News Pulse for December 8, 2017

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

APIs, the secret sauce of the future for SMEs

Technology was once the province of large companies. It was expensive, it was complex. But today the increased accessibility of digital service solutions is levelling the playing field for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), allowing them to compete on more equal terms larger competitors online.

Now a new frontier is opening up in the form of application-programming interfaces (APIs) which sit at the centre of the rapid digital evolution and pose a huge opportunity for SMEs.

Small businesses warned not to let their workers foot the bill for work Christmas parties

It’s the time of year to celebrate big wins and bond as a team, but can you force an employee to attend your Christmas function?

Many business owners will be keen to get their whole staff on board for end-of-year bonding, but legal experts warn employers to be careful when it comes to the communications — and the costs — that go with a Christmas party invitation.

Wage-growth winners riding the boom in discretionary services

As millions of Australians struggle with record-low wage growth , a surprising group of pay winners is emerging: discretionary service workers. Some earn more than many white-collar workers, despite doing jobs that require less investment in education.

Consider the young personal fitness trainer who charges $70 an hour and is booked out. Completing a four-month fitness certificate is their passport to a six-figure salary – and an early return on investment that exceeds that of many university graduates.

“We’re positioned to be amongst the world’s top 50 fintechs next year,” says MoneyMe CEO

Millennial-centric fintech lender MoneyMe has hit some impressive milestones in 2017. In addition to reaching $150 million in loans funded, the North Sydney startup received a $120 million capital injection and debuted on the coveted Fintech100 list, placing it amongst the world’s most innovative fintech companies. Despite reaching lofty heights, co-founder and CEO Clayton Howes believes MoneyMe can soar even higher next year.

The entrepreneur spoke to Dynamic Business about the pain points MoneyMe addresses for millennials, and how he and co-founder Steve Bannigan plan to build on the four-year-old company’s momentum. He also explained MoneyMe’s “orchestrated, methodical approach” to securing a $120 million capital facility – $100 million from Fortress Investment Group plus $20 million in bonds issued by corporate advisory Evans & Partners – last month.

R&D spend falling: innovation tsar

Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15’s 2015 innovation package has been the catalyst for a fourfold boost to venture capital, but the government’s chief innovation adviser, Bill Ferris, says business spending on research is continuing its long decline.

Mr Ferris, who heads the Office for Information and Science Australia (ISA), is concerned that the focus on innovation that the Prime Minister promoted in his early days in office has suffered as a result of community concern about job losses.

Government offers $18 million in grants in digital overhaul of Small Business Advisory Service 

The federal government is changing up a national small business advisory grants program to help get more Australian companies up to scratch on digital strategies, with $18 million on offer over the next three years for advisers to help SMEs boost their knowledge about online sales, cybersecurity and digital marketing.

Small Business Minister Michael McCormack announced an overhaul of the Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBASAustralian Small Business Advisory Service www.business.gov.au/asbas) program on Wednesday, committing the grant funding to operators in the business advisory space that run programs to help small businesses in their community get up to date on the digital skills that are now considered key to succeeding in a global trading environment.

Which companies paid no tax last year?

There were 732 companies who paid no tax in Australia in the 2015-16 financial year. Collectively, their income was more than $500 billion.

It’s all in a dataset on corporate tax just released by the Australian Tax Office.

Shocking lack of angel investor data

The federal government has released the first statistics on the effectiveness of its $100 million angel investor tax incentives scheme introduced nearly 18 months ago.

AdvocacCommunications Access Co-ordinatory group StartupAus has raised concerns over the lack of transparency around the scheme, which it says risks ruining what should be a “game-changing” program.

Enhancing whistleblower protections | The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP

The Turnbull Government today introduced a Bill to pave the way for stronger protections for whistleblowers who expose corporate and tax misconduct.

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said the Bill is a significant milestone because it creates a single, enhanced whistleblower protection regime to cover the corporate and financial sectors.

ATO should stick to its job

On behalf of 16 frightened victims of Australian Taxation Office small business policies I want to thank Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer for her background role in restoring their Australian business numbers.

They can now earn income in the weeks leading to Christmas.

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

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