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25 Jan 13 On ASIC's Business Names System

MEMBER 9 writes:

"As I already find myself an unpaid officer of the ATO spending a significant amount of time each day trying to sort out ATO system stuff-ups, is it too much to ask ASIC to give some consideration to making sure their business names system doesn't degenerate into a similar disaster?

I never used to have to get involved with clients registering or renewing their business names, as the relevant state government department used to deal with renewals through a simple paper based system. If there were any queries, clients used to be able to visit a local branch of that department. Now I have clients contacting me on regular basis because it seems they can't follow ASIC's wonderful computerised only system and, if they try to contact ASIC for assistance, they have to deal with a congested telephone call centre.

As an example of the frustrations their systems are causing, I had one client who operates a small gardening business who, after much perseverance, did get through to ASIC but then hit a brick wall as they would only email her information, and as she does not have an email address, in desperation she had to come into our office so we could do it online for her.

The transfer of business names also seems to be a major disaster. I have a client who restructured their business in July 2012 and we are still waiting on the transfer of the business name to be recorded correctly. It seems that the ASIC system seems to go through the process of deregistering the name under the old owner, and then registering the name under the new owner, but somewhere along the line their system goes astray. I have just tried to call ASIC again to follow up on my unanswered email questions on this matter, and received an automated message that they can't answer any calls now and to call back later. When a government department gets to the point of not even trying to put calls on hold, you know something must be wrong. These are just a couple of examples of the many issues that have arisen since ASIC took over this responsibility.

From a government perspective I suspect they believe they are making things more cost effective by centralising the registration of business names. By the number of phone calls I am receiving about business names compared to the rare call I used to receive, it seems they have made matters much worse. Are other members experiencing similar problems?"

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