Debitoor's accounting dictionary
Australian Company Number (ACN)

Australian Company Number (ACN) – What is an ACN?

An ACN, short for Australian Company Number, is nine-digit number that identifies companies in Australia.

It's easy to issue invoices that contain your ACN with Debitoor invoicing software. Try Debitoor for free.

Before Australian Company Numbers were introduced, companies could only be identified by their business name, which could lead to confusion if businesses had similar names.

The Corporations Act 2001 introduced Australian Company Numbers as a way of preventing this confusion, making it compulsory for every company in Australia to be assigned a unique number that could be used to identify the business.

Who can get an ACN?

Only companies can get Australian Company Numbers. Companies are businesses that are managed by directors and are legally distinct from their owners.

This means that not all businesses are entitled to an ACN. For example, sole traders and partnerships are not considered to be companies and therefore cannot get an ACN.

How to get an ACN

Australian Company Numbers are automatically assigned when you register your company, and you don’t have to complete a separate application to get an ACN.

When you register your company, you will be asked to pay a fee and provide information about the company. It takes between two and five business days to receive confirmation of your company registration, depending on how you pay. Most business can register online.

Where to display your ACN

If you have an ACN, it needs to be displayed on all of your company’s ‘'public documents' and 'eligible negotiable instruments'. This includes:

  • Invoices
  • Statements of accounts
  • Payment receipts (if they’re not produced by a machine)
  • Letterheads
  • Printed adverts (i.e. flyers or leaflets) that promote a specific deal or offer
  • Any documents lodged with ASIC.

Your ACN should be on the first page of these documents. It should be clear; easy to read; and labelled as an ‘Australian Company Number’, ‘ACN’, or ‘A.C.N’.

You don’t need to display your ACN on packaging, business cards, machine-generated receipts, printed adverts that don’t promote a specific offer, and items that aren’t documents (such as TV adverts or vehicles).

Differences between an ACN and an ABN

Although Australian Company Numbers and Australian Business Numbers are both codes that are used to identify businesses, there are a few key differences between an ACN and an ABN, including:

  • Length: while Australian Company Numbers are made up of nine numbers, Australian Business Numbers contain eleven digits.
  • Who can get one: only companies can get an ACN, whereas business that follow any other business structure can get an ABN.
  • Who they’re issued by: Australian Company numbers are issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), while Austraian Business Numbers are issued by the Australian Business Register (ABR), which is run by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Australian Company Numbers in Debitoor

If you have a company, you need to put your ACN on your official paperwork. With Debitoor invoicing software, it’s easy to add your ACN to your invoices, quotes, and credit notes.

Simply go to your account settings and add your ACN to your company profile. After you’ve saved your ACN, it will appear on all of your future documents.

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