News Pulse for September 20, 2017

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

Intuit’s bold Quickbooks plan

US accounting software giant Intuit, the maker of Quickbooks, has declared it wants to be the market leader in Australia within five years, as it talked up a new partnership with fellow tech titan Google.

Intuit’s global chief sales and marketing officer, Lucas Watson, said despite heavy competition in Australia from the likes of MYOB, Xero and Sage, Intuit was well-positioned to overtake those competitors and become the software of choice for accountants here.

Hacking fears drive businesses offline

Small businesses are going offline amid fears of hacking with the number of businesses hosting their own website down from 61 per cent to 52 per cent, according to the 2017 Sensis eBusiness Report.

The survey of more than 1000 small and medium businesses found that 81 per cent of business owners were worried about hacking, up from 69 per cent previously.

Xero launches new expenses, projects and more

The cloud accounting provider makes its “biggest ever” announcement of new apps and features.

Xero used its annual Xerocon conference held in Melbourne recently to make what it says is its biggest ever announcement of new features.

E-commerce and Australian business

In my previous post on the Selected Characteristics of Australian Businesses I took a look at the share of Australian firms selling into overseas markets, noting both that this was quite low, and also that it had been relatively stable in recent years.

In the context of today’s internet-enabled economy, those findings could be seen as somewhat puzzling. One of the benefits of the internet in general, and of e-commerce in particular, is supposed to be a reduction in trading costs, both national and international. Moreover, we do have some evidence in support of that proposition. For example, eBay data show that Australian businesses on the eBay platform are much more likely to be involved in exporting than those not using the platform (the same holds true for businesses across a range of economies):

Small business needs cyber security plan

Many small- and medium-sized businesses could be at risk of losing money and customers because they don’t have a cyber security plan.

Only 13 per cent of small businesses have a plan to protect their money and valuable client data, according to a monthly survey of 400 small business owners by online business management solutions provider MYOB Group.

Government rules out tax cut for family trusts

The government has released draft legislation clarifying that passive investment companies and corporate beneficiaries of family trusts will not be able to access lower tax rate for small businesses.

A media release from Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer this week revealed that the policy decision made by the government to cut the tax rate for small companies was not meant to apply to passive investment companies.

Previously, there was uncertainty around this with a draft ruling from the ATO Australian Taxation Office stating that the tax cut for small business would also apply to passive investment companies and corporate beneficiaries of family trusts .

Macquarie’s open bank initiative

Macquarie has launched an  ‘Australian-first’ open banking platform, letting its customers to share their own data with local FinTech startups.

The API-driven open banking platform gives customers the option to connect their bank data with third-party providers, removing the need to reveal their banking logins to these providers.

Turnbull government excludes passive investment companies from small business tax rate

The Australian government has released a draft tax legislation for consultation to clarify that passive investment companies cannot access the lower company tax rate for small businesses. The exposure draft bill amends the tax law to ensure that if 80 percent or more of a company’s income is of a passive nature such as dividends and interests, it will not qualify for the lower company tax rate.

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer said the government’s policy decision to cut the tax rate for small companies was not meant to apply to passive investment companies. “The Turnbull Government is committed to lower taxes on business because we want to see them invest and grow,” the minister said in a media release.

Enterprise deals ‘unworkable’

Employers have called on the Turnbull government to change workplace laws, warning enterprise bargaining in the retail and fast-food sectors was “grinding to a halt”.

Australian Industry Group chief executive lnnes Willox last night accused the Fair Work Commission of taking an “unworkable” approach to the approval of enterprise agreements. The Fair Work Act’s better-off-overall test (BOOT) should no longer require every employee covered by an enterprise agreement to be better off than they would be under the award, he said.

Small business registrations should be streamlined | Invest in Australia

The Australian Small Business and Family Ombudsman has called for the consolidation of registration requirements for small business.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the optimal outcome would be one form hosted by a single agency on a single website to update the multiple registries that exist.

Macquarie’s open bank initiative

Macquarie has launched an  ‘Australian-first’ open banking platform, letting its customers to share their own data with local FinTech startups.

The API-driven open banking platform gives customers the option to connect their bank data with third-party providers, removing the need to reveal their banking logins to these providers.

Invoice financing heavyweight Waddle expands to NZ

The fintech lender plans to meet the “significant demand” from New Zealand SMEs. Australian fintech Waddle, which first started providing invoice financing and factoring services to small businesses in 2014, has today announced its expansion into New Zealand.

Waddle has been focusing on the Australian market up until now given that Dun & Bradstreet figures estimate there to be 60,000 B2B companies in Australia operating in industries suitable for debtor finance.

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

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