A business consultant is often an expert in their field. They provide specialist advice in a particular industry or field. A business consultant lawyer can advise you on important things to know when running or starting a consulting firm for businesses.
In this article, we will take you through our top 5 tips to protect your business and operate legally.
Licences and permits for a business consultant
In Australia, the specific licenses and permits required for a business consultant can vary. The requirements will depend on the nature of the consulting services provided and the location of the business. Generally, there are no specific licenses or permits that are required for all business consultants. However, here are some things to keep in mind:
You are likely to require some form of licence if you provide:
- engineering services
- accounting and financial advice
- legal advice
- medical advice
You might need a permit for your consulting business, depending on what type it is and what you do.
- certain building work, such as an office fit out, may require a local council permit.
- if you are serving alcohol as part of your business activities, you will need a liquor licence.
- you may need an event permit if you play music, operate a festival or for filming.
You can search for the types of permits you may need by visiting your local council’s website. Alternatively, a business consultant lawyer can do this for you.
Setting up a business consulting firm
Setting up a business consulting firm in Australia involves several important steps. Here are three key aspects to consider:
The first step is to determine the legal structure of your consulting firm. In Australia, common business structures include sole trader, partnership, company, and trust. Each structure has its advantages and considerations, such as liability, taxation, and compliance requirements.
Talk to a business consultant, lawyer, or accountant to find the right structure for your company.
Registration and licensing
Once you have decided on the business structure, you may need to register your firm with the ASIC. You will also need a partnership agreement if you are operating as a partnership.
You may need to choose a business name, obtain an ABN, and register for Goods and Services Tax (GST) if applicable.
Insurance for business consultants
Insurance is a critical tool to protect your business. Make sure you speak to an insurance broker and get comprehensive insurance policies in place.
Again, depending on your business type, you may need:
- public liability and product liability insurance
- professional indemnity insurance
- workers’ compensation insurance
- shipping and transport insurance
Compliance for business consultants
Ensure that you comply with relevant laws and regulations when setting up a business consulting firm. This includes understanding your obligations under the Australian Consumer Law, privacy laws, and employment laws.
Remember, setting up a business consulting firm involves legal considerations that may vary depending on your specific circumstances. Always get advice from a business consultant lawyer, or accountant to follow rules and keep your business safe.
Legal documents and contracts you may need
Additionally, you should have appropriate contracts and legal documents in place to protect your business interests. These may include client engagement agreements, confidentiality agreements, and terms and conditions of service.
Goods and services contracts
Goods and services agreements set out the rights and obligations of the buyer and the seller. If you are buying or selling goods and/or services, you will need a contract. While most business consultants will be providing services in the form of advice, it is important to have the right terms in place.
For example, we have seen costly mistakes by businesses that buy goods and services critical to their business or of high value. If you don’t have the right terms in place, you may find yourself having to pay a supplier for a fixed term and be unable to terminate the contract.
A consulting contract is a particular type of contract. A consulting agreement applies to providing advice. This is because your client will be relying on your advice. State your assumptions and other factors that could affect the accuracy of your advice.
We suggest including clauses for liability limits, avoiding fitness for obligations, and stating your client’s expectations. This may include ensuring that your client provides timely information.
Website terms and conditions
Website terms and conditions are important to protect your website and outline how you handle personal information. They also set out how your business interacts with website visitors and how to request a refund, for example.
We recommend the following website terms and conditions when setting up as a business consultant:
Employment agreements govern the terms on which you employ staff. You are likely to hire team members as your business grows. Having a robust employment contract in place will aid in:
- ensuring you pay staff correctly
- your staff have an appropriate non-compete clause in place (particularly for executive-level employees)
- intellectual property created by your employees belongs to your business consulting firm
Get advice from business consultant lawyers to understand legal rules and create contracts for your consulting services.
- engage a business consultant lawyer to ensure your consulting business is legally compliant
- do your research and make sure you have the necessary legal documentation to protect your business
- revisit your consulting contracts and check that you still comply with law as your business grows and changes