Pulse Alert – News Pulse for December 7, 2018

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

Better data leads to better outcomes

The StartupAus 2018 Crossroads report makes ten recommendations for policy changes that would help make Australia one of the best places in the world to build and grow a startup.

It is not an exhaustive list of policy ideas. It is not a wish-list, it is a pragmatic list.

SMEs are paying more than $130k to resolve disputes

According to new research small businesses in Australia are paying more than $130,000 to resolve a dispute through formal pathways. This is double the cost of a decade ago

Releasing the results of the  Access to Justi ce I nquiry  (Phase I) research, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell said payment times and terms remain the biggest cause of disputes.

Momentum grows for SME fund

National Australia Bank has used a government roundtable to offer to chair an industry working group and spearhead plans for a private equity-style small business fund proposed by Treasurer Josh FrydenbergThe Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Federal Member for Kooyong Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia from 21.9.15.

A landmark meeting was held yesterday in Canberra between stakeholders including Mr Frydenberg, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe, three of the big four banks and HSBC. The Australian understands ANZ Bank was the only big four lender not to attend the roundtable.

Low tax burden evades firms

Australia is more dependent on highly volatile company tax revenu­e than almost any other advanced nation, while making much less use of more stable taxes on consumption.

The OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s annual review of government finances shows Australi­a is one of the lowest-­taxing nations overall, but it hits its business sector much harder, raising the equivalent of 4.6 per cent of GDP in company taxes, which is almost double the OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average of 2.9 per cent.

APRA opens door to SME growth fund

A government-proposed fund for banks to inject equity into growing small businesses has received a boost, with the prudential regulator signalling it is willing to consider regulatory concessions to make the vehicle commercially viable.

At a roundtable hosted by Treasurer Josh FrydenbergThe Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Federal Member for Kooyong Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia from 21.9.15 in Canberra on Thursday, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe told commercial bankers and AustralianSuper that fixing a lack of funding to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) would be good for the economy.

Innovation has lost its meaning

Alex McCauley, is worried the word ‘innovation’ has become too political after former Prime Minister Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15’s 2015 mantra was dubbed a failure.

“It’s lost it’s meaning, it’s been broadened to include everything,” the chief executive of advocacCommunications Access Co-ordinatory group StartupAus said. “It’s not very tangible for people, they don’t understand what innovation is. That’s something that we have to do better at, distinguishing what we want, rather than innovation more broadly.”

StartupAus Crossroads report: Why startups and “intellectual capital” are the future of Aussie exports

The fifth annual StartupAus Crossroads report paints a relatively positive view of the state of Aussie startups over the past five years, noting a strong – and continually stronger – fundamental base for growth, along with increased capital in the market, and unicorns such as Atlassian and Canva to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Although October’s Startup Muster report showed a decline in the number of active and new startups in Australia, StartupAus chief Alex McCauley says the startup sector has still seen rapid growth over the past half a decade.

R&D changes now ‘life or death’

The federal government’s planned changes to the research and development tax incentive present a “critical risk” to Australian startups, and could lead to the collapse of many companies or the sector as a whole.

In this year’s StartupAus Crossroads report, recommendations for ambitious improvements to the research and development tax incentive (RDTI) – the focus of previous years – have been replaced with a call to just keep the scheme alive for startups.

KKR unit squeezes banks as MYOB diligence wraps up

Private equity giant KKR & Co is throwing its weight around and it seeks to put a $1 billion-plus debt deal together for MYOB.

Sources said the firm’s funding headkickers – its specialist KKR Capital Markets (KCM) unit – was trying to squeeze every last inch out of a big bunch of international and local banks vying for lead roles in the syndicate.

ATO searches for “chatty” digital services platform

The Australian Taxation Office has started searching for a future digital services platform to deliver “chatty” digital services to its tax and super clients using APIs.

Australia’s revenue agency this week kicked-off the official hunt for a replacement for its existing e-ecommerce platform to transform how digital services are consumed for reporting obligations.

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