Pulse Alert – News Pulse for April 16, 2019

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

Election campaign tech wishlist

The federal election campaign has officially kicked off, and it’s already clear that the tech sector will not feature in the prominent way it did during former PM Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15’s campaign last time around.

Along with strengthening the research and development tax incentive, better support programs and skills programs, the main thing that the various tech industry groups want from the campaign is just a recognition of the sector and its economic and job-creating potential.

‘Grim picture for business’

Labor’s $17 billion crackdown on trusts has come under attack from business groups and commercial finance brokers who have urged a rethink of the policy and warned the shake-up could punish about 350,000 small to medium enterprises.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CPA Australia, the Council of Small Business of Australia and Commercial Asset Finance Brokers Association are leading a pushback against Mr Shorten’s attack on trusts, demanding more detail on the overhaul.

‘Faster than we can fund ourselves’: Startup lenders boom as small business ditches banks for alternative options 

Small businesses both locally and abroad are increasingly turning to non-bank sources for loans, with alternative-lending startups almost growing faster than they can handle.

Two separate reports last week indicated SMEs were eschewing big banks as their typical sources of funding, instead setting their sights on new market entrants offering more competitive rates and better service.

SocietyOne, Judo CEOs warn on Hayne credit squeeze

Fears of falling foul of responsible lending laws are slowing down the pace of credit assessment, the CEOs of ASX-float candidate SocietyOne and soon-to-be business bank Judo said but they are split on who to blame.

SocietyOne is warning good customers will be penalised by regulatory-led efforts to catch the tiny minority of fraudulent applications, but Judo says longer timelines for loan approvals are inevitable and necessary as banks re-learn the lost skills of assessing small business cash flow.

Banks rejecting SMEs for finance

The challenge of securing bank finance is seeing a growing number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) turn to online lenders.

One in four SMEs have been knocked back for bank finance

Among SMEs rejected by a bank, one in three have turned to family/friends or a credit card for funding

Of those SMEs that have secured bank finance, 29% of SMEs have had their business negatively impacted by the time taken to organise funding

One in four SMEs plan to apply for finance in the future

Research commissioned by OnDeck, a leading online SME lender, highlights the problems that small businesses face trying to secure finance.

Labor flags start-up R&D reprieve

Shadow Innovation Minister Kim Carr has flagged plans to exempt start-ups from the research and development incentive claw backs, which shocked the sector late last year, if Labor wins government, but warned the local tech sector it must stop “talking down” to society if it wants to win back broader political support.

In a wide-ranging interview to discuss issues related to the national innovation agenda, Senator Carr, who also holds the Industry, Science and Research portfolios, said Labor would avoid the Turnbull-era mistake of scaring citizens with talk of disruption, and put the spotlight on innovation in traditional industries.

New rules target procurement black economy

Businesses seeking to tender for Australian government procurement contracts will for the first time have to show proof they have squeaky clean tax credentials under new guidelines designed to increase the integrity of government procurement.

From July, businesses tendering for contracts over $4 million will be required to provide a statement from the ATO Australian Taxation Office proving they have a satisfactory tax record, the Treasury guidelines say.

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