Good afternoon everyone. My name is Kathrine Morgan-Wicks and I am the Senior Executive in charge of Registry Transformation at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. I thought I would start today with a few quick facts about the Australian population and our addiction to the internet – being one of the world’s most avid online shopping populations according to a recent survey. Australia is a very large country with a very small population (of course not as small as new zealand). By comparison New Zealand would fit into Australia 28.6 times, the united kingdom 31.5 times. Our population has just reached over 22 million and mostly around the eastern seaboard – brisbane, sydney, melbourne – where the good beaches are. Australia has the second highest smartphone usage by population density, second only to Singapore. Australia’s internet audience reached 16.2M in May 2012, and over 40% of homes in Australia own at least 1 tablet device. Over 50% of Australians aged 16+ own a smart phone. 62% of Australians access social media sites, and the last thing 47% of Australian consumers do before going to bed is check email – a very sad thing indeed.
So when it came time to launch the Business Names Register – there was only one thing to do really – and that was to launch our own ASIC Youtube channel.
So who thought online shopping – online Business Names Register?So what is the Business Names Register?Over 5 years ago, in July 2006, the Council of Australian Governments agreed to develop a model to deliver a seamless, online registration system for both Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) and business names, including trademark searching. This was in response to “Rethinking Regulation” - a report of the Taskforce on reducing regulatory burdens on business. Since that time, States, territories and the Australian government have worked together to introduce a program of new initiatives that has reduced red tape, saved time, cut costs, and improved knowledge and certainty for Australian business.The new National Business Names Service replaced 8 state and territory systems, so that businesses can register their name with a single register nationally. To describe the new regime in a nutshell - Businesses can now apply to register or renew a business name online and in most cases receive confirmation of their registration straight away. Costs for registering a business have come down in most jurisdictions – and to help new businesses, there is a single online transaction toregister an ABN and a national business name, the two most common registrations when starting a business in Australia. All 1.6M existing business names in all States and Territories were transferred electronically onto the new national register. It is important to note the objects of the new Business Names Registration Act, which are generally to ensure first and foremost, that if an entity carries on a business under a business name, the public can identify the entity behind the name and how the entity may be contacted. This information is made available via a free online search.
So how does it compare with our more traditional registers? The national business names register is one of ASIC’s largest registers with now over 1.8M business names (similar to our companies register with close to 2M companies). It is the first register that ASIC has launched on our brand new Oracle registry platform and was a project which took over 4 years, and well over 100 project, business and technology staff to implement, at a cost of over $50M (we also had to replace our revenue system as our companies revenue system would not cope with the increased demand, and the go live involved the integration of nearly 20 backend systems). Since its launch, 99.6% of transactions have taken place online, quite different to our companies model, which is now 22 years old and has reached 75% online.
This diagram gives you a sense of the ASIC registry business, which is responsible for over 19 legal registers – companies and business names now the 2 largest. We facilitate nearly 70M searches of our registry information each year, handle over 2M updates and over 1M telephone and email enquiries, and importantly for our government, collect over $650M in revenue. And the current trend in Australia is to keep adding registers to our portfolio, usually to nationalise disparate State and Territory registration systems and to bring them online.
Every time that we add a new register to our platform, we are guided by what we call our Registry Transformation vision – and this is one that we formed after speaking to several CRF members, and being influenced by the innovations online we were seeing across the globe. Namely, that we are striving to deliver an ASIC Registry model that is customer centric, simple, 100% online, high performing and one that adds value to the Australian economy.
You will see that ASIC’s registry transformation journey has been going for quite some time, implementing new law reform after law reform – with Business Names marked in red in the middle there. Each time we are designing, testing and trying to deliver that registry transformation vision. We are happy with what we have achieved so far, but there is still a lot of work for us to do.
In following our customer centric theme – our business names service is available 24/7 and we have found over 30% of transactions are occurring after traditional business hours, after 5pm at a time more convenient for small business. By offering the service online, customers now pay a much lower fee to register a business name - $30 for 1 year, or $70 for 3 years. Previously if you registered a business name in all states and territories across Australia, you would pay over $1000 for 3 years registration, plus the hassle of filling in 8 different forms. We made it simpler for customers by pre-populating their registration form wherever we could; and introduced a new national business name check availability search – which will give you an automatic answer on whether or not your name is available to register.
But it was not all without some significant challenges and we really did go to the wire in delivering business names. These challenges included merging 8 different state and territory systems, mostly paper based. It was the first register we launched on a brand new technology platform – which caused us many challenges as it was unknown and the business were not the experts in this technology – not like our familiarity with our companies platform. We had to design many of the online services while legislation was still being negotiated with the states and territories; and we had to deliver on a legislative hard deadline. Last but not least, in the wide brown land that is Australia, there are some sectors resistant to doing business online, and Rosanne and I visited quite a few of those.
So before we take a quick look at the actual system – where are we now?1.6M business names were successfully migrated over to the new register – involving over 84 M data records, and over a year’s worth of migration work – and we still could have done with more time. Since launch in May 2012, over 190k business names have been registered online, 90% of them passing straight through automatically, with no human touching them. Over 5M free searches have been conducted – it is a very popular search in Australia. And close to a quarter of a million renewals have been issued online (we are playing catch up), and 100k updates have been requested online.
So to take a quick look at the Australian Business names process, as I know quite a few of you run business names registers yourselves - To complete a business name transaction online, you will need:An ABNA name that is available – you can check this onlinea registration period – 1 or 3 yearsDetails of who will hold the business name – we will also prefill information from your ABN to helpYou will need to declare you are eligible to hold a business name – ie that you are not disqualifiedAnd you will need to pay – online with a credit card or later by invoice if you choose.
So let’s take a look at an example. Let me introduce Mia Kelly. Mia recently graduated and started a new small business specialising in vintage fashion. She is a sole trader, trades under her own name, and operates from her parents' home in Perth which just happens to be a very funky high-rise reminiscent of Soho. Mia has recently set up her own website and regularly ships her goods Australia wide. Mia decides to register a business name as a marketing tool, and she has a few names in mind. Twelve months after registering her business name Mia decides to renew her business name registration. Let’s see how Mia interacts with ASIC.
Mia has never interacted with ASIC before. She googles business names on her ipad mini, and ASIC is prominent. She visits ASIC’s website at www.asic.gov.au. She clicks on the Business Names tab to see what she can learn. The information she finds tells her about business names and asks her to use ASIC Connect to register. Mia clicks on the ASIC Connect Business Names button on the right hand side of the screen.
Mia lands at the homepage for ASIC Connect business names. She scans the page, noticing the help for first time users, social media links (she is a twitter fan), and the quick links to other sites such as franchising, the Australian Business Register, and the New Zealand Companies office. Mia uses technology every day, and is impatient, so she simply clicks “Sign up”.
Mia arrives at a page called “Information about business names and SMSF auditors (our 2nd register in ASIC Connect)”. This page tells users about the services available on ASIC Connect to help them decide if they need to ‘sign up’. Mia clicks on ‘sign up’.
As a new user of ASIC Connect, and before she can register a business name, Mia needs to ‘Sign up’ to use ASIC Connect. This is a once off process and it doesn’t take long. ASIC has a You Tube video about ‘how to sign up’ that Mia can watch. In future, Mia will be able to use her account to manage any business name or other ASIC register that she becomes associated with. In signing up we ask Mia to provide some basic information such as:her email address (which becomes her username), a password and security question, and contact details (including her name and telephone number). Mia is interested to read that her private contact details will only used by ASIC to contact her in the course of processing transactions. Mia must accept our electronic lodgement protocol (which is available as a link to read) before clicking on ‘Create’.
So Mia signs up, creates her ASIC Connect account and starts a Business Names Registration. She can do this by clicking on several spots – for example by clicking on the Business Names Registration tab at the top, or in Do it now on the side. First time users are also launched straight to the registration transaction. As a first step, Mia is asked to enter her ABN – and she is given different options, depending on whether she has an ABN yet. Mia recently registered an ABN which she enters. If she doesn't remember the number she can look it up via the quick link to the ABR. She clicks “Next” to continue.
Now Mia can see for the first time, a roadmap across the top of the screen that shows her progress. It’s similar to the steps she reviewed earlier. Mia is at the names step. You can see here that ASIC has prefilled the entity name, type and status – we get this information from the ABR based on the ABN that Mia provided. Mia checks it and it is correct. If not, she would have needed to contact the ABR. Mia is keen to pick her business name – in a moment she will type in her proposed Business Name before clicking ‘Check Name Availability’.
ASIC’s computers will check Mia’s proposed name against our registers and apply 14 automated names determination tests. ASIC uses a traffic light system – green, amber and red, to tell customers about the availability of a name. In each case the results will also show similar existing names to increase awareness.The first name Mia proposes, ‘Mia’s Fashion House’ reveals a ‘red light’ - it is not available as there is an identical business name already registered. Mia decides to try again. The second name Mia proposes is ‘Mia’s Vintoure Fashions’. This name is ‘amber’ as the word ‘Vintoure’ is unknown to ASIC. If Mia proceeds she may not be able to get the registration completed today. It will be referred to an ASIC staff for further manual consideration. Mia is impatient to get a name today, so she decides to try again with another name.Third time lucky, Mia selects another name that she likes ‘Mia’s Vintage and Couture fashions’. The green colour shows it is available. She scans the similar names and is happy with her choice. She scrolls down.
Mia sees 2 registration options: 1 year registration for $30 or 3 years registration for $70. Mia is not sure how her business will go, so she picks the one year option. You can see here that Mia could decide to ‘save and exit’ if she wants to come back later, log in, and resume her application. Of course, the business name she has chosen cannot be reserved, and the availability will be rechecked upon her return. She clicks ‘Next’ to continue.
The next step on roadmap is called ‘business’ and asks Mia to provide details regarding the business name holder. In this case Mia is the business name holder, and a sole trader. Information collected by ASIC includes Mia’s date and place of birth, her residential address (which cannot be a PO Box), and her email address as business name holder (this email address can be different to her email as account holder). ASIC tells customers how we use their information through a help link, and we only use information as permitted by law. Mia’s residential address, date and place of birth will not appear on the public register. Mia clicks ‘next’.
Mia moves to the addresses step and is asked to add addresses for her business – these might be the same or different to those provided in her capacity as the business name holder. She adds in an address for service of documents, a principle place of business, and a mobile number to receive SMS’s in future. Importantly, Mia adds an email address for the business. This email will be used by ASIC to email her follow up information about her business name registration and renewals. For instance, her record of registration a 'pay later' invoice, or a renewal notice. You can see here that Mia can edit any addresses. Importantly she can see within the table which information is available to the public.
Mia moves to the next step about her ‘eligibility’ to hold a business name. Mia has never been disqualified from managing a corporation, and she hasn’t had any trouble with the law, so she ticks the boxes and moves on. If there had been an issue, ASIC would have asked for more information.
The next steps are to review,declare and pay. She reviews the information she has provided thus far and can edit if she needs to. She makes the relevant declarations. For example, that everything she has told us is correct, and not false or misleading. She tells us that she is authorised to make the application as the proposed business name holder (that is, she is not acting as an agent for the holder). Mia clicks ‘next’.
Mia must pay a fee to complete her registration and use the name. She can ‘pay now’ via credit card, or ‘pay later’ using an invoice. The Pay now option is only available by credit card using Visa or Mastercard. Mia chooses to Pay Now because she has a visa card and wants to complete her registration. She is prompted to enter her credit card details. Mia is taken to a secure site to make payment by credit card. ASIC does not retain any credit card details at all and follows strict privacy requirements.If she had chosen to Pay Later – Mia would have been issued with an invoice overnight by email, and a reminder that payment must be received by ASIC within 10 days, or her registration application will lapse and the name will be available to others. Mia could pay the invoice using standard ASIC payment methods like BPAY or payment at Australia Post.
Mia’s payment is accepted and she can see from the message in green that her Business Name has been registered, and the date and time it occurred. Mia can print out a copy of her application, and confirmation of her payment. Mia will be emailed a copy of her Record of Registration – she might want to display it or keep it in her files. She will also be emailed her ASIC key – more about that shortly.
Here is Mia’s record of registration. The first page looks like a certificate, the additional pages summarise the information we collected from Mia.
When Mia’s mum gets home Mia tells her about her new Business Name. Her mother, a lawyer, suggests to Mia that they look together at the business name on ASIC’s public register. They go to ASIC’s website, click on ASIC connect search, and search the Business Names Index. They type in the business name and click on Mia’s vintage and couture fashions. This is a free search.
Here is how the results are displayed. Mia’s mum can see the details of the business name, including its service address. She sees that Mia’s residential address and birth details are not publicly displayed. They log off and Mia get’s back to the world of fashion.
So to wrap up because I am sure I am about to hear the music, since well before day 1 and ongoing ASIC has continued to improve the support that we have provided for this 100% online service, and we have learned alot from feedback from our customers along the way.
In particular, we have faced some harsh realities in our customer contact centre, which is now nearly doubling in size, despite being only originally funded for an additional 8 full time staff for business names.
Our user guides have been extremely popular...
Together with facebook – our customers are honest! And it is nothing you do not hear in your own call centres...
And last but not least the utubes – which one of our brilliant graduates films and edits for us.
Together with getting the short and simple messages out on twitter.
So if there is anything we have learned over the last 12 months, bringing on this large and very complex online registry system – stick to your online vision – even when the going gets tough. It will pay in the end. Adapt it to your customer group and be prepared to move on the detail when you get it wrong. Focus on stability and challenge before deployment. And take the time to define exceptions – there will be some!
So I will leave you with some of our more illustrious clients of the Australian Business Names Register. Enjoy! Thank you.
Australia | Technology Case Study (Kathrine Morgan Wicks)
Technology Case Studies, new online registers – The Australian Business Names RegisterPresentation to the Corporate Registers ForumKathrine Morgan-Wicks,Senior Executive Registry Transformation13 March 2013
Australia: Quick Facts *New Zealand is about here somewhere
Welcome to the Business Names Registerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yIvZsmNjoI
What is the Business Names Register?• Register of names under which businesses trade in Australia• Key objective to ensure the public can identify the person/entity behind a business name• Consolidation of 8 State & Territory registers• System is 100% online
How does it compare to other ASIC registers• One of ASIC’s largest registers with 1.8M business names• Built on a new technology platform• System 100% online with almost all interactions online• Compare to companies register – 22 years old and only 75% online
Registry Transformation VisionDevelopment of the ASIC businessname system guided by vision:• Customer centric• Simple• Adds value to the Australian economy• 100% Online• High performing
Registry Transformation Journey2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014April 2010: July 2010: December 2010: January 2012: 31 March 2012: 28 May 2012: 1 July 2012: January 2013*: To be To be To beOnline Margin New online Improved ASIC migrates New online New Online Carbon New SMSF Auditor confirmed*: confirmed*: confirmed*:Lending Credit Customer Charges Register search services National Credits Registration New online Registry RegistryLicensing Licensing Enquiry Service to the new & ASIC Connect Business Names New financial Service company replacement replacement system (Migrate National Personal launched (1st Service (2nd product Register online as registration complete – complete – Customer Property Securities ASIC Connect ASIC Connect authorisation an SMSF Auditor service and companies other registers Relationship Register, supportin service) service) for Carbon (Stronger Super registry register management g a Whole of Conduct free and Search, register Credits. Reforms). maintenance system) Government paid searches of and maintain a portals ASIC’s legacy mainframe registryApril 2010: New July 2010: initiative. ASIC’s public national systems (e.g. ASCOT) migrated October 2012: 1 July 2013*: Register aonline Credit New online registers via business name to new technology. Unlock new Business name Online service company viaRegistration financial ASIC’s new with ASIC. value from our public renewals to licence ASIC’ssystem reporting via online registry registers, allowing ASIC to move Accountants website, paying XBRL (SBR) website, paying November 2012: to a customer- providing by Credit Card. by Credit Card. Business names financial Maintain centric, simple, 100% June 2011: New maintain and cease advice (Future your details online, high-performing registry Revenue of Financial simply across business that adds value to the Management November 2012*: Australian economy. Advice registers. System (FSS) Joint ABN / Reforms) impacting registry business name services & unclaimed registration 1 July 2013*: 2013-2014 * monies. Register in one New Tax Agent Insolvency reform: transaction for an Registration New and changed ABN and national Service for registry reporting business name via financial planners requirements linked transaction Register online as between a financial Australian planner providing Business Register limited taxation and ASIC. advice. December 2012:* Australian Charities & Not for Last updated 6 March 2012 Profit Commission * Dates to be confirmed
Designed for customers• Online o Transact at a time and place convenient for you• Cutting red tape o Quicker, cheaper, easier o Applicants or their agents can transact directly• Customer focused o Pre-populated information from government databases• Help tools o ASIC can answer your queries along the way o Screen help, website, call centre, expert staff
Challenges of 100% online• Merger of paper-based registers• Built on a new untested technology platform• Designing new national processes while legislation still in development• Migration of unreliable data• Legislative uncertainties and political factors• Certain sectors resistant to doing business online (maybe 5%)
Where are we now?• 1.6M grandfathered business names transferred to register• 190,000 new registrations• 5M free online searches conducted• 92,000 maintain & cease transactions e.g. change details• 240,000 renewals issued
Registering a business name• An Australian business number is needed• Check name availability of proposed business names• Choose registration period (1 or 3 years)• Business holders details• Eligibility and declaration• Payment• Confirmation
Mia Kelly – sole trader• Small retail fashion business run from home in Perth• Growing national online trade• Registers a business name• Checks her details on the public business names register
Name step Prefilled ABN detailsEnter proposed name
Name resultsTraffic light result Similar names
Registration periodSelect 1 or 3 years Cancel your Save and come Save your work and application back later move to next step
Business name holder details – sole traderEnter• Birth details• Residential address• Email address
Business addresses– sole traderEnter• Address for service• Principal place of Business• Email• Mobile for SMS Address table
Eligibility step Declare anydisqualifications, convi ctions etc.
Declare step Declarations Authorisation to apply
Payment step Fee to be paid Pay now or pay later (within 10 days by invoice)
Confirmation step Congratulations! Record to keepOther things you can do
Searching thebusiness name indexMia’s business name
Searching thebusiness names index Free information about Mia’s business name
Support available• Customer Call Centre• Significant web content – Business names tab• User guides• Social media – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube• Subscription service• Business names booklet
Customer Call Centre• Enquiries well above forecast and funded levels – Currently 3,000 calls per day – Funded for 500 per day• More phones lines needed• More staff needed• New strategies for customers to transact electronically
Tips to going online• Stick to your online vision• Adapt it to your customer group• Be prepared to move on the detail when you get it wrong• Focus on technology stability (challenge this before deployment)• Define exceptions justifying paper and manage them as exceptions