Potential business requirements

Registering a business name

If your association is going to operate any business component of its activities under its incorporated name, there is no need to register the association's name as a business name.

You will only need to register a business name if the association wants to trade under a different name (including a shortened version of the association name) for part or all of its business.

Having a registered business name does not mean that a group has become incorporated and created a separate legal entity. The two processes are separate.

A registered business name is a trading name under which an organisation, group of people or an individual can conduct their business activities within the state of registration.

An incorporated association will only have one name for the purposes of incorporation, but may conduct its businesses under more than one registered business name (provided business is being carried on under each of those names).

A registered business name cannot be the same name as the name of incorporation.

The business name registration service is managed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

It is possible to search ASIC’s register of business names, and register or renew a business name online. In most cases confirmation of your registration is received instantly. There is also a choice of registering or renewing a national business name for one or three years.

It is important to note that once registered a name cannot be changed. Should changes be required, the association’s existing registered name must be cancelled and a new one applied for at the regular fee.

More information

Contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on telephone 1300 300 630 or visit their website for more information. User guides relating to all services concerning business names are available from ASIC Connect help.

Operating interstate

As incorporated associations are created under State laws, you may encounter problems if your association wants to operate interstate or nationally.  A formal application for registration as a Registered Australian Body can be made to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

If approved, the association will gain recognition outside of Western Australia and be subject to the legal requirements of the Corporations Act 2001 when conducting business interstate.

More information

Contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on telephone 1300 300 630 or visit their website for more information.

Bank signatories

All associations need people who can sign on behalf of the association, set up accounts, sign cheques, etc. even if there is no intention to run a business.  Often these people are members of the management committee.  Sometimes the authorised signatories and signing procedures are nominated in the rules of the association.  If the rules do not cover this, the association needs to resolve who the signatories are and the requirements for signing documents and cheques. 

Usually a combination of 3-4 signatures is agreed upon to provide financial and security safeguards.  The necessary paperwork can then be set up with the bank or credit union.

Decisions regarding accounts and signatures should be properly resolved and recorded in the minutes.  Resolutions are dealt with in Meetings.