Small business financial counsellors are qualified professionals who provide information and advice to small business owners and sole traders in financial difficulty.

Their services are non-judgmental, free, independent and confidential. They do not receive any payments or commission from third parties.

What do we do?

Small business financial counsellors help sole traders and people who run small businesses in many ways. They can talk to you about:

  • options for managing business debts as well as personal debts 

  • the implications for directors who have guaranteed a business loan or other service/supply 

  • how to dispute business debts in external dispute resolution schemes 

  • how to negotiate repayment arrangements:

    • on a tax debt (company or individual)

    • on a lease or utility bill

    • with suppliers

    • on any other business debt

They’re also trained in negotiation and counselling and offer emotional support. 

Who can we support on the small business telephone line? 

Our small business financial counsellors can speak to anyone who runs a small business that has been affected by the bushfires. A small business is any business with less than 100 employees.

What we can’t help you with 

There are some small business problems where we cannot provide advice, but we will provide a referral.


We cannot advise on:

  • liquidating a company

  • the structure of a business

  • preparing tax returns for a business

  • operational issues such as analysis and planning

  • disputes between directors

  • complex tax disputes

  • closing a business

We cannot provide legal advice.


You may have guaranteed your business loan with a personal asset such as your house. Or you may pay the mortgage on your house out of the working capital of your small business. It is common for small business operators to have their business finances and personal finances intermingled. 

Small business financial counsellors will be able to assist you with your business debts and some related personal debts.

If you are calling for help with mainly personal debts, please call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 to speak to a qualified financial counsellor, free of charge.

The National Debt Helpline website also has a number of step-by-step guides of how to ask for hardship assistance form all your creditors, including your bank, utility provider and telco. 


Financial counsellors don’t need a licence to offer financial counselling because they operate licensing exemptions, subject to strict conditions, from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.