News Pulse for September 11, 2017


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

Reform gives super control

Australia’s overhauled superannuation system is now well into its first financial year and with Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer announcing there will be “no further changes” both investors and advisers are adjusting rapidly to the new rules.

Moreover, though, there is a significant chance that an ALPAustralian Labor Party election win may change investment rules once more. The key changes are likely to be in the areas of negative gearing and capital gains tax rather than super.

Will Amazon kill Gerry Harvey’s dream?

One of the biggest bugbears for small businesses in Australia is financing. Whether it is to get a business off the ground or to expand and grow, small and medium business (SME) owners will tell you that finding capital is hard. The reality for many small business owners is that the major banks talk a good game but don’t always follow through with the goods.

It’s worthwhile looking at the state of play in other countries now to see where we stand on issues such as access to financing. The annual OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development SME financing report, released in April and titled Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2017: an OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Scoreboard , gives us some interesting comparisons and insights into what we’re doing right in terms of broader policies, some of the things we’re getting wrong, and what other countries are doing.

Queensland business loses $1.9M to cyber scam

The Queensland Police Financial and Cyber Crime Group is warning small businesses of a cyber scam that has cost at least one local business a $1.9 million loss.

A local company trading in Brisbane has been targeted in a cyber attack that saw malware access its systems in order to acquire the business client list.

In this particular attack, the perpetrator accessed the invoice template the company issues to its customers and modified the account details. The cyber culprit then forward that email to companies on the business’s client list, which ultimately resulted in this business losing almost $2 million.

Easier to shrink than to expand

Medium-sized businesses are 10 times more likely to revert to being small businesses than they are to grow into large companies, analysis by the Department of Industry has found.

Mid-sized firms face barriers to growth from the market dominance of larger firms as well as from their own lack of ambition and ability, according to a paper by the department’s chief economist, Mark Cully.

Wyatt risks war at both ends of town as budget hits workers and big business

The McGowan Government is at risk of simultaneous wars with both business and the union movement, after an angry reaction to measures announced in its first budget yesterday.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt will be trying to ease anger from the top end of town, after increasing payroll tax and gold royalties, when he fronts a post-budget breakfast with about 1,000 business leaders this morning.

While facing a backlash from business, unions are also angry at moves to cut thousands of public sector jobs within the next year.

Is Amazon going to crash the retailers’ Christmas party?

As if retailers weren’t having a tough enough time already, now it looks likely the global giant Amazon is going to crash their Christmas party.

All the signs are Amazon could mobilise its Australian operations in the next 60 days, perhaps even as early next month, according to Citi retail analyst Brian Raymond.

‘The algorithm ate my homework’ is no excuse: ASIC

The corporate regulator wants financial services firms deploying algorithms to make sure their logic is explicable to customers and regulators and that a human being is made responsible for any problems that might emerge with the computer code.

Pointing to a more intense focus by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on accountability for mistakes made by new technology, its chairman Greg Medcraft said he did not want to see technology platforms or algorithms “shifting risk to consumers and other areas of society”. If an algorithm made a mistake due to an error in its inputs or issues with the code’s design, companies must ensure there are avenues for redress, he said.

Xero users targeted by info stealer malware

Sophisticated phishing attack.

Customers of web-based accounting software provider Xero were hit by a phishing attack that attempts to plant malware on their computers last month, researchers have revealed.

Security vendor Trustwave said it discovered what it called a sophisticated phishing email campaign in August that purported to be from Xero.

Car loan commissions curbed

The corporate cop has continued to ramp up pressure on the car finance market, with the latest measures set to ban lucrative flex commissions paid to dealers who have been allowed to set exorbitant interest rates on loans.

Flex commissions, which are not often found in any other markets other than in car finance, have given dealers the freedom to charge customers loans around 7 per cent higher than the lowest available rate in the market.

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