Where Does My Company Name And ACN Have To Be Displayed?
Displaying your company name is more than just good promotion, it can be a legal requirement. Read about when you must display your company name and ACN.
Running a company involves a number of responsibilities. One of those responsibilities pertains to the appropriate display of certain information. An integral part of any documentation involving your company will oftentimes involve either the company name, the ACN (Australian Company Number), or both. Knowing when and where your company name and ACN should be displayed should be a priority. Accordingly, we have provided an overview of these important requirements for you below.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission outlines the following instances where an ACN must be displayed:
- All documents lodged with ASIC
- Statements of account, including invoices and quotes
- Receipts, but only if written or not generated by machine
- Business letterheads
- Official company notices
- Cheques, promissory notes and bills of exchange
- Written advertisements with specific offers and tenders
- Orders for goods and services
- Websites should display ACN and company names where specific offers exist. However, this depends on the nature of the content of the website.
- Additionally, given websites must contain terms and conditions, this official document would require it
Knowing when to display these details is one thing. However, the way they read is just as important. When displayed, the ACN must meet the following format criteria:
- A company’s name and ACN must appear on the first page of any documents, but not necessarily thereafter
- When multiple companies are on a document, the ACN for each company must be displayed next to each company’s name. It must be obvious as to which ACN relates to which company
- It must be clear and easy to read
- The ACN may be referred to either as ‘ACN’, ‘A.C.N.’ or ‘Australian Company Number’
- There are no font or size regulations so long as it is legible and meets other formatting requirements
If a company has an Australian Business Number affixed to it, it may also be used in place of the ACN. Your business ABN will include the ACN. Whilst these two numbers may appear similar and can be interchangeable sometimes, knowing the difference is important.
A common seal can be used for when a company executes documents under its constitution. However, not all companies have a common seal as it is not compulsory. In the event that a company does have a common seal, it must include both the company name and the ACN wherever it is used or displayed.
Where it is not required
There are no laws prohibiting the display of your company name and ACN. The only instances where you may not wish to display these may pertain to privacy. Another exception is where a company does not have any authority to attribute its ACN to a document. For example, the document of another company. This is, nonetheless, obvious. However, there can be some grey area that may generate some uncertainty. Therefore, knowing when and where it is not necessary to display these details may also be of some help to you. Displaying the company name and ACN is not required in the following instances:
- Packaging and labelling, including envelopes and transport documents
- Advertisements which do not make a specific offer. For example, if the ad just relates to general promotion of the company
- Credit cards and credit card vouchers
- Machine-generated receipts, including cash-register receipts
- Business cards or flyers, provided the flyers do not make specific offers
- Items which are not documents, like vehicles, stationary, building signposts/plaques, office signage
As you can see, there is a lot of detail to consider. Sifting through all this information can take time. It may be time you do not have when you need it most. If you are in a hurry to supply a document, and are unsure of the requirements, it can stifle the productivity of your business. Therefore, it is best practice to familiarise yourself with all administrative requirements. The attention to detail in these instances can be the difference between a document fulfilling its purpose, or failing you. The law is full of technicalities and pedantry which is likely to undermine your interests unless you adhere to protocol. A company lawyer can help you cross the t’s and dot those i’s. It is best to seek their help if required.
Paul is an intern at Lawpath, and is currently studying a combined Arts/Laws degree with a major in criminology at Macquarie University. Paul has an interest in legal tech, which complements his broader interest in cyber crime/security and the way in which it is changing the world.