News Pulse for January 11, 2018

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

Small business interest rates hit 20-year low, but there’s more to the SME finance story 

The Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) says small businesses are benefiting from record-low low-interest rates on business loans, but when it comes to finance, smaller operators are worried about more than just the amount they’ll repay once they secure a loan.

The ABA says data from the Reserve Bank of Australia reveals that over the past six years interest rates for small businesses have fallen to the lowest levels since data started to be collected on the amount SMEs pay for finance.

Small business interest rates hit record low

RBAReserve Bank of Australia data reveals the average interest on small business loans is the lowest it has been since at least 1993, with owners paying $9 billion less than they were six years ago, according to the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA).

Noting that small businesses are a significant driver of the economy, ABA Chief Economist Tony Pearson said anything that assists them is “good news.’

State governments, multinationals lagging on payment terms

Payment terms are continuing to improve for SMEs, but state governments and multinational corporations have been identified as being the main culprits of withholding payments past their due date.

Analysis by Dun & Bradstreet found that late payment times were down nearly 10 percent in the September quarter of 2017, with the average outstanding invoice sitting at 12.6 days.

SMEs report lacklustre hiring intentions

Hiring intentions for the SME sector look rather bleak for 2018, if the results of two new surveys are indicative of the national trend.

A straw poll on the My Business website, conducted over the month between 6 December 2017 and 9 January 2018, found that close to half (43.9 percent) of respondents intend to keep staff numbers roughly the same.

Small business cops brunt of cyber crime attacks

Almost half of all cyber crime targets small businesses in Australia, according to a newly released Australian Government pamphlet designed to raise awareness of cyber crime and help small businesses achieve better cyber security preparedness.

Published by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, the pamphlet is titled  “Get Cyber Secure – Three Quick Steps to Serenity”,  the pamphlet notes that 43% of cybercrime targets smaller businesses, and encourages businesspeople to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity: regular data backups; up-to-date patching of applications; strong passwords; and multi-layered protection.

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