• Written by Tess Sanders Lazarus

According to Brett Flower, Company Director, Corporate Governance Specialist and founder of Ethical Leadership & Compliance Australia, owning and managing a business in Australia is riskier than people realise.  Not only is Australia one of the most legislated business operating environments in the world, it also involves many types and tiers of risk.   Business operators are affected by federal legislation as well as state and local government laws.   

“Anyone can be a good business owner, but every person charged with the responsibility of running a business needs to be a good Company Director,” Mr Flower said today.

“We need to do more in Australia to become a country of smart small business owners.

“Many small business owners become Company Directors with little understanding of the risks involved or their regulatory responsibilities.   No one really explains the risks and responsibilities to them.

“Every day people across Australia are setting up their own enterprises, starting their own businesses hoping to be successful and do well.   They go and get an ABN and go through the basics.

“It is only when things go wrong in the business or when an incident occurs that business owners realise they could be in trouble – and then they panic.   At this stage it is usually too late to mitigate the risk.

“There are significant risks for business owners and Company Directors in the SME market space, and not just risks to business but also risks to themselves personally.   

"While insurances exist for business owners and managers, unintentional negligence due to lack of awareness is on the rise.  

“Company Directors of large organisations undertake expensive courses through the Australian Institute of Company Directors, but there is nothing for small to medium (SME) size company owners that are running the majority of our country’s small businesses.

“I established Ethical Leadership and Compliance Australia to provide SME owners and Company Directors with affordable, accessible, relevant and tailored Company Directorship and Ownership training.

“My one day SME Business Owner and Company Director course covers all of the areas of responsibility and risk that business owners and Company Directors face.

“SME owners and Company Directors need to understand issues such as exposure, taxation and financial trading compliance, employment of staff, product warranties, service and returns requirements, just to mention a few.

"I have developed case studies and scenarios to help people understand the real issues they may face in their business. 

“Being an SME owner or Company Director should be a positive and rewarding experience, but this can only happen if owners and Directors fully understand their responsibilities and the risks involved.”

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