News Pulse for December 15, 2017

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

Blockchain start-ups urge RBA to start eAUD experiments

Blockchain developers have urged the Reserve Bank to start experimenting with digital-dollar technologies rather than just observing them.

RBAReserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe said the central bank was reluctant to issue a new form of digital banknote – the eAUD – for use in retail markets given the arrival in February of the ‘new payments platform’.

More tap-and-go payment options for small businesses

The Commonwealth Bank and Invoice2Go offer new services that will allow any business to easily accept payments.

Competition to get small businesses using tap-and-go services to accept payments is heating up with simultaneous announcement of a new service from the Commonwealth Bank and Invoice2Go.

The new CommBank service will enable its business customers to accept tap-and-go payments via their phone, while Invoice2Go will enable businesses to do the same via a small PayPal device.

SME lending a “river of gold”

Mortgage and wealth management franchise Yellow Brick Road (YBR) is positioning itself for a future in which small and medium enterprise lending will play a major role within the financial space.

In an interview with Australian Broker, YBR executive chairman Mark Bouris said that the current push by government into the small business space would transform banking, lending, and finance.

Effective security key to the success of Australia’s open banking strategy

Financial firms and their customers stand to gain significant benefits from Australia’s planned open banking ecosystem. However, before those benefits can be realised, there are key security issues that need to be resolved.

The concept of open banking involves making the financial data of customers traditionally held by banks available to third-party fintech firms. These firms, in turn, then use that data to create a range of new and innovative services.

SMEs failing on flexible working

Workplace flexibility is hotting up as an increasingly important issue for employees, yet SMEs are failing to embrace this – with risks to both their staffing levels and productivity.

Research by MYOB found that most businesses in the big end of town, as well as microbusinesses, are offering flexibility for the employees. Yet among SMEs, this proportion falls significantly – as low as 13 percent of businesses have 10 to 19 employees.

MYOB, Reckon merger under scrutiny by NZ’s competition regulator

New Zealand’s competition regulator is considering whether to give the go ahead to the proposed merger between accounting software solutions companies MYOB and Reckon.

The ASX-listed MYOB, one of Australia’s largest accounting software players, is seeking New Zealand clearance to acquire the accountants’ group business of Reckon which provides accounting, tax, and other software to accounting practices under the Reckon APS brand in New Zealand.

P2P lending attracts scrutiny

lending: The corporate watchdog says it will keep an eye on the peer-to-peer lending sector, which has doubled in size in the past year, and has raised concerns about inadequate disclosure to investors.

In a report released yesterday, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said “additional compliance concerns” uncovered in its survey of the industry included failure to disclose fees and risks of investing in peer-to-peer, or “marketplace”, lending.

Audit okays ATO’s billion-dollar settlements

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has given a tick of approval to the Australian Tax Office’s approach to settling disputes with taxpayers rather than heading to court.

The ATO Australian Taxation Office has previously faced criticism that, while it is settling cases worth billions of dollars with the top end of town, it takes a hardline stance against smaller players , who have fewer resources and knowledge to defend themselves.

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