How we are modernising business registers for Australians & the value of business registry data and what small business needs to know

| Friday October 23

Small Biz Matters – #181 Providing the small business community with educational content and advocacy since 2014
with Alexi Boyd, broadcaster, advocate and small business owner.
Date: 13 October 2020

An ABN is an Australian Business Number which  is required for anyone to be conducting  business activities in Australia. It’s an unique 11-digit identifier issued by the Australian Business Register (ABR) which is operated by the Australian Taxation Office.

We all know this, right?

But what you might not know is the incredible mechanics behind maintaining this huge database used by businesses, advisors, government agencies all over the world.

Did you know the ATO conducts regular audits of these numbers and cancels them if they’re unused over a period of time? Or that the integrity of this system is a fundamental part of the australian financial landscape?

So let’s get it straight from the ABR and the ATO themselves: Michelle Crosby is the Deputy Registrar for the Australian Business Register & Deputy Commissioner, Commonwealth Business Registry Service, ATO

Michelle will talk about the work the ATO is leading to build a modernised registry service and transform the way that businesses interact with government.  She’ll also share new requirements for company directors and discuss how registry information helps governments provide support to businesses and the community.

Welcome to the show Michelle.

Topics we’ll be covering:

What’s changed recently and how is the government modernising in regards to the use of ABR data?

  • There is a shared responsibility to keep ABR up to date and accurate, so it can be utilised in times of crisis
  • Modernising Business Registers program will create a single business registry
  • Chat about the Deregulation Agenda, self service, tell-us-once approach
  • State based agencies like Service NSW have been using ABR data to provide a range of support options to small businesses 

What are Director Identification Numbers and why are they being introduced?

  • What are the recent changes to the ABN system?
  • We want to help Australian businesses and those who want to do the right thing, and equally we want to make it difficult for those who try to do the wrong thing
    • What does the ATO consider the right and wrong things – give examples here?
  • Director Identification numbers will be provided to all directors, enabling us to try and do this from next year
    • Why?
    • How is this going to be implemented?

You are the Deputy Registrar of the Australian Business Register, what does your role entail?

  • How to the various Govt agencies communicate about our data
  • Looking after the ABR – the data is an important national asset and is vital to help us support businesses
  • I want to strengthen the ABN system and ensure our data is used to unlock social and economic value - ABN registration insights reflecting challenging business environment and uncertainty due to COVID-19 & ABR data to various levels of government through events like the recent disasters

To find out more go to their website:

About our Guest:

Michelle Crosby, Deputy Registrar, Australian Business Register & Deputy Commissioner, Commonwealth Business Registry Service, Australian Taxation Office

Michelle Crosby is the Deputy Registrar of the Australian Business Register (ABR) and the Deputy Commissioner of the Commonwealth Business Registry Service business line within the Australian Taxation Office.

As Deputy Registrar, Michelle helps businesses manage their Australian Business Number (ABN) registrations, undertakes activities to strengthen the ABN system and assists government agencies to access ABR data.

Michelle is currently leading the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program, which is a transformative program of work across multiple agencies to build a new registry service. The MBR program will also deliver the director identification number initiative, which will help address illegal phoenix activity.