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© iStockphoto.com/Dušan Janković

Sarah Bartholomeusz*

ARE YOU COMPLIANT? Legislation and regulations change throughout the year and these have an impact on your business. Perhaps your company took on more employees or has a higher turnover? These are excellent indicators of growth and success but they also have the potential to attract new legal obligations.

T

his article features a list of commonly overlooked legal issues you should review to ensure that your company is compliant.

porations. ASIC imposes heavy penalties for failure to comply with listing requirements and disclosure obligations, not the least of which is to have your listing suspended.

Corporate governance

Intellectual property

Corporate governance rules apply to every company regardless of their size, and the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) will issue fines for failure to keep company records up to date. A fine may consist of a small ‘slap on the wrist’ or many hundreds of thousands of dollars for a significant breach. Businesses should make sure all relevant documents have been lodged with ASIC, and the company register is complete. Consider whether your shareholders’ agreement and constitution still reflect the nature and structure of your company. The end of the year is also a good time to follow up with your directors to make sure they have disclosed any new conflicts of interest and share trading activities in the course of the year. It is also important to remember that ASX-listed companies are held to a much higher standard than privately owned cor-

Many companies don’t begin with a trademark registration. They often mistakenly believe they are protected by the registration of a business name, or they are not yet ready to make an investment in intellectual property without any perceived value. However, as your business grows it develops a reputation and builds brand recognition. It is important to review and carefully consider your intellectual property on a regular basis. A small investment in a trademark can save time and money down the track. If you already have registered intellectual property, a yearly (or even more regular) review of your registrations is always a good idea. Are any of your trademarks coming up for expiration? Have any of your logos evolved or changed? It can be useful to keep a simple register of intellectual property that can save time and make it simple for staff to see at

10 ECD SOLUTIONS - MARCH/APRIL 2016

a glance what the company’s intellectual property is.

Privacy Principles The Privacy Act 1998 was subject to some amendments during 2015, and as a result some of the Privacy Principles were updated. Your Privacy Policy should follow suit. If your company experienced growth and reached an annual turnover of more than $3 million it will now trigger the Privacy Act. There are also legislative triggers for smaller businesses who deal with personal information or sensitive health and financial information. Once you trigger the Privacy Act, your company will be required to have a Privacy Policy that complies with the Australian Privacy Principles. Review your company’s position and if in doubt seek some advice.

Finance arrangements There is no one-size-fits-all finance solution, and companies often find that they ‘outgrow’ their finance arrangements, particularly during growth stages. When this happens facilities will need to be amended, updated and renegotiated.

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Profile for Westwick-Farrow Media

ECD (Electrical+Comms+Data) Mar/Apr 2016  

For those working in and managing mid to large sized electrical, communications and data contracting and wholesaler firms across Australia a...

ECD (Electrical+Comms+Data) Mar/Apr 2016  

For those working in and managing mid to large sized electrical, communications and data contracting and wholesaler firms across Australia a...