News Pulse for September 1, 2016

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

Banks must improve customer service

The federal government’s banking initiatives make perfect sense and arguably would achieve more than a royal commission, with the one big exception that they look to be a political response to the opposition’s call for a royal commission.

David Murray, who chaired a landmark report on the industry two years ago, noted yesterday: “It’s not a good look when a country has a weakening credit rating, a weakening parliamentary authority and calls for an inquiry into the banks when they are in good shape.

“The people I feel sorry for are the staff,” he added, noting they were doing their best but constantly being attacked.

Bank inquiry war: Malcolm Turnbull strikes at Bill Shorten

Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 has branded Bill ShortenHon Bill Shorten MP,  Federal Member for Maribyrnong Leader of the Opposition from 13.10.13 a fake “populist champion” — a latter-day Jack Lang — over his push for a banking royal commission, launching an attack in federal parliament to warn of Labor’s links to industry super funds that compete with the major banks and could win from the inquiry.

The clash came as the Opposition Leader revealed his plan to investigate the “business structures” of the banking sector, fuelling anxieties across the industry and triggering warnings that ordinary Australians would pay the price for the shake-up.

Small business seeks inquiry into SDA deals with Coles, Woolies

The small-business lobby has called for a Senate inquiry into controversial pay deals between major retailers and the shop assistants union, as the union conceded wage agreements with KFC and Hungry Jack’s would no longer get the approval of the Fair Work Commission.

The Council of Small Business Australia will write to the ­Coalition, ALPAustralian Labor Party, the Greens and Senate crossbenchers seeking an inquiry into agreements struck ­between the Shop, Distributive and Allied, Employees Association and Coles and Woolworths.

Ombudsman to review questionable small business lending practices by Aussie banks

The banks’ treatment of small businesses will be “forensically examined” by the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman to weed out questionable lending practices.

The federal government has given Kate Carnell the task of looking into cases raised by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services to determine whether government reforms have done enough to protect small businesses from unfair treatment by Australia’s banking system.

Bank inquiry kills two birds with one stone

The Turnbull government has thwarted Labor ‘s latest push for a royal commission into banks by promising an inquiry into specific cases of alleged mistreatment of small business customers, some of which have links to past and present Liberal MPs.

In a move designed primarily to stop Coalition MPs crossing the floor to support an Opposition motion calling for a royal commission, the government requested Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell to inquire “into the adequacy of the law” to address concerns raised by a Parliamentary committee in a report released in May.

Queensland government injects a further $6 million into regional startups

The Queensland government will inject a further $6 million into driving startup activity and entrepreneurship in regional areas.

The funds will be distributed through Advance Queensland’s Regional Innovation Hubs program, which aims to support, leverage and connect innovative businesses bubbling on its outskirts.

Kelly O’Dwyer launches bank probe to kill off Bill Shorten’s royal commission

The federal government has announced an inquiry into specific cases of mistreatment of small business customers by banks, in a bid to take the steam out of Labor’s call for a royal commission.

In doing so, it has killed off Labor’s push but raised the prospect of further regulation for the sector.

Drivers fear they will cop damage from $2 Uber levy

Uber drivers fear they will bear the cost of the Victorian government’s decision to introduce a levy on ride sharing.

The $2 levy is part of the state government’s plan to legalise ride-sharing services like Uber, while compensating existing taxi drivers and funding a $378 million buy-back scheme for taxi licences.

Inquiry into small business lending practices | The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has been directed by the Turnbull Government to undertake an inquiry into the adequacy of the law to address concerns raised by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services in its report , Impairment of Customer Loans.

Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack said the Ombudsman will examine selected cases identified by the Parliamentary Joint Committee and, pursuant to the attached terms of reference, provide advice to Government to help determine if further regulatory action is required.

SMB Confidence Climbs To A Five Year High

Small and medium business (SMB) confidence has risen to a five-year high, largely due to an improved economic outlook, according to the latest Sensis Business Index survey.

The views of 1,000 SMBS were captured by the Index, which is released by Sensis each quarter. The latest survey found that 60% of SMBS are confident while 16% are worried. The net balance score of +44, being the difference between the percentage of confident and worried businesses, is the highest business confidence score recorded by Sensis since March 2011.

Send invoices directly from one accounting app to another

A new Australian cloud service integrates invoices from Xero, MYOB, QuickBooks, Reckon One, Saasu and Sage One.nnFor many business owners, manually entering paper invoice data into your accounting software can be a time consuming pain.

While some accounting systems such as Xero have features that allow users to send invoices directly to other users of the same system. The catch is that not everyone uses Xero – what about your customers and suppliers who use MYOB, Reckon or Saasu?nnIt’s a problem a new Australian cloud service called Link4 is looking to solve.

Menulog co-founder launches new startup FoodByUs with $2 million in funding to bring the sharing economy to home cooking

The co-founder of Menulog and two experienced Australian entrepreneurs have teamed up to launch a new startup after receiving $2 million in funding to develop the idea.

FoodByUs is a sharing economy platform connecting home cooks with members of the community – think Foodora or Deliveroo but with your neighbour cooking the food instead of a restaurant.

The FoodByUs platform allows vetted home cooks to list their food on a platform, with users then selected what they want and either collecting it or getting it delivered. The startup takes a 20% cut from every transaction made on the platform.

Deloitte calls for tech start-up incentives

According to Deloitte, Australia’s innovation future is under threat, due to the many high-growth start-ups, or ‘gazelles’, being lured overseas. They are attracted by favourable incentives, opportunities to network with like-minded gazelles and potential investors, as well as profile-building opportunities in innovation hotspots around the world.
Deloitte has asserted that Australia needs to do more to incentivise start-up companies, in order to prevent talented people and business potential from leaving the country.

Wyatt Roy gets his first post-politics job as director of a newly launched venture capital startup fund

Wyatt RoyThe Hon. Wyatt Roy, Federal Member for Longman Assistant Minister for Innovation from 21.9.15’s first job post-politics will be as an independent director of a proposed new $55 million publicly-listed fintech fund launched by the founders of H2 Ventures.

According to a prospectus listed on the ASX on Tuesday, the 26-year old former federal MP and startup spokesperson will be an independent non-executive director of the H2Ocean VC fund, along with finance expert and Sunrise host David Koch and Beyond Bank Australia chair Anne O’Donnell.

NBN Boosting SMB Productivity: Telstra

Telstra says that many SMBs on the National Broadband Network (NBN), which continues to be rolled out across Australia, are enjoying a productivity boost and a reduction in operational costs among other benefits.

In a survey of SMBs on the network, conducted by the telco, 41% reported improved productivity, 15% reported decreased business costs – with the regional experience being slightly higher at 19% – and 5% cited increased revenue as a result of the connection to the network, which is designed to provide fast broadband.

Australian SMEs Slow To Move Into Global Expansion

Despite globalisation removing barriers to overseas expansion, it appears that SME owners are not yet convinced of the benefits. Recent data from Bentleys, a mid-tier accounting and business advisory firm, found that only 19% of Australian and New Zealand businesses operated in overseas markets.

The latest The Voice of Australian Business survey, a bi-annual national survey of SMEs, revealed that a majority of businesses operating overseas are medium-sized, rather than small or micro, with the most common markets for expansion being the USA, UK and Asia.

Apple’s headache is the start of tax revenue wars – and Australia may join the fight

The tax revenue wars have begun – and Australia may join the fight soon.

Welcome to a new era of trying to force multinationals like Apple to pay their ‘fair share’ in taxes.

An era where governments – who have long enabled and assisted multinationals with special deals that allow them to legally pay less taxes – are now changing tune and battling each other about which nation has the right to tax.

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


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