News Pulse for February 26, 2018

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

New mandatory data breach notifications laws to drag Australia into cyber age and make hackers’ lives harder

In the fast-paced world of internet technology, this week Australia took a long-overdue step towards maturity in the digital era, with the introduction of mandatory data breach notification laws.

Recognising that most people perform the important transactions in their lives online now, the law means that if an organisation suffers a breach, and potentially harmful personal details are exposed, then it has to admit it.

A different picture of Airbnb in Australia emerges in scraped data

Airbnb has always maintained it’s about mums and dads renting out space in their homes for a modest profit.

But new data shows an explosion in the number of entire homes and commercial listings, such as serviced apartments run by property managers, on the platform.

Pay up, pronto

In July last year I retired from the advisory business where I had worked for two decades and started my own small business. I am still doing pretty much what I have always been doing – writing, speaking, consulting – but now it’s on my own account. In one sense it is wonderfully liberating: I’m my own boss. But in another sense it has been a bit of a rude awakening.

When I say I run a small business, I do mean small: I employ two people. But while we may be modest, we do make a contribution: we generate an income, buy supplies and pay tax. Repeat that process across the nation and it forms the backbone of many communities.

ATO targets cash-only hair and beauty businesses

Every year, the Australian Tax Office focuses resources on certain sectors of the economy that are seen as hotbeds of tax non-compliance.

This year, driven by a push from government to bring in extra tax dollars, the ATO Australian Taxation Office has set its sights on the cash economy, and the hair and beauty sector has been earmarked for particularly close attention.

Hall & Wilcox announces partnership with fintech hub

The Australian law firm has revealed it has entered into a corporate partnership with one of Asia’s independent fintech innovation hubs.

Hall & Wilcox has announced it has entered into partnership with Stone & Chalk, a not-for-profit organisation designed to be an independent supporter of fintech start-ups that are looking to scale and commercialise their offering.

ANZ buys into Data Republic ahead of open banking

ANZ Banking Group has taken an equity stake in Data Republic and will begin using the data exchange platform to work with outsiders to develop insights about its customers.

The bank’s chief data officer, Emma Gray, said ethical data use needs to be front of mind as the government’s open banking regime is designed. Submissions on the regime, which will let customers direct their bank to give data to a competitor, are due with Treasury in less than a month.

Small business eyes promotion with new Nats leader

Advocates for Australian small business have welcomed the prospect of a seat at the cabinet table, praising a push by Nationals leadership frontrunner Michael McCormack to promote the junior portfolio if he wins Monday’s party room ballot.

Mr McCormack, who ran a small business in his regional electorate before entering Parliament and is a former minister for the sector, has told supporters he wouldn’t be afraid to stand up to Prime Minister Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 in the wake of the Barnaby Joyce affair revelations, despite calls for any reshuffle to be minimal and settled quickly.

User boom lifts MYOB profit

Accounting software company MYOB has unveiled a bumper full-year profit on the back of record online subscriber growth.

Booking a full-year net profit up 16.3 per cent to $60.7m for the 12 months to December 31, the company ( MYO ) said subscriber growth rose 60 per cent during the year, driven by a high online migration rate of non-paying users.

MYOB claims conversion record

MYOB claimed a record rate of migration from its desktop product to its cloud subscription product in 2017, as the maker of accounting software announced a 16.3 per cent jump in net profit after tax to $60.7 million.

Earnings grew 10.8 per cent to $189.9 million in the year ending December 31, up from $171.4 million in 2016, as 10 per cent of the more than 500,000 owners of a downloaded, non-subscription copy of MYOB were convinced to move to the pay-by-the-month version. The proportion of conversions among desktop MYOB owners had been 6 per cent in 2016 and 5 per cent in 2015.

Tax cuts to remain ‘competitive’

The Turnbull Government has joined forces with Qantas to argue the case for its business tax cuts, after the airline posted its best result in its 98-year-history.

The national carrier yesterday posted a $976 million half-year profit, moving it closer to paying corporate tax once again after clearing nearly $1b in tax loss credits from previous years.

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