News Pulse for September 20, 2016

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

Australia has an internationalisation, not an innovation and R&D problem

Prime Minister Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15’s innovation agenda is being questioned again after both the Coalition and Labor agreed to make cuts to Australia’s R&D tax incentive .

Investors say the tax incentive is critical in encouraging startups to channel funds into innovative technology. Yet, international comparisons consistently show Australia does not have an innovation problem, it has an internationalisation problem.

Turnbull’s hidden achievements

Its too early write off Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15’s government. We have just seen a volley of somewhat misleading commentaries in all forms of media claiming that Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 had achieved virtually nothing in his first year of office and members of the Coalition are bracing themselves for a drubbing at the hands of Bill ShortenHon Bill Shorten MP,  Federal Member for Maribyrnong Leader of the Opposition from 13.10.13 at the next election.

Even Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 would have to concede that his first year as Prime Minister was a great disappointment, particularly on the economic management side.

Small businesses tapping into NBN

The NBN is creating a quiet revolution in the way business gets done as the network makes its way across Australia.

The NBN is expected to fully roll out in 2020 and pass eight million premises. At that point the nation will have access to download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and uploads of 5 Mbps. Most premises will have access to much higher speeds than these.

Grant competition to attract SMEs

The federal Department of Industry steadfastly refuses to call it a procurement policy or an industry development program, but the Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) is a new way of thinking from government on both, and it should offer opportunities for small Australian companies.

The Business Research and Innovation Initiative is a competitive problem-solving process. It is simple enough. The government defines a problem and publishes it online. Small businesses can then respond with an innovative solution.

Government chases big productivity goals, but SMEs want the little things

The federal government is turning its attention a “productivity” agenda, but one of Australia’s most prominent retail figures says there’s a lot of work to do to secure the nation’s economic future.

Premier Investments founder Solomon Lew told an audience at an Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce last week that Australia had wasted the proceeds of the mining boom while critical issues like penalty rates still have not been resolved, according to the Herald Sun .

Small businesses may miss out on $100 discount for using Single Touch Payroll system

Small businesses may not receive a tax offset for using Standard Business Reporting Software as part of the federal government’s Single Touch Payroll (STP) system.

The $100 rebate, which was to be available from July 2017, was first announced by former small business minister Kelly O’Dwyer in December 2015 , alongside an announcement that the government will conduct a pilot of the STP system in the first half of 2017, which will focus on small businesses.

SMEs given extra banking protections under new contracts law

Unfair standard form contracts legislation that protect consumers will be extended to include small businesses from November this year. The new law will cover businesses that employ fewer than 20 people where the upfront price payable under the contract is no more than $300,000, or $1 million if the contract is for more than 12 months.

Standard form contracts are those where there is little or no room to negotiate terms and conditions. They are frequently offered to small businesses by large suppliers such as telcos, lenders and insurance companies on a “take it or leave it” basis.

Technology adoption delayed by small business

Commonwealth Bank research shows that the majority of Australian small businesses prefer to postpone the adoption of new technology into everyday operations.

The research examines three priorities through the eyes of Australian small businesses: technology, finance and work-life balance.

Small to medium enterprises ditch big banks for their financing

More small and medium-sized businesses are planning to walk away from the big four banks, with new research showing one in five SMEs eyeing specialist non-bank lenders to finance their growth.

The latest SME survey from recently listed debtor finance group Scottish Pacific showed 20 per cent of small businesses were looking to get finance from a specialist non-bank lender, an almost 30 per cent rise compared with the same time last year.

Innovation stems from disrupting standards serving status quo

Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 recently proposed changes to competition law following findings that it failed to ­effectively target and deter anti-competitive conduct.

While this may come as a surprise to some, especially considering the supposed ideas boom we are living in, it’s actually a welcome effort for many who are in the business of transforming busi­nesses: those who are encouraging established organisations to shake up their processes and drive genuine innovation, or working with entrepreneurs who are disrupting the way we communicate and do business every day.

Finding the businesses of tomorrow

From payroll and project management to communication and file storage, technology has not only streamlined the way businesses work, but helped save businesses time and money. But is investment in technology at the top of the priority list for businesses the next quarter?

More than 9 in 10 SMEs unaware of their credit score: survey

93% of small business owners have never checked their business credit score, according to research by MYOB and OnDeck.

The survey of 380 small-to-medium business owners for the MYOB SME Snapshot highlights a major blind spot for business owners, said OnDeck, which recently launched a free online tool to address this gap.

Govt opens $23m start-up incubator support program

The federal government is set to reveal the details of its $23 million Incubator Support program, which Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Greg Hunt says will help start-ups get better access to advice, capital and valuable connections.

The initiative was first given $8 million of funding as part of the Innovation Statement , but it then received a $15 million boost over four years in June, as part of Prime Minister Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15’s election campaign.

Sentry Group partners with fintech start-up

Under the heads of agreement, Intiger will provide Sentry Group with a framework for the development and delivery of a centralised back office service, Sentry Group said.

The new back office service will bring Future of Financial Advice and Life Insurance Framework reforms in to consideration and place client best interests “firmly at the centre” of the operational model, said Sentry Group chief executive Murray Hills.

An Aussie fintech startup is helping financial advisers fight back in the war against robots

It’s not exactly bleak, but the future for financial advisers – humans ones – is a littler cloudier now than it has been in the past.

Cheap roboadvice products are infiltrating the market, offering easy-to-use products, advice and even investing money on a user’s behalf.


Here’s your loan and insurance policy. Want tax advice with that?

Digital disruption to the tax profession isn’t just about the ATO Australian Taxation Office’s reinvention plans . Financial institutions have entered the playing field.

In the banking sector, the ANZ Bank for example has a Small Business Hub with links to lots of helpful tools, one of which is a business set-up product “powered by Honcho”, a business name for a company registered by the Tax Practitioners Board to provide tax agent services. For a low monthly fee, the ANZ-Honcho tax-related service offerings include an ABN registration service, GST registration and BAS lodgment. Other charges apply for specified “A La Carte Start Up services”

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


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