News Pulse for May 30, 2017

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

How three-year-old Sydney analytics startup SWOOP landed an “amazing” partnership with Facebook

A Sydney-based analytics startup that has been operating for just three years has landed an “amazing” partnership with social media giant Facebook through its Workplace platform .

Dr Laurence Lock Lee and Cai Kjaer founded SWOOP Analytics in 2014 after working in the analytics and consulting space for more than 30 years. The two joined forces to create SWOOP as an analytics solution for businesses wanting to drive employee engagement, and landed a partnership with Microsoft soon after launch.

Why small businesses are in trouble

The clock is ticking for the the Business Council of Australia and the voluntary payment code for small businesses it hopes will head off legislation.

The industry-led Australian Supplier Payment Code unveiled on Monday binds signatory businesses to pay small business suppliers within 30 days of receiving a correct invoice.

The 32 signatory businesses, including the big four banks, Telstra, Coca-Cola, Lion, Energy Australia, Coles Woolworths and Qantas, have also committed to help suppliers implement new technologies and practices to speed up invoicing.

Banks fail to scare

Australia’s corporate insolvency laws are among the most favourable to banks in the world, but this mantle could be threatened by looming changes to wrestle power away from lenders.

The federal government is expected to soon publish legislation it hopes will “reduce the stigma associated with business failure”, and one aspect of this will be an overhaul of insolvency laws.

Scrap payroll tax in five years, Queensland: Small business group makes budget plea

Payroll tax should be eventually scrapped in Queensland and infrastructure spending increased by $6 billion, the state’s peak group for small business has argued.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland says the payroll tax threshold should be lifted from $1.1 million to $1.5 million to deliver tax relief to about 15,500 Queensland businesses, arguing it discourages small businesses from creating additional jobs.

Victorian Small Businesses To Get A Fairer Go

Small businesses across Victoria will be better off under the new Australian Supplier Payment Code launched by the Victorian Government and the Business Council of Australia (BCA).

Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis and BCA CEO Jennifer Westacott unveiled the new nation-wide voluntary code today.

Accounting software start-up Practice Ignition raises $5m from Right Click and Microequities

Accounting practice management technology start-up Practice Ignition has been backed by Australian venture capital funds Microequities Venture Capital Fund, Right Click Capital and Black Sheep Capital to the tune of $5 million.

The cloud-based business was co-founded by former accountant Guy Pearson and user experience designer Dane Thomas, and provides small accounting firms with software to manage their client relationships, workflow and payments.

Stewart moves to new role at Xero

New Zealand based global accounting software company Xero has appointed chief data officer Tony Stewart as head of small business products to take over from Duncan Ritchie who is taking a sabbatical.

Stewart, who will take over the role in June, has led Xero’s focus on automation and data innovation for the past.

Payment times code a good start | The Hon Michael McCormack MP

TODAY’S announcement of a code of conduct for big business payment times to small business is welcomed, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack says.

“Around Australia, I have heard from hundreds of small businesses about a range of issues and payment times are a real concern for many of Australia’s 3.2 million small businesses,” Mr McCormack said.

Banks slash bankruptcies

At least one of Australia’s top insolvency firms has undertaken significant staff retrenchments in recent weeks.

The main reason is the big fall in the demand by big banks that their small business clients be bankrupted.

Another win for small business

Most of Australia’s big corporations have at last woken up to the fact that, collectively, they are no longer our largest employers and the community and the Parliament are demanding they act as good community citizens to boost national prosperity. And, if they don’t, there will be punishment, not always logically delivered, as the banks have just discovered.

In this context, May 29, 2017 was a historic day because the Business Council of Australia changed course and introduced an Australian Suppliers Payment code whereby signatory companies agree to pay eligible Australian small business suppliers on-time and within 30 days of receiving a correct invoice. They also agreed to help suppliers implement new technologies and practices to speed up invoicing.

Five reasons why your SME should seek to implement an ‘anywhere working’ policy

Workplaces continue to evolve. The needs of employees are constantly changing. It has never been so pertinent for businesses to adopt innovative strategies, become more flexible and address the emerging needs of their people and the new business environment.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) introduced an ‘anywhere working’ initiative last year across all five of its Australian and New Zealand offices, and has seen positive business and people engagement results. The initiative allows CWT employees to choose where they’d like to work – at home, in the office, at a café, or a mix of all three.

Nobody playing in govt sandbox

Only one startup has utilised ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au’s regulatory sandbox since it was launched late last year, leading the government to make a series of changes to broaden the scope of the program.

The regulatory sandbox, opened in December last year, was set up to allow eligible FinTech companies to test offerings with real customers without obtaining the necessary licences.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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