The Power of Written Agreements

Some businesses consider it a nuisance, or at best an unnecessary procedure, to commit agreements to a written document.  Agreed, creating a written contract can take a bit of time, sometimes there will be a cost, however whilst a verbal contract is legally valid it does require equal interpretation by both parties of meaning and intention in order to avoid dispute.

Examples of agreements to consider implementing in a written form? Simplistically:

  • Employment contracts
  • Supplier contracts
  • Customer agreements
  • Contractor agreements

What are some of the benefits of written agreements?

  • Signed mutual agreement between the parties
  • Easily accessible information
  • Reduced opportunity for dispute with regard to meaning and intention
  • Reduced risk of misunderstanding

It pays to take the time and effort to produce a written document at the start of the engagement; a much more effective process than determining an answer in resolution to an undocumented business agreement.

Compliance Essentials can assist your business with internal process and systems; contact us





The anagram of ‘compliant’?  Easy, the answer is ‘complaint’.  That, however, is not the simple mistake.

The simple mistake is for an organisation to fail to consider being compliant until there is a complaint.  Complaints in themselves can be costly and result in a need to reallocate core resources for problem resolution as well as potentially losing custom; when the complaint is from a regulator the outcomes can be much more onerous.  The impact in terms of both tangible and intangible costs to remedy a proven compliance breach are far greater than committing financial and staff resources in endeavouring to make an organisation compliant in the first instance.

Reduce the risk of the occurrence of unwitting compliance breaches in your organisation by contacting Compliance Essentials on 1300 602 880 or via our website at

The first in the series of Simple Mistakes looks at ACN/ABN and company documentation:

Is your Australian business incorporated via ASIC?  If so your company must operate by the rules determined in the Corporations Act 2001.

Are your company documents correct?
The Act (s153) requires that a company sets out its name on all public documents along with the company’s ACN (Australian Company Number) or ABN (Australian Business Number) – for a two page or more document the above information must be shown on the first page.

Is your ABN displayed?

All businesses with ABNs
Make sure that your ABN is clearly displayed on your invoices to customers to avoid a withholding tax deduction from your incoming payment.

Compliance Essentials can assist with all your business compliance requirements, contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website

Changes to Fair Work came into effect on 1 January 2013.  What do these mean to an employer?

Over arching all the changes, Fair Work Australia was renamed the Fair Work Commission; the web address for information is now

Included in the legislative changes:

  • The time limit for lodging an unfair dismissal claim increases from 14 to 21 days;
  • the time limit for loding a general protections dismissal claim reduces from 60 to 21 days from the date of dismissal;
  • Changes come into effect with regard to enterprise agreements

For more information go to  Need help with HR management or other compliance matters?  Contact Compliance Essentials on 1300 602 880 or via our website at


Australian retailers are putting a lot of temptation in the way of consumers at present with some allegedly great bargains on offer at fantastic prices.  Unfortunately some offers may not be as great as they appear to be.  In order to be legitimately offered as a ‘sale reduction’ an item must have been on sale at full price for ‘a reasonable period of time’ otherwise the advertising may be construed as misleading to the customer.  Another serious no-go area is for a retailer to advertise a great bargain and attract customers to a store where the consumer finds that the ‘bargain’ is not available but is then encouraged to purchase a similar product at a less advantageous price; this can be interpreted as ‘bait advertising’.

Retailers who are unsure of their compliance obligations can obtain information from the ACCC or contact Compliance Essentials at to arrange a no obligation chat.

The name of your business is a powerful intangible asset; a business name is the foundation for building a good reputation and customer loyalty.

The question then is are you protecting your business’ reputation?  Once reputation is tarnished it can be difficult to regain customer confidence and maintain market position.

Question number two, how to protect the standing of business reputation and brand?  Taking steps to ensure that a business operates within relevant legislation and regulations are part of this process hand in glove with identifying existing and ancticipated areas of risk exposure and treating risks in order of priority i.e. the greater the risk to a business the higher the ranking on an action plan.

Starting off with a business health check will identify areas of risk and potential non-compliance and enable decision makers in the business to formulate a program to remedy matters identified in the gap analysis.

Want to take steps to protect your organisation’s reputation?  Compliance Essentials can assist in the process; free phone 1300 602 880 to arrange a meeting for an initial discussion.

So what is the issue with ‘compliance’?  Has the word acquired a bad image or does it go deeper?

One of the issues –  the decision makers in some organisations fail to admit that ‘compliance’ is relevant to what they do, whereas in fact every organisation has compliance obligations.

Forget the handle and move away from the concept of policing.  The issue does not necessarily lie with the concept of compliance, the issue rests with not acknowledging and accepting that adopting a compliant culture can bring benefits.

Organisations that can’t see the gain unfortunately don’t acknowledge the potential of pain until it happens to them.  Using the analogy of insurances, it isn’t common practice to wait, for example until there has been a theft or involvement in a car accident, to think about insurances; most of us buy the required policies to protect ourselves and/or our businesses in case the bad things happen outside of our control.  In a similar way, using best endeavours to proactively implement compliance in an organisational environment is a means of taking control as well as protecting a business from the risk of serious compliance breaches that could, amongst other outcomes, cause injury, have a financial impact, damage reputation.

Why not take the benefits, which are manifold, and will ultimately make a contribution to the bottom line.

By the way, it is calculated to be far more costly to remedy a proven compliance breach than to be in control with the implementation of a compliance plan………….

The Compliance Essentials Team

The philosophy of allegiance to good customer service doesn’t always loom large in discussions of legal and regulatory compliance, but poor customer service certainly presents an organisational risk that needs to be managed in tandem with other operational matters.

Where there are examples of poor customer interaction and telephone communication there’s a chance that the number of complaints are less – but deterring consumers in this way does not fix any problem.  Good customer service identifies operational and/or product issues, allows management to provide solutions and so protects reputation and equally important keeps the customer happy.

A current newsworthy item is complaints to the Telco Ombudsman and in that industry compliance is part of customer service; the revised Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code came into effect on 1 September, a part of the code is for telco suppliers to work towards the preparation and implementation of compliance framework in relation to this revised code. It goes without saying that telco customers can change their service provider, however this principle applies to continuing or terminating relationships with other suppliers.  In simple terms, a loss of a customer is a loss of revenue, wherein lies an element of the risk.

Compliance Essentials can assist your business with risk management and compliance strategies; contact us on 1300 602 880 for an initial discussion


The Melbourne press this weekend has been abuzz with the story of, and alleged reasons for, the sacking of the Principal of Methodist Ladies College.  It isn’t appropriate to pass judgement on the matter without the full facts however the stories indicate that the Board of MLC were not in full possession of facts on all the operational matters of the school.

Last year the judgement in the Centro case (CESept2011e-bulletin) specified that Board members do not need to be financial experts but do need to be able to understand financial reports and also that Board members should familiarise themselves with operational matters.

Compliance Essentials is available for governance support and mentoring; contact us on 1300 602 800 or via our website

The Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code (C628:2012) was registered by ACMA on 1 September 2012.  Revisions to the previous code are aimed to provide additional protection for telco customers as well as an increased level of customer service.  The Code includes requirements for compliance by service providers and compliance monitoring arrangements.

The Compliance Essentials Team