If your business is in Australia (and you, yourself, live there) you probably know that the country boasts a sizeable Polish community, which still mostly uses Polish language at home. I’m also quite sure that you also thought about expansion to foreign markets, Poland included.
I have provided basic information about Polish companies in this post, which you are strongly recommended to read before attempting this article, if only to know the basics of Polish business environment. I have also provided a handy diagram it this post, so I will speak mostly about differences between Australian and Polish companies here. I have also provided some useful resources at the end of this post.
Sole trading will be omitted due to its little relevance for businesses, as in the previous posts. This also applies to unlimited companies (able to form only for mining and resource purposes), which have no ready Polish equivalent.
Partnerships are formed by the association of people who operate together for joint income, and limited partnership is a form where just some of the partners carry the full responsibility for company debts. Partnership has no legal entity separate from its owners in Australia and in fact belongs to a separate group, not really being counted amongst companies per se. Partnerships in Poland (in form of spółka partnerska , spółka osobowa and spółka komandytowa) belong firmly to companies (spółki) and share many similarities (and differences) with Australian general partnership and limited partnership respectively.
In order to effectively discuss similarities and differences between Australian and Polish companies, I have prepared the following diagram. Please, note that Polish equivalents in brackets aren’t suggested translations, but rather the closest equivalent by resemblance. The diagram focuses on profit-driven organisations (i.e. public and private companies limited by guarantee were excluded).
Companies limited by shares in Australia limit the liability of shareholders to the value of their shares. In this, they are similar to Polish spółka akcyjna.
Private companies limited by shares do not sell its shares to the general public (but on stock exchange etc.) and in this they resemble simple spółka akcyjna, wherein public companies limited by shares permit their shares to be owned by the public at large, in which it is also similar to spółka akcyjna where such a configuration is permitted. Small and large types of private companies do not have any equivalent in Polish business environment and both would fall under the general spółka akcyjna, which permits most sizes.
Companies limited by guarantee (both public and private) are basically non-profit entities. Their limitations place them very close to Polish spółka z ograniczoną odpowiedzialnością (z o.o.), but the main difference lies with the profit-geared nature of sp. z o.o.
I hope this does explain at least some of the differences between Poland and Australia in terms of company types. You are, of course, welcome to ask me questions in the comments and contact me for a no-obligation consultation.