Earlier this month, seven companies were licensed by ASIC under the new CSF regime to act as intermediaries to provide a CSF service.
With the grant of these new authorisations, eligible public companies will now be able to use the CSF regime to raise capital by making offers of ordinary shares to investors via the online platform of one of these intermediaries.
The CSF regime which came into effect on 29 September 2017 allows unlisted public companies with less than $25 million in annual turnover and assets to source and raise funds on crowd funding platforms of up to $5 million a year.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, ESS Biztools managing director Peter Towers believes accountants will play a key role in helping companies get ready for the capital raising process.
“Accountants will need to help primarily with the preparation of the documents. This is virtually the same as an IPO; companies have got to get their house in order first,” said Mr Towers.
“They'll need business plans, budgets and cash flow forecasts looking at the next three years, an information memorandum, and they'll need assistance in the preparation of the crowd-sourced funding offer document which is the de facto prospectus.
“They basically need all of that information assembled before they start communicating with an intermediary. They can talk to a number of intermediaries and I think they will need an accountant's assistance in undertaking those discussions because under the legislation, the intermediaries can name their own fee, and many of these companies are going to need guidance and assistance on that.”
Others, like the Institute of Public Accountants, have also been broadly optimistic about the new legislation for both accountants and SMEs.
“We've been pushing members to look at things like crowd funding and just be aware of them and have them in their kitty so to speak so that they can get more involved with what's happening in the sharing economy and the digital economy,” executive general manager of technical and advocacy, Vicki Stylianou, previously told Accountants Daily.
“I think that accountants, as small business and SMEs themselves should take advantage of it,” she said.