trading in Victoria do so under a registered business name.

The exceptions to the Business Names Act 1962 are businesses that operate as a company and businesses that operate under a personal name

A business name is not a legal entity like an individual or corporation and cannot sue, be sued or hold property. It merely registers the name in the public registry - available to the public for a fee - held by Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV). Any disputes over the naming rights are dealt with by legislation or through the legal system, so you should contact your solicitor if you require assistance in such matters.  You can register a business name online or if you prefer download the form from that site, fill it in and send it to Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Do I need to register for GST?

If your business has an annual turnover of $50,000 or more ($100,000 or more if it is a non-profit organisation) then you do need to register for GST.  You must also register for GST if you provide taxi travel as part of your business, regardless of your annual turnover. 

To register for GST you will need to complete an application form. If you wish to apply for an ABN at the same time, then use the same form.

Be aware that you need an Australian Business Number (ABN) to register for GST, as the ABN is part of the GST system.  Your ABN will also be your GST registration number.

You can register for GST online.

What licences and permits do I need?

Depending on the type of business you are looking at you may need a licence or permit to operate.  To find out what licences or permits you may need, you can check with the Business Licence Information Service (BLIS).  BLIS identifies the licences you need for a particular business, from over 780 business types, as well as relevant industry codes of practice.

Contact: Business Centre on 03 5832 1100 or email us for more information.