Everything You Wanted to Know About ACN

Most people know that it is necessary for a business operating in Australia to get a unique 11-digit number called ABN from the ATO. This business number helps authorities identify the kind of the business you are running for the purpose of taxation and licensing and it also helps in differentiating your business from its competitors. There is another, equally important number issued by the authorities. It is called Australian Company Number (ACN) and it is only issued to businesses that incorporate as companies.

What is ACN and why is it so important?

For a new company registered in Australia, it is imperative to get ACN from Australian Securities and Investment Commission. If you do not know, a company is a unique entity different from businesses set up as sole trader, partnership, or a trust. How important this number is for those desirous of setting up a company in Australia can be judged by the massive number of searches conducted by the people on ACN Lookup.

Many people wish to confirm the authenticity of the company before doing any business with it. They usually check up the ACN number of the company on ACN lookup facility provided by ASIC Connect. This number can also be checked on the website of Australian Business Number. Anyone can check up the following details about a company through ACN Lookup.

  • Date of registration and current status
  • Office address
  • Names of promoters and directors
  • Other information provided by the company

What do you need – ABN or ACN?

An ACN is a 9-digit unique number that is used by ASIC for the purpose of identification and monitoring of all the companies carrying out business in Australia. ACN is identical to ABN except that ABN has two additional digits in the beginning. All companies running a business will have both ACN as well as ABN. But if you are a sole trader or running a business with a partner, it only needs ABN and not ACN. A company is managed professionally and has a board of directors, and it is the job of ASIC to keep an eye on the activities of a company to make sure the stake holders are not at risk.

You can apply for an ACN when you are planning to set up a business in the form of a company. Before registering, it is important to check whether your proposed name is available with ASIC or not. You must have full knowledge of your roles and responsibilities when setting up a company.


It must be clear by now that all businesses need an ABN. No matter what the nature and size of your business, ABN is must. It is only businesses set up as companies that will need an ACN. Once you have obtained the ABN from ABR, you should move ahead and obtain the ACN from ASIC.

Note: The cost of applying for ACN is reset every year before 1 July according to the consumer price index. You can check the current fee as well as all other information about ACN by paying a visit to https://asic.gov.au/for-business/registering-a-company/steps-to-register-a-company/australian-company-numbers/

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