Use of Acn

Under sec.153 of the Corporations Act all companies (proprietary as well as public) must display their Australian Company Number (“ACN”) following their name (i.e., the company’s full name, including its type – eg, ‘Pty Ltd’) on:

public documents

negotiable instruments

their common seal (if they have one).

A principal purpose of the ACN is to ensure adequate identification of companies when transacting business.

A ‘public document’ is defined in sec.88A(1) and Regulatory Guide 13 as an instrument signed, issued or published by a company, including:

business letterheads invoices / receipts

statements of account, including demands for payment

purchase orders official notices

contracts / agreements

advertisements making an offer that can be accepted in writing (eg, by completing an order form)

documents lodged with any government department (including ASIC).

Other documents where the ACN should be used/recorded include:

minutes of board/shareholder meetings – following the company’s name at the top of the page


corporate documents.

Instruments expressly excluded from the requirement to show an ACN include:

packaging, labels, etc in which goods are supplied

cash register receipts

envelopes / business cards

general advertisements.

A company can, in most cases, use its Australian Business Number (“ABN”) instead of its ACN.

Where a number of separate companies are listed on a document (eg, a letterhead) the ACN of each should appear in such a way that makes it clear which company each ACN relates to.

While there are no specific requirements as to how an ACN should appear on a document or what type size should be used, it should be clear, easily readable, and obvious as to the company to which it relates.

These regulations apply similarly to other entity types, such as:

ARBN – Australian Registered Body [Number]

ARSN – Australian Registered Scheme [Number]

*Originally written by Company Secretary, an Australian virtual company secretary service.

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