Over the many years of advising clients, business partners and presenting at various seminars in relation to business licenses, setting-up a new business or buying a business, one service that very few people (including lawyers!) are aware of is an excellent online service provided by the federal government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, known as the “Australian Business Licence and Information Service” (ABLIS) https://ablis.business.gov.au
Furthermore, the ABLIS website has been recently updated with a better user interface, so we highly recommend that you at least put your relevant details into the system and see all the reports, documents and information it can provide for you.
I recommend ABLIS as a good starting point to check-out for any start-up, business owner, prospective buyer or advisor.
Of course ABLIS is not foolproof and comes with relevant disclaimers. It is also by no means a substitute for also obtaining appropriate professional legal, accounting and insurance advice. However it does provide a very useful range of publicly available (and usually, most–current) licensing information, compliance data as well as requisite forms and documents relevant to your business, its industry/profession and locale.
For example whenever you may be considering buying an established business it is vital that you, the prospective business owner, examine the business in detail and understand what its current licensing and related regulatory requirements are. This is part of the process known as ‘due diligence’.
- Due diligence is generally conducted after the buyer and seller have agreed in principle to a deal, but before a binding agreement is signed (and this includes any offers to purchase, term sheets, heads of agreements and information memorandums – note: all which can also be binding contracts if not correctly drafted!).
- Conducting due diligence is the best way for you to assess the value of a business and the risks associated with buying it. Due diligence gives you access to important and confidential information about a business, often within a time period specified in any agreements.
- With this information you can assess the business’ legal & financial position and identify risks and ongoing potential. It is your chance to answer any pertinent questions you might have about the business.
- The due diligence process assists with minimising the risks, ensuring proper compliance and get good value for the business. If the contract and due diligence are done properly, it can be the difference between buying a business that makes you money and buying a business that costs you money.
As experienced legal and business advisors, Balfour Meagher can help you with understanding all of ABLIS’ relevant information and reports as well as advising you with any business licenses and structuring, preparation for sale/purchase agreements, due diligence and business settlements.
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