News Pulse for May 17, 2017

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Why Sydney startup Shippit knocked back more than half of its $5 million series A offer

Australian logistics management software startup Shippit has secured $2.2 million in series A funding, with an eye on expanding into Asia.

The round was led by Aura Group, which started a venture capital fund in May last year with an aim to raise $30 million. Adventure Fund and RTL Group Investments also contributed.

Shippit was originally seeking $3 million but co-founder and executive officer Rob Hango-Zada said the business grew so well during the raise that in the end it didn’t need that much.

Security cameras proposed for Uber drivers’ private cars as new Queensland legislation goes through Parliament

Uber drivers may be forced to install security cameras in their private cars under a raft of legal changes recommended for ride-booking laws by Queensland Parliament.

An unusually large number of suggested amendments to the proposed new legislation about ride-booking have been recommended before the bill is passed.

Parcel delivery startup Sendle just scored an eBay executive as its head of growth

Parcel delivery service Sendle has hired eBay’s former head of shipping as it continues to expand and gear up to take on Amazon when it launches in Australia.

eCommerce veteran Apurva Chiranewala joins Sendle as its head of growth.

Actions that got Sensis got into trouble – and how they remedied them

“Not happy Jan!” Suddenly the famous yellow pages advertisement line that boosted sales between 2000 and 2003 has been turned back on its promoter, Sensis.

Sensis classified advertising contracts in yellow and white pages directories have been deemed “unfair” by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the company has now completely rewritten them and will offer compensation to the 10,000 or so people likely to have been badly treated.

Morrison fobs off ex-Treasury boss’s call for bank levy inquiry

Federal Treasurer Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 has scoffed at former Treasury secretary Ken Henry’s criticism of the proposed new banking levy.

Dr Henry has called for a full public inquiry into the surprise budget measure, which is expected to raise more than $6 billion over four years.

Why accountants want a closer look at CPA Australia’s books

As professional services organisations go in the normally staid world of accounting, CPA Australia certainly generates a fair bit of publicity – although, of late, not all of it is good.

It has spent millions promoting itself – and its chief executive Alex Malley – but has left many members seething in the process.

While a growing number of CPA’s rank and file say those at the top of their organisation are grossly overpaid, there are also new concerns that CPA’s foray into financial advice has turned out to be a giant money pit, chewing up money intended for the professional development of members.

Shippit says no to extra cash

Sydney-based logistics start-up Shippit has knocked back $2.8 million in oversubscribed ­series A funding, instead opting for a strategic $2.2m funding round that it says will drive an expansion into Asia-Pacific.

Shippit’s co-founder and joint-chief executive Rob Hango-Zada told The Australian that when the funding, led by APAC venture fund Aura Group, exceeded the company’s initial funding target, he and joint-CEO William On ­decided to re-evaluate their needs.

ASIC pushes banks to follow law on business loans

The major banks have failed to remove unfair contract terms from small business loans six months after it became law to do so, prompting intervention by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au) and the Australian Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO).

Under laws that came into effect on November 12, 2016, after passing Parliament a year earlier, banks are obliged to remove a series of clauses and covenants from new loans of up to $1 million to businesses employing fewer than 20 staff.

Big Four agree to change their unfair SME contract terms

The big banks have bowed to months of pressure from the small business ombudsman and ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au. Following a roundtable discussion last week, the Big Four banks have today agreed to a series of comprehensive changes to small business loan contracts entered into or renewed from 12 November 2016.

This announcement  follows months of mounting pressure from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au) to get the banks to change their small business loan contracts in November 2016, having been given a one-year transition period to do so.

WannaCry ransomware linked to North Korean hackers

SECURITY researchers have found a link between the crippling WannaCry ransomware and North Korean hackers.

Symantec Corp and Kaspersky Lab have identified similarities in the code used to create WannaCry and programs written by the North Korean hacking group known as Lazarus responsible for a string of cyber attacks including the high-profile Sony attack in the wake of the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy The Interview and a string of attacks launched on banks in 18 countries last month.

‘Patience has run out’: Banks to bow to pressure on unfair small business contracts

A slow approach from the big four banks in meeting their obligations under unfair contracts legislation has earned them a rebuke from the small business ombudsman.

Legislation to protect small businesses from unfair terms in loan contracts was passed in November but the banks had failed to rule out unfair contractual terms until a round-table meeting this week with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Multinationals and large companies withholding subbies’ payments for cashflow, inquiry told

Departments should better protect subcontractors vulnerable to companies withholding money from them during government projects to build cashflow, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.

The national small business ombudsman told an inquiry into government procurement last week that multinationals and large companies were hurting subcontractors by delaying their payments to reap more interest and credit.

Australian start-up Clearways wins global recognition for road-user tax plan

Getting motorists to pay their road taxes by the kilometre sounds crazy.

But that’s exactly what a new Australian start-up – which has been shortlisted for the world’s second-richest economics prize after the Nobel – is trying to do.

Multinational tax net tightens

The Tax Office says the more than $10 million legal cost of fighting global oil giant Chevron in court was worth every cent – even if the company appeals to the High Court – since the agency feels it now has firepower to chase hundreds of millions of dollars in tax bills from other companies using dubious tax schemes.

On Tuesday the Australian Taxation Office will release new transfer pricing guidance. This is aimed at helping companies with cross-border financing – in 2015 worth about $420 billion across the economy – meet their obligations.

When the yellow pages ruled the earth

Sensis small business customers are not happy after their contracts automatically renewed, prompting an unprecedented response by the competition watchdog.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a court-enforceable undertaking in its first action under the small business unfair contracts legislation which was passed in November last year.

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